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Pharmacodynamic evaluation of commonly prescribed oral antibiotics against respiratory bacterial pathogens

Carlos RV Kiffer* and Antonio CC Pignatari

Author Affiliations

Laboratório Especial de Microbiologia Clínica, Department of Infectious Diseases, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:286  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-286

Published: 25 October 2011



Upper and lower respiratory tract infections (RTIs) account for a substantial portion of outpatient antibiotic utilization. However, the pharmacodynamic activity of commonly used oral antibiotic regimens has not been studied against clinically relevant pathogens. The objective of this study was to assess the probability of achieving the requisite pharmacodynamic exposure for oral antibacterial regimens commonly prescribed for RTIs in adults against bacterial isolates frequently involved in these processes (S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae, and M. catharralis).


Using a 5000-subject Monte Carlo simulation, the cumulative fractions of response (CFR), (i.e., probabilities of achieving requisite pharmacodynamic targets) for the most commonly prescribed oral antibiotic regimens, as determined by a structured survey of medical prescription patterns, were assessed against local respiratory bacterial isolates from adults in São Paulo collected during the same time period. Minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 230 isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae (103), Haemophilus influenzae (98), and Moraxella catharralis (29) from a previous local surveillance were used.


The most commonly prescribed antibiotic regimens were azithromycin 500 mg QD, amoxicillin 500 mg TID, and levofloxacin 500 mg QD, accounting for 58% of the prescriptions. Varied doses of these agents, plus gatifloxacin, amoxicillin-clavulanate, moxifloxacin, and cefaclor made up the remaining regimens. Utilizing aggressive pharmacodynamic exposure targets, the only regimens to achieve greater than 90% CFR against all three pathogens were amoxicillin/amoxicillin-clavulanate 500 mg TID (> 91%), gatifloxacin 400 mg QD (100%), and moxifloxacin 400 mg QD (100%). Considering S. pneumoniae isolates alone, azithromycin 1000 mg QD also achieved greater than 90% CFR (91.3%).


The only regimens to achieve high CFR against all three pathogen populations in both scenarios were gatifloxacin 400 mg QD, moxifloxacin 400 mg QD, and amoxicillin-clavulanate 500 mg TID. These data suggest the need for reconsideration of empiric antibiotic regimen selection among adult patients with RTIs in the São Paulo area. Additionally, this type of study could be used to optimize prescribing patterns in specific regions in light of emerging resistance.