Trimethoprim+Sulfamethoxazole Reduces Rates of Melioidosis in High-Risk Hemodialysis Patients

Sandawana William Majoni, Jaqui Hughes, Bianca Heron, Bart Currie

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Introduction: Melioidosis causes sepsis and death in the Top End of Northern Australia during the monsoonal wet season. Dialysis-dependent adults suffer higher melioidosis rates compared to low rates among renal transplant patients who routinely receive trimethoprim+sulfamethoxazole prophylaxis.
Methods: We performed a prospective interventional study to determine the efficacy and safety of daily trimethoprim+sulfamethoxazole prophylaxis in hemodialysis patients during the wet season, from 1 November 2014 to 30 April 2015. Hemodialysis (for ≥ 3 months) patients ≥ 18 years of age were offered treatment. A total of 269 patients on hemodialysis were eligible. Eight of the 269 patients (3%) were excluded from the analysis for being on melioidosis treatment. In all, 169 of 261 patients (64.8%) received the prophylaxis, and 92 of 261 patients (35.2%) did not, because of allergy history (n = 10), remoteness and logistical reasons (n = 60), poor dialysis attendance (n = 11), and refusal (n = 11). We monitored for clinical side effects 3 times weekly and neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and liver function monthly throughout treatment and for 2 months posttreatment.
Results: In all, 169 of 261 patients (64.8%) received the prophylaxis. There was no age (years) difference by group (prophylaxis vs. nonprophylaxis, 54.7 [11.3] vs. 54.3 [11.2] [P = 0.751]). Sixteen of 261 patients (6%) had melioidosis. The event frequency was 0% (0/169, prophylaxis, vs. 17.4% [16/92, nonprophylaxis], P < 0.001). Higher thrombocytopenia and neutropenia rates were noted in the prophylaxis group. These did not warrant treatment stoppage. There was no difference in liver function. Three patients (1.8%) withdrew from the treatment because of side effects.
Conclusion: Daily dosing was effective and safe. Posthemodialysis dosing in the subsequent seasons was effective and safer. We recommend this approach in melioidosis-prevalent regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-167
Number of pages8
JournalKidney International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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