Levofloxacin: an updated review of its use in the treatment of bacterial infections.Drugs. 2002; 62(14):2127-67.D
Levofloxacin is the L-form of the fluoroquinolone antibacterial agent, ofloxacin. In in vitro studies, levofloxacin demonstrated a broad range of activity against Gram-positive and -negative organisms and anaerobes. The drug is more active against Gram-positive organisms than ciprofloxacin, but less active than newer fluoroquinolones such as gatifloxacin. Its activity against Streptococcus pneumoniae is unaffected by the presence of penicillin resistance. In several randomised controlled trails, 5 to 14 days' treatment with intravenous and/or oral levofloxacin proved an effective therapy for upper and lower respiratory tract infections. In patients with mild to severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), intravenous and/or oral levofloxacin 500mg once or twice daily was as effective as intravenous and/or oral gatifloxacin, clarithromycin, azithromycin or amoxicillin/clavulanic acid. Overall, clinical response rates with levofloxacin ranged from 86 to 95% versus 88 to 96% with comparator agents; bacteriological response rates were 88 to 95% and 86 to 98%, respectively. Sequential (intravenous +/- oral switch) therapy with levofloxacin 750mg once daily was as effective as intravenous imipenem/cilastatin (+/- oral switch to ciprofloxacin) in patients with severe nosocomial pneumonia. Generally, oral levofloxacin 250 or 500mg once daily was at least as effective as oral cefaclor, cefuroxime axetil, clarithromycin or moxifloxacin in patients with acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis as assessed by either clinical or bacteriological response rates. This approach also provided similar efficacy to amoxicillin/ clavulanic acid or clarithromycin in patients with acute sinusitis. Sequential therapy with levofloxacin 500mg twice daily for 7 to 14 days' was as effective as intravenous imipenem/cilastatin in patients with suspected bacteraemia. Oral levofloxacin 500mg once daily for 7 to 10 days was also an effective treatment in patients with uncomplicated skin and skin structure infections, and in those with complicated urinary tract infections. A higher dosage of sequential levofloxacin 750mg once daily proved as effective as intravenous ticarcillin/clavulanic acid (+/- oral switch to amoxicillin/clavulanic acid) in the treatment of complicated skin and skin structure infections. Pharmacoeconomic studies suggest that levofloxacin may be cost-saving in comparison to conventional therapies.
Levofloxacin continues to demonstrate good clinical efficacy in the treatment of a range of infections, including those in which S. pneumoniae is a potential pathogen. Importantly, it has efficacy in CAP similar to that of gatifloxacin and at least as good as that of the third generation cephalosporins. Extensive clinical data confirm the good tolerability profile of this agent without the phototoxicity, hepatic and cardiac events evident with some of the other newer fluoroquinolone agents. Levofloxacin therefore offers a unique combination of documented efficacy and tolerability, and provides an important option for the treatment of bacterial infections.