Antimicrobial selection for community-acquired lower respiratory tract infections in the 21st century: a review of gemifloxacin.Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2004 Jun; 23(6):533-46.IJ
Community-acquired lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) are more prevalent in the elderly than in children and younger adults and form a significant proportion of all consultations and hospital admissions in this older age group. Furthermore, in a world of increasing life expectancy the trend seems unlikely to be reversed. Antimicrobial treatment of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) must cover Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis, and in many circumstances should also cover the intracellular (atypical) pathogens. In contrast, acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (AECB) are mainly associated with H. influenzae and S. pneumoniae and not with atypical bacteria: in severe cases, other Gram-negative bacteria may be involved. Frequently in LRTIs, the aetiology of the infection cannot be identified from the laboratory specimens and treatment has to be empirical. In such situations it is important to not only to use an antibiotic that covers all likely organisms, but also one that has good activity against these organisms given the local resistance patterns. Gemifloxacin is a new quinolone antibiotic that targets pneumococcal DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV and is highly active against S. pneumoniae including penicillin-, macrolide- and many ciprofloxacin-resistant strains, as well as H. influenzae and the atypical pathogens. In clinical trials in CAP and AECB, gemifloxacin has been shown to be as effective a range of comparators and demonstrated an adverse event profile that was in line with the comparator agents. In one long-term study in AECB significantly more patients receiving gemifloxacin than clarithromycin remained free of recurrence after 26 weeks. The improved potency, broad spectrum of activity and proven clinical and bacteriological efficacy and safety profile should make it a useful agent in the 21st century battle against community-acquired LRTIs.