Sparfloxacin. A review of its antibacterial activity, pharmacokinetic properties, clinical efficacy and tolerability in lower respiratory tract infections.

PMID 9098667


Sparfloxacin is a fluoroquinolone antibacterial agent with activity against a broad range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive organisms including Streptococcus pneumoniae, one of the main pathogens in community-acquired pneumonia. In this infection, sparfloxacin has shown efficacy similar to that of amoxicillin, erythromycin, roxithromycin, amoxicillin/clavulanic acid and amoxicillin plus ofloxacin, producing clinical cure rates of 80 to 84% assessed by intention-to-treat analyses in European or multinational trials. US studies showed similar results for sparfloxacin to those for erythromycin and cefaclor. Sparfloxacin was also as effective as all other comparator drugs in patients with other lower respiratory tract infections, usually acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The profile of adverse effects for sparfloxacin is generally similar to that of other quinolones: gastrointestinal discomfort and CNS effects are the most common in clinical trials. Sparfloxacin causes fewer gastrointestinal disturbances than agents such as amoxicillin and erythromycin and doses not interact with theophylline, an important consideration when treating patients with respiratory disease. Its long elimination half-life permits once-daily dosage regimens. On the other hand, there are infrequent reports of prolonged QTc interval (3% increase) during sparfloxacin therapy. Photosensitivity occurs more frequently than with the other fluoroquinolones (2% of patients in an ongoing postmarketing study and 7.9% of those in US trials), and requires ongoing surveillance. In summary, the good activity of sparfloxacin against S. pneumoniae and other respiratory pathogens supports its use in lower respiratory tract infections, particularly community-acquired pneumonia. Its profile of good efficacy, once-daily dosage, good gastrointestinal tolerability and lack of interaction with theophylline are advantageous, but clinicians and patients must be alert to the possibility of photosensitivity reactions. On this basis, sparfloxacin, when appropriately prescribed, can provide the clinician with a useful alternative treatment option for these common infections.

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Sparfloxacin, ≥98.0% (HPLC)