Comparative Efficacies and Tolerabilities of Intravenous Azithromycin Plus Ceftriaxone and Intravenous Levofloxacin with Step-Down Oral Therapy for Hospitalized Patients with Moderate to Severe Community-Acquired Pneumonia Academic Article uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy and tolerability of ceftriaxone plus azithromycin with those of levofloxacin in the treatment of hospitalized patients with moderate to severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). DESIGN: Randomized, open-label multicenter trial with 1 : 1 treatment allocation in an inpatient setting. PATIENTS: 212 male or female inpatients with a clinical diagnosis of CAP were included in the study. In each treatment group >50% of patients had a pneumonia severity index of IV or V. INTERVENTIONS: Open-label treatment with either intravenous (IV) ceftriaxone 1g and IV azithromycin 500 mg daily or IV levofloxacin 500 mg daily. Patients who improved clinically were switched to oral follow-on therapy with either azithromycin 500 mg/day or levofloxacin 500 mg/day. At the clinician's discretion, oral cefuroxime axetil was added to the treatment regimen of patients who received oral azithromycin if a macrolide resistant pneumococcal isolate was documented. RESULTS: Overall, both study treatments were well tolerated. Favorable clinical outcomes in clinically evaluable patients were demonstrated in 91.5% of patients treated with ceftriaxone plus azithromycin and 89.3% (95% CI -7.1%, 11.4%) of patients treated with levofloxacin at the end of therapy visit and in 89.2% and 85.1% (95% CI -6.7%, 14.8%) patients, respectively, at the end of study visit. Bacteriological eradication rates for both treatments were equivalent with the exception of Streptococcus pneumoniae; 44% of isolates were eradicated with levofloxacin compared with 100% of isolates with ceftriaxone plus azithromycin. CONCLUSIONS: As acknowledged by international CAP treatment guidelines, the combination of a third-generation cephalosporin and a macrolide is at least as efficacious as monotherapy with a fluoroquinolone with enhanced anti-pneumococcal activity, for hospitalized patients with moderate to severe CAP. Combined medication with a macrolide and third-generation cephalosporin may be preferred over fluoroquinolones as first-line therapy of hospitalized patients with CAP to minimize the development of multiresistant nosocomial Gram-negative bacilli.


  • Zervos, Marcus
  • Mandell, Lionel
  • Vrooman, Peter S
  • Andrews, Charles P
  • McIvor, Andrew
  • Abdulla, Ramzan H
  • de Caprariis, Pascal J
  • Knirsch, Charles A
  • Amsden, Guy W
  • Niederman, Michael S
  • Lode, Hartmut

publication date

  • 2004

has subject area