Roxithromycin is an acid-stable orally administered antibacterial macrolide structurally related to erythromycin. It has an in vitro antibacterial profile similar to that of erythromycin, with activity against Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, S. pyogenes, Branhamella catarrhalis, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila, Chlamydia trachomatis, Gardnerella vaginalis, Haemophilus ducreyi, some anaerobes and other less common pathogens. Roxithromycin has a pharmacokinetic profile that is characterised by excellent enteral absorption achieving high concentrations in most tissues and body fluids. The results of clinical studies with roxithromycin have confirmed the potential for its use in a variety of infections, which was suggested by its antibacterial activity in vitro and pharmacokinetic profile. Clinical efficacy has been confirmed in the treatment of respiratory tract infections, including community-acquired and atypical pneumonias, ear, nose and throat infections, genitourinary tract infections, and skin and soft tissue infections. In a relatively small number of patients roxithromycin has generally been shown to be as effective as erythromycin and other appropriate antibacterial drugs in some of the above indications. Roxithromycin is well tolerated and has less potential than erythromycin to produce clinically significant drug interactions. Thus, roxithromycin is an orally active drug which should prove a useful alternative when selecting antibacterial therapy for indications where macrolides are appropriate.