Sparfloxacin versus ciprofloxacin for the treatment of community-acquired, complicated skin and skin-structure infections

Clin Ther. 1999 Apr;21(4):675-90. doi: 10.1016/S0149-2918(00)88319-8.


Fluoroquinolones have been shown to be effective in the treatment of complicated skin and skin-structure infections, in part because of their broad-spectrum antibacterial activity against causative pathogens that are resistant to older antimicrobial agents. We enrolled 603 adult patients (>58% male, >85% white) in a double-masked, double-dummy, randomized, multicenter trial to compare the efficacy and tolerability of sparfloxacin (400-mg loading dose followed by 200 mg once daily) with those of ciprofloxacin (750 mg twice daily) for 10 days in the treatment of community-acquired, complicated skin and skin-structure infections. The primary efficacy variable was clinical response, based on assessment of signs and symptoms, in the clinically assessable population. Patients in the sparfloxacin and ciprofloxacin groups were comparable with respect to demographic characteristics, underlying diseases, medical history, and laboratory test results. Wound infection was the most common diagnosis, and Staphylococcus aureus was the most frequently isolated pathogen. For the 475 clinically assessable patients, the clinical success rate (percentage of patients cured or improved) was 90.1% (210/233) with sparfloxacin and 87.2% (211/242) with ciprofloxacin. In this analysis (95% confidence interval [CI], -2.8 to 8.6) and the intent-to-treat analyses (95% CI, -4.2 to 6.2), results with sparfloxacin were statistically equivalent to those with ciprofloxacin (95% CI, -1 to 15.3). For bacteriologically assessable patients, eradication rates were 87.0% (141/162) with sparfloxacin and 79.9% (123/154) with ciprofloxacin (95% CI, -1 to 15.3). Eradication rates of S. aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococcal infections were 90.2% (101/112) with sparfloxacin and 77.9% (88/113) with ciprofloxacin. For patients with 2 or more pathogens at baseline (mixed infections), bacteriologic success was 87.6% for sparfloxacin and 77.9% for ciprofloxacin. Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections were eradicated or presumed eradicated in 71.4% (10/14) of sparfloxacin-treated patients and 87.5% (7/8) of ciprofloxacin-treated patients. Overall success rates in the bacteriologically assessable patients for sparfloxacin (84.6% [137/162]) and ciprofloxacin (78.6% [121/154]) were statistically equivalent (95% CI, -2.5 to 14.5). Tolerability was assessed in all patients who received study medication. The overall frequency of treatment-related adverse events was comparable in the 2 treatment groups (26.5% sparfloxacin, 23.3% ciprofloxacin). Drug-related adverse events involving the digestive system occurred in 7.1% of sparfloxacin-treated patients and 19.0% of ciprofloxacin-treated patients; photosensitivity reactions were reported in 11.1% of patients in the sparfloxacin group and 0.7% of patients in the ciprofloxacin group (P < 0.001). The mean change in QTc interval from baseline to the maximum on-treatment value was greater in the sparfloxacin group (9 milliseconds) than in the ciprofloxacin group (3 milliseconds) (P = 0.005; 95% CI, 0.002 to 0.010). The efficacy of sparfloxacin was comparable to that of ciprofloxacin in the treatment of community-acquired, complicated skin and skin-structure infections, including those caused by staphylococci, the most common pathogens. Sparfloxacin's once-daily regimen, high skin-tissue penetration, and improved activity against gram-positive cocci make it a therapeutic alternative to ciprofloxacin for patients who are not at risk for photosensitivity reactions or adverse events associated with prolongation of the QTc interval.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Ciprofloxacin / therapeutic use*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / drug therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fluoroquinolones*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Soft Tissue Infections / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • sparfloxacin