Addition of inhaled tobramycin to ciprofloxacin for acute exacerbations of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in adult bronchiectasis

Chest. 2006 Nov;130(5):1503-10. doi: 10.1378/chest.130.5.1503.


Rationale: Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in patients with bronchiectasis, a chronic airway disease that is characterized by episodes of exacerbation, is associated with more severe disease and a higher utilization of health-care resources. Inhaled tobramycin solution reduces the number of acute exacerbations in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF)-related bronchiectasis with P aeruginosa infection but remains untested in the treatment of exacerbations in patients with non-CF bronchiectasis.

Objectives: This study tested the effect of adding inhaled tobramycin solution to oral ciprofloxacin (Cip) for the treatment of acute exacerbations of non-CF bronchiectasis in patients with P aeruginosa infection.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized, active comparator, parallel-design study conducted at 17 study centers (5 in the United Kingdom, and 12 in the United States) compared 2 weeks of therapy with Cip with either an inhaled tobramycin solution or placebo in 53 adults with known P aeruginosa infection who were having acute exacerbations of bronchiectasis.

Measurements: Clinical symptoms, pulmonary function, clinical efficacy, and sputum microbiology were investigated prospectively.

Main results: An inhaled solution of Cip with tobramycin, compared to placebo, achieved greater microbiological response but no statistically significant difference in clinical efficacy at days 14 or 21. Clinical and microbiological outcomes at the test of cure (ie, the clinical outcome assessment at day 21) were concordant when an inhaled tobramycin solution was added to therapy with Cip and compared to placebo (p = 0.01). Both subject groups had similar overall adverse event rates, but subjects receiving therapy with an inhaled tobramycin solution reported an increased frequency of wheeze (50%; placebo group, 15%).

Conclusions: The addition of an inhaled tobramycin solution to therapy with oral Cip for the treatment of acute exacerbations of bronchiectasis due to P aeruginosa improved microbiological outcome and was concordant with clinical outcome; the inability to demonstrate an additional clinical benefit may have been due to emergent wheeze resulting from treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchiectasis / complications*
  • Bronchiectasis / drug therapy*
  • Bronchiectasis / microbiology*
  • Ciprofloxacin / administration & dosage
  • Ciprofloxacin / adverse effects
  • Ciprofloxacin / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy*
  • Pseudomonas Infections / etiology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity
  • Tobramycin / administration & dosage
  • Tobramycin / adverse effects
  • Tobramycin / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom
  • United States


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Tobramycin