Comparative antimicrobial activity of levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin against Streptococcus pneumoniae

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2003 Sep;52(3):503-6. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkg380. Epub 2003 Aug 13.


Objectives: Levofloxacin has good coverage against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens. Recent reports demonstrate enhanced activity associated with a higher 750 mg dosage of levofloxacin. The objective of this study was to comparatively evaluate the activity of common regimens of levofloxacin (500 mg) and ciprofloxacin (500 mg), and a higher 750 mg levofloxacin regimen against penicillin susceptible and non-susceptible strains of S. pneumoniae.

Materials and methods: An in vitro pharmacodynamic modelling apparatus (PDMA) characterized specific bacterial kill profiles for simulated regimens of levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin against four strains of S. pneumoniae. Total log reduction, time for 3-log reduction and AUC/MIC were determined.

Results: Ciprofloxacin was less effective than the levofloxacin regimens against all four study isolates. Ciprofloxacin produced 3-log reduction in only one isolate compared with all four isolates with the levofloxacin regimens. Bacterial regrowth did not occur over 12 h with levofloxacin; however, three of four isolates demonstrated bacterial regrowth with ciprofloxacin. None of the isolates were cleared from the PDMA by ciprofloxacin. The 500 mg levofloxacin regimen cleared two of four isolates and the 750 mg dose of levofloxacin cleared all study isolates. Respective AUC/MIC values for levofloxacin (500 and 750 mg) and ciprofloxacin were 44-89, 63-126 and < or =13, which correlated well with bacterial kill data.

Conclusions: Both levofloxacin regimens were more effective than ciprofloxacin against the study isolates tested. The 750 mg levofloxacin regimen generated more favourable bacterial killing compared with the 500 mg levofloxacin regimen. In addition to using the 750 mg levofloxacin dose for nosocomial infections, this dose may also prove useful for the management of resistant pneumococcal infections.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Levofloxacin*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Models, Biological
  • Ofloxacin / pharmacology*
  • Pneumococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Ofloxacin