The macrolide antibiotic azithromycin (CP-62,993; 9-deoxo-9a-methyl-9a-aza-9a-homoerythromycin A; also designated XZ-450 [Pliva Pharmaceuticals, Zagreb, Yugoslavia]) showed a significant improvement in potency against gram-negative organisms compared with erythromycin while retaining the classic erythromycin spectrum. It was up to four times more potent than erythromycin against Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria gonorrhoeae and twofold more potent against Branhamella catarrhalis, Campylobacter species, and Legionella species. It had activity similar to that of erythromycin against Chlamydia spp. Azithromycin was significantly more potent versus many genera of the family Enterobacteriaceae; its MIC for 90% of strains of Escherichia, Salmonella, Shigella, and Yersinia was less than or equal to 4 micrograms/ml, compared with 16 to 128 micrograms/ml for erythromycin. Azithromycin inhibited the majority of gram-positive organisms at less than or equal to 1 micrograms/ml. It displayed cross-resistance to erythromycin-resistant Staphylococcus and Streptococcus isolates. It had moderate activity against Bacteroides fragilis and was comparable to erythromycin against other anaerobic species. Azithromycin also demonstrated improved bactericidal activity in comparison with erythromycin. The mechanism of action of azithromycin was similar to that of erythromycin since azithromycin competed effectively for [14C]erythromycin ribosomebinding sites
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