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A Review of Levofloxacin for the Treatment of Bacterial Infections

Author(s): Gary J. Noel

Journal: Clinical Medicine : Therapeutics
ISSN 1179-1713

Volume: 1;
Start page: 433;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: levofloxacin | pharmacokinetics | pneumonia | bronchitis | sinusitis | safety

Completing its initial phases of drug development in the mid 1990s as the one of the first fluoroquinolones that could be used with confidence to treat respiratory tract infections, levofloxacin went on to become one of the most widely prescribed antibiotics in the world. Available in both oral (po) and intravenous (IV) formulations and with characteristics of over 90% bioavailability, distribution into both extracellular and intracellular pulmonary compartments, highly predictable pharmacokinetics with over 90% of the drug being excreted unchanged in urine, and reliable activity against a broad spectrum of clinically important pathogens, levofloxacin has been used successfully to treat patients with a variety of serious infectious diseases as well as common infections most often treated outside of the hospital setting. Results of clinical trials involving patients with respiratory tract, urinary tract, and skin infections have consistently shown rates of clinical success and bacteriological eradication that were comparable to other widely used broad-spectrum agents. Regimens of levofloxacin, initially involving total daily doses of 250 mg to 500 mg, but more recently regimens involving 750 mg doses, have been shown to be safe and effective. Nearly a decade and a half of clinical experience has defined a safety and tolerability profile that permits data-driven assessment of the risks and benefits of using levofloxacin. As resistance to currently available fluoroquinolones has emerged, the clinical value of levofloxacin deserves continued evaluation. However, consistently high rates of susceptibility of clinically important bacteria, especially among those bacteria that commonly cause respiratory tract infections, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, suggest that this agent will continue to be a widely used well past the 20-year anniversary of its introduction into the antibacterial armamentarium.
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