Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a serious infection requiring hospitalisation in 20% of cases. The novel cephalosporin ceftobiprole has microbiological activity against the major bacterial pathogens causing CAP, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Klebsiella pneumoniae, as well as against Staphylococcus aureus, including meticillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). This was a multicentre, double-blind study in which 706 patients with CAP severe enough to require hospitalisation were randomised to ceftobiprole or to an expert-recommended course of ceftriaxone ± linezolid (comparator group). Clinical and microbiological outcomes were determined 7-14 days after completion of therapy (test-of-cure visit). For the 469 clinically evaluable patients, cure rates were 86.6% vs. 87.4% for ceftobiprole and comparator, respectively [95% confidence interval (CI) of the difference, -6.9% to 5.3%]; in the intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis of 638 CAP patients, these cure rates were 76.4% vs. 79.3%, respectively (95% CI of the difference, -9.3% to 3.6%). A typical bacterial pathogen was identified in 29% of the ITT population. Microbiological eradication rates in the 144 microbiologically evaluable patients were 88.2% and 90.8% for the respective treatment groups (95% CI of the difference, -12.6% to 7.5%). Both study drugs were well tolerated, with but a minority of patients requiring premature discontinuation due to an adverse event (6% in the ceftobiprole group and 4% in the comparator group). The overall incidence of treatment-related adverse events was higher in the ceftobiprole group, primarily owing to differences in rates of self-limited nausea (7% vs. 2%) and vomiting (5% vs. 2%). In summary, ceftobiprole was non-inferior to the comparator (ceftriaxone ± linezolid) in all clinical and microbiological analyses conducted, suggesting that ceftobiprole has a potential role in treating hospitalised patients with CAP. [ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00326287].
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