Cefuroxime axetil is a new orally absorbed prodrug of the antibiotic cefuroxime. The results of pharmacological studies in 52 healthy volunteers are presented. Intact cefuroxime axetil was not detected in the systemic circulation, indicating that deesterification to yield cefuroxime occurs rapidly after absorption. The bioavailability as measured by urinary recovery of cefuroxime was 40 to 50% if the drug was taken after food and 30% if the drug was taken after overnight fasting. Absorption was similar for three different formulations at 500 mg and independent of dose over the range of 250 mg to 1 g. When the drug was taken after food, serum levels and urinary recoveries were significantly greater for cefuroxime than for ampicillin, but when the drug was taken after fasting the values were similar for the two drugs. The kinetic behavior of cefuroxime axetil and ampicillin was not influenced by repeated dosing at 250 mg. Cefuroxime axetil was well tolerated. Although changes in bowel flora and habit were noted during repeated dosing, these changes were no greater than with ampicillin
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