Inhaled antibiotics for lower respiratory tract infections: focus on ciprofloxacin

Drugs Today (Barc). 2012 May;48(5):339-51. doi: 10.1358/dot.2012.48.5.1789474.


The administration of antibiotics by the inhaled route offers an appealing and logical approach to treating infectious respiratory conditions. Studies in the cystic fibrosis (CF) population have established the efficacy of this therapeutic concept and inhaled antibiotic therapy is now one of the pillars of management in CF. There are now a number of new inhaled antibiotic formulations that have shown impressive preliminary evidence for efficacy in CF and are commencing phase III efficacy studies. Translation of this paradigm into the non-CF bronchiectasis population has proven difficult thus far, apparently due to problems with tolerability of inhaled formulations. Inhaled versions of ciprofloxacin have shown good tolerability and microbiological efficacy in preliminary studies, suggesting that effective inhaled antibiotics are finally on the horizon for this previously neglected patient population. The increased use of long-term inhaled antibiotics for a wider range of non-CF indications presents risks to the broader community of greater antimicrobial resistance development that must be carefully weighed against any demonstrated benefits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bronchiectasis / drug therapy
  • Ciprofloxacin / administration & dosage
  • Ciprofloxacin / adverse effects
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacology
  • Ciprofloxacin / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Liposomes / administration & dosage
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Pseudomonas Infections / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Liposomes
  • Ciprofloxacin