Comparative Tolerability of Intravenous Azithromycin, Clarithromycin and Erythromycin in Healthy Volunteers: Results of a Double-Blind, Double-Dummy, Four-Way Crossover Study

Torsten Zimmermann, Heinrich Laufen, Klaus-Dieter Riedel, Pfizer Research and Development, Illertissen, Germany; Glenda Treadway, Pfizer Pharmaceutical Group, Pfizer Inc., New York, USA; Alexander Wildfeuer, Pfizer Research and Development, Illertissen, Germany

Clin Drug Invest. 2001;21(8) 

In This Article


Intravenous azithromycin, with its combination of good local and systemic tolerability, offers clear advantages over both erythromycin and clarithromycin, particularly when multiple drug administration or high initial dosages of the latter agents are considered necessary. Adverse events, even if relatively mild, may mean the need for additional therapy to treat the event, or if more serious, may mean an extended hospital stay. Discontinuation of antibacterial therapy due to an adverse event and introduction of an alternative agent may delay a successful clinical outcome and prove costly in terms of additional drugs, patient management and length of hospital stay. This point is illustrated by a recent retrospective study, which found that patients who had received erythromycin required more than 2 extra days of hospitalisation and that this added an extra $US6000 to the cost of caring for each patient while in hospital.[25] Thus, selection of an effective, well-tolerated intravenous antibacterial agent, such as azithromycin, should reduce the likelihood of adverse events and mini-mise the overall cost of patient management.

The authors wish to express their thanks to Mrs K. Betz and Mrs B. Schwachula for their skilful technical performance, and to the volunteers for their patience and confidence.

This study was sponsored by Pfizer Inc.


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