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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A critical review of the fluoroquinolones: focus on respiratory infections.

The new fluoroquinolones (clinafloxacin, gatifloxacin, gemifloxacin, grepafloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, sitafloxacin, sparfloxacin and trovafloxacin) offer excellent activity against Gram-negative bacilli and improved Gram-positive activity (e.g. against Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus) over ciprofloxacin. Ciprofloxacin still maintains the best in vitro activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Clinafloxacin, gatifloxacin, moxifloxacin, sitafloxacin, sparfloxacin and trovafloxacin display improved activity against anaerobes (e.g. Bacteroides fragilis) versus ciprofloxacin. All of the new fluoroquinolones display excellent bioavailability and have longer serum half-lives than ciprofloxacin allowing for once daily dose administration. Clinical trials comparing the new fluoroquinolones to each other or to standard therapy have demonstrated good efficacy in a variety of community-acquired respiratory infections (e.g. pneumonia, acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis and acute sinusitis). Limited data suggest that the new fluoroquinolones as a class may lead to better outcomes in community-acquired pneumonia and acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis versus comparators. Several of these agents have either been withdrawn from the market, had their use severely restricted because of adverse effects (clinafloxacin because of phototoxicity and hypoglycaemia; grepafloxacin because of prolongation of the QTc and resultant torsades de pointes; sparfloxacin because of phototoxicity; and trovafloxacin because of hepatotoxicity), or were discontinued during developmental phases. The remaining fluoroquinolones such as gatifloxacin, gemifloxacin, levofloxacin and moxifloxacin have adverse effect profiles similar to ciprofloxacin. Extensive post-marketing safety surveillance data (as are available with ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin) are required for all new fluoroquinolones before safety can be definitively established. Drug interactions are limited; however, all fluoroquinolones interact with metal ion containing drugs (eg. antacids). The new fluoroquinolones (gatifloxacin, gemifloxacin, levofloxacin and moxifloxacin) offer several advantages over ciprofloxacin and are emerging as important therapeutic agents in the treatment of community-acquired respiratory infections. Their broad spectrum of activity which includes respiratory pathogens such as penicillin and macrolide resistant S. pneumoniae, favourable pharmacokinetic parameters, good bacteriological and clinical efficacy will lead to growing use of these agents in the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia, acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis and acute sinusitis. These agents may result in cost savings especially in situations where, because of their potent broad-spectrum activity and excellent bioavailability, they may be used orally in place of intravenous antibacterials. Prudent use of the new fluoroquinolones will be required to minimise the development of resistance to these agents.[1]


  1. A critical review of the fluoroquinolones: focus on respiratory infections. Zhanel, G.G., Ennis, K., Vercaigne, L., Walkty, A., Gin, A.S., Embil, J., Smith, H., Hoban, D.J. Drugs (2002) [Pubmed]
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