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, 17 (3), 387-400

Use of Cethromycin, a New Ketolide, for Treatment of Community-Acquired Respiratory Infections


Use of Cethromycin, a New Ketolide, for Treatment of Community-Acquired Respiratory Infections

Margaret R Hammerschlag et al. Expert Opin Investig Drugs.


Background: The ketolides are a subclass of macrolides, which were designed specifically to overcome macrolide-resistant respiratory pathogens. Ketolides lack the cladinose sugar, which is replaced with a 3-ketone group. Ketolides bind to a secondary region on domain II of the 23S rRNA subunit. Telithromycin was the first ketolide to be approved by the FDA in 2004 for treatment of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (AECB) and sinusitis. However, in 2006, after reports of serious hepatotoxicity, the FDA issued a public health advisory followed by a warning. In 2007 the indications for treatment of AECB and sinusitis were removed from the labeling. Cethromycin (ABT-773) is the only other ketolide currently under clinical development.

Objective: To review currently available data on cethromycin, including chemistry, in vitro activity, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, in vivo activity and results of treatment studies in humans.

Methods: A search was made in PubMed, pharmaceutical databases and meeting abstracts using the terms ketolides, ABT-773 and cethromycin.

Results/conclusions: Cethromycin has comparable tissue penetration, pharmacokinetics and in vitro activity compared with telithromycin to Streptococcus pneumoniae, including multidrug-resistant isolates, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila. There is only one published CAP treatment study that compared cethromycin 150 mg q.d. with 150 mg b.i.d. One Phase II and a Phase II/III study have been presented in abstract form, both were non-comparative, dose-ranging studies, which suggested that 150 mg q.d. or 300 mg q.d. were comparable in terms of clinical response and bacterial eradication, although data on the latter are limited. Data on side effects are limited and appear to be mainly gastrointestinal. There have been no reports of serious hepatotoxicity at the time of this writing. Cethromycin may have other uses in addition to treatment of CAP respiratory infections, including treatment of infections due to Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis and bioterrorism agents including Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis and Francisella tularensis.

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