Amphotericin B - Not so terrible

J. Bishara, M. Weinberger, A. Y. Lin, S. Pitlik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To describe a patient who developed adverse reactions to two different lipid formulations of amphotericin B: liposomal amphotericin B (AmBisome) and amphotericin B colloidal dispersion (ABCD, Amphocil), yet tolerated amphotericin B deoxycholate (Fungizone) despite renal toxicity. CASE SUMMARY: A 72-year-old woman with acute myelomonocytic leukemia was treated with amphotericin B deoxycholate for suspected pulmonary aspergillosis; the drug was well tolerated but resulted in renal failure. Antifungal therapy was then changed to liposomal amphotericin B. Within 10 minutes of liposomal amphotericin B infusion, the patient developed severe dyspnea, chest pain, and a feeling of imminent death. On the following day, liposomal amphotericin B was switched to amphotericin B colloidal dispersion. Again, within 10 minutes of this infusion, the patient developed fever, chills, hypotension, severe chest pain, dsypnea, and a feeling of imminent death. The patient refused any further treatment with these drugs and insisted on switching back to amphotericin B deoxycholate, which was then administered for 10 days and was well tolerated. DISCUSSION: Severe adverse reactions, such as anaphylaxis, cardiac toxicity, and respiratory failure, following administration of all three lipid formulations of amphotericin B have been reported. In most reported cases, switching to a different lipid formulation of amphotericin B was well tolerated. This is in contrast to our case, where a severe reaction was repeated when another lipid preparation was given, necessitating switching back to amphotericin B deoxycholate despite its nephrotoxicity. CONCLUSIONS: In some patients, paradoxically, lipid formulations of amphotericin B may be less tolerable than conventional amphotericin B.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-310
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Amphotericin B
  • Lipid formulations


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