Levofloxacin: a therapeutic review

Clin Ther. Nov-Dec 1998;20(6):1049-70. doi: 10.1016/s0149-2918(98)80104-5.


This therapeutic review discusses the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, in vitro activity, drug interactions, and adverse effects of levofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. Particular emphasis is placed on the clinical efficacy of levofloxacin and its place in therapy. Compared with ciprofloxacin and the earlier quinolone agents, levofloxacin has an improved pharmacokinetic profile that allows convenient once-daily dosing in either an oral or parenteral formulation. Levofloxacin has enhanced activity against gram-positive aerobic organisms, including penicillin-resistant pneumococci. In published comparative trials involving commonly used treatment regimens, levofloxacin had equivalent if not greater activity in the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia, acute bacterial exacerbations of chronic bronchitis, acute bacterial sinusitis, acute pyelonephritis, and complicated urinary tract infection. Levofloxacin is well tolerated and induces minimal adverse drug reactions. Based on the above attributes, it may be reasonable to include levofloxacin on the hospital formulary in place of older quinolones. More recently released quinolones such as trovafloxacin exhibit similar advantages; however, until direct comparative trials between levofloxacin and these newer agents are conducted, it is difficult to advocate one agent over another. Regardless of which quinolone is the primary agent on the formulary, it is imperative that this class of antimicrobial drugs be used with discretion to minimize the development of resistance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Levofloxacin*
  • Ofloxacin / pharmacokinetics
  • Ofloxacin / pharmacology
  • Ofloxacin / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Levofloxacin
  • Ofloxacin