A single-blinded randomized clinical trial comparing polymyxin B-trimethoprim and moxifloxacin for treatment of acute conjunctivitis in children

J Pediatr. 2013 Apr;162(4):857-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.09.013. Epub 2012 Oct 23.


Objective: To perform a randomized controlled trial comparing moxifloxacin hydrochloride with polymyxin B-trimethoprim for the treatment of acute conjunctivitis.

Study design: Patients ages 1-18 years old with acute conjunctivitis had cultures performed and were randomized to receive either moxifloxacin hydrochloride or polymyxin B-trimethoprim ophthalmic solution for 7 days. Response to treatment was determined by phone query on day 4-6 and by examination with post-treatment conjunctival culture on day 7-10.

Results: One hundred and twenty-four patients were enrolled. Eighty patients (65%) had recognized pathogens (55 Haemophilus influenzae, 22 Streptococcus pneumoniae, 4 Moraxella catarrhalis) isolated from their conjunctiva. One hundred fourteen (56/62 moxifloxacin and 58/62 polymyxin B-trimethoprim) completed the 4-6 day evaluation, with 43/56 (77%) of the moxifloxacin group and 42/58 (72%) of the polymyxin B-trimethoprim group clinically cured according to parents (noninferiority test P = .04). Eighty-nine (39/56 moxifloxacin and 50/58 polymyxin B-trimethoprim) patients completed the 7-10 day evaluation. Clinical cure was observed in 37/39 (95%) of the moxifloxacin and 49/51 (96%) of the polymyxin B-trimethoprim treated groups (noninferiority test P ≤ .01). Clinical cure rates for culture positive and negative conjunctivitis were not different. There was no statistically significant difference in bacteriologic cure rates between the 2 groups.

Conclusions: Polymyxin B-trimethoprim continues to be an effective treatment for acute conjunctivitis with a clinical response rate that does not differ from moxifloxacin. Use of polymyxin B-trimethoprim for the treatment of conjunctivitis would result in significant cost savings compared with fluoroquinolones.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aza Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conjunctiva / microbiology
  • Conjunctivitis, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Haemophilus influenzae / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Moraxella catarrhalis / metabolism
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / therapeutic use
  • Polymyxin B / therapeutic use*
  • Quinolines / therapeutic use*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / metabolism
  • Trimethoprim / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Aza Compounds
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Quinolines
  • Trimethoprim
  • Polymyxin B
  • Moxifloxacin