Safety profile of the respiratory fluoroquinolone moxifloxacin: comparison with other fluoroquinolones and other antibacterial classes

Drug Saf. 2009;32(5):359-78. doi: 10.2165/00002018-200932050-00001.


Moxifloxacin, a fluoroquinolone with potent activity against respiratory pathogens, is approved and considered as an alternative to beta-lactams and macrolides for the treatment of acute bacterial sinusitis and lower respiratory tract infections. In this review, we critically examine its safety profile in comparison with other fluoroquinolones and other antibacterial classes sharing similar indications. Data were extracted from published clinical trials, meta-analyses, postmarketing studies, spontaneous report systems and case reports for rare effects. Global analysis did not reveal significantly higher incidences of drug-related adverse effects than for comparators. Tendon rupture was infrequent with moxifloxacin, including when used in elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Severe toxic cutaneous reactions and allergies were very rare. Phototoxicity and CNS adverse effects were less common than with other fluoroquinolones. Although causing a 4-7 msec corrected QT interval prolongation, severe cardiac toxicity was neither seen in large cohorts or clinical trials nor reported to pharmacovigilance systems. Hepatotoxicity was not different from what was observed for other fluoroquinolones (excluding trovafloxacin) and less frequent than reported for amoxicillin-clavulanic acid or telithromycin. The data show that using moxifloxacin, in its accepted indications and following the corresponding guidelines, should not be associated with an excessive incidence of drug-related adverse reactions, provided the clinician takes care in identifying patients with known risk factors and pays due attention to the contraindications and warnings mentioned in the labelling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents* / adverse effects
  • Anti-Infective Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Aza Compounds* / adverse effects
  • Aza Compounds* / therapeutic use
  • Fluoroquinolones* / adverse effects
  • Fluoroquinolones* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Quinolines* / adverse effects
  • Quinolines* / therapeutic use
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Aza Compounds
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Quinolines
  • Moxifloxacin