Cefuroxime vs a dicloxacillin/chloramphenicol combination for the treatment of parapneumonic pleural effusion and empyema in children

Pulm Pharmacol Ther. 2002;15(1):17-23. doi: 10.1006/pupt.2001.0321.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of cefuroxime, compared with the combination of dicloxacillin/chloramphenicol, for the treatment of children with parapneumonic pleural effusion or empyema. Forty patients, aged 3 months to 5 years, with pleural effusion or empyema were randomized to receive cefuroxime (100 mg/kg/day) IV (n=20) or chloramphenicol (100 mg/kg/day) plus dicloxacillin (200 mg/kg/day) IV (n=20). Both groups were similar in age, days of illness, clinical and radiological findings, and etiology. Most patients (70%) had an empyema at presentation. There was no difference in clinical outcomes, including days to defervescence, duration of respiratory distress, duration of chest tube drainage, and days to discharge from hospital. The complication rates were similar in both groups. Pleural thickening occurred in four patients, bronchopleural fistula in two, and loculated empyema in one patient of each treatment group. Adverse effects attributed to cefuroxime were mild and infrequent. These results suggest that cefuroxime is an effective and well-tolerated alternative for the treatment of children with pleural effusion and empyema.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cefuroxime / therapeutic use*
  • Cephalosporins / therapeutic use*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloramphenicol / therapeutic use*
  • Dicloxacillin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Empyema, Pleural / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Penicillins / therapeutic use*
  • Pleural Effusion / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cephalosporins
  • Penicillins
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Dicloxacillin
  • Cefuroxime