Oral empiric treatment of community-acquired pneumonia. A multicenter, double-blind, randomized study comparing sparfloxacin with roxithromycin. The Scandinavian Sparfloxacin Study Group

Chest. 1996 Dec;110(6):1499-506. doi: 10.1378/chest.110.6.1499.


Study objective: Comparison of efficacy and safety of sparfloxacin (Spfx) vs roxithromycin (ROXI) for treatment of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).

Design: Multicenter, double-blind, randomized study.

Setting: Twenty-three university and community hospitals in Scandinavia.

Patients: Three hundred four adults (> or = 18 years of age) with CAP treated as outpatients (25%) or inpatients (75%).

Interventions: Randomization 1:1 to Spfx, 400 mg on day 1, then 200 mg once daily, or ROXI, 150 mg twice daily, 10 to 14 days. Safety and efficacy analyses in intention-to-treat (ITT) and evaluable populations.

Results: Three hundred three of 304 patients were included in the ITT and safety analyses and 260 (86%) were evaluable at the end of follow-up. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the cause of pneumonia in 62 (20%) patients (11 with bacteremia), Chlamydia pneumoniae in 40 (13%), and Mycoplasma pneumoniae in 38 (13%) patients. The success rates for Spfx and ROXI at the end of follow-up were 82% and 72%, respectively, in the ITT population, and 94% and 79%, respectively, in the evaluable population. The odds ratio Spfx/ROXI for success was 4.5 (95% confidence interval, 1.9, 10.8) for the evaluable population. Both drugs were, overall, equally safe. GI symptoms were the most common adverse experiences in both groups. Prolongation of QTc, without clinical symptoms, was seen in 3% of Spfx patients and in 1% of ROXI patients, and photosensitivity, mostly mild to moderate, was seen in 5% of the Spfx group.

Conclusions: Oral treatment with Spfx was superior to ROXI for the treatment of moderately severe CAP. Spfx was effective for all isolated pathogens, including S pneumoniae, and may be an alternative for empiric treatment of CAP, especially in areas with a high incidence of beta-lactam-resistant pneumococci.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fluoroquinolones*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Quinolones / adverse effects
  • Quinolones / therapeutic use*
  • Roxithromycin / adverse effects
  • Roxithromycin / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Quinolones
  • Roxithromycin
  • sparfloxacin