Background: Gemifloxacin is an enhanced-affinity quinolone with potent activity against lower respiratory tract pathogens.
Objective: The efficacy and safety of a 5-day course of gemifloxacin were compared with those of a standard 7-day regimen of clarithromycin in patients with an acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (AECB). The impact of treatment on the long-term (26 weeks) clinical outcome was also assessed.
Methods: The acute phase of this randomized, double-blind study was performed in 93 centers in 7 countries. Adult patients (age >40 years) with a history of chronic bronchitis and an Anthonisen type 1 acute exacerbation (increased dyspnea, cough, and sputum purulence) were eligible. Patients receiving systemic steroids at a dose of >10 mg prednisone or the equivalent were excluded. Patients were randomized to receive gemifloxacin 320 mg once daily for 5 days or clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily for 7 days. Clinical and bacteriologic response rates were assessed at the end-of-therapy visit (days 8-12), the week 2-3 follow-up visit (days 13-24), and the week 4-5 follow-up visit (days 25-38). The long-term phase (26 weeks), which included US and Canadian participants only, evaluated the proportion of patients who remained free of a recurrence of AECB requiring additional antimicrobial therapy after resolution of the initial episode.
Results: Seven hundred twelve patients were randomized to treatment, 351 to gemifloxacin and 361 to clarithromycin. The long-term study included 438 patients, 214 receiving gemifloxacin and 224 receiving clarithromycin. Clinical success rates at the 2-3 week follow-up visit were 85.4% for gemifloxacin and 84.6% for clarithromycin. Bacteriologic success rates were 86.7% for gemifloxacin and 73.1% for clarithromycin. Significantly more patients receiving gemifloxacin than clarithromycin remained free of AECB recurrences (71.0% vs 58.5%, respectively; P = 0.016). Both treatments were well tolerated.
Conclusions: In the acute treatment of Anthonisen type 1 AECB, a 5-day course of gemifloxacin was at least as effective as a 7-day regimen of clarithromycin. In this population, significantly more patients receiving gemifloxacin remained free of AECB recurrence after 26 weeks compared with those receiving clarithromycin.