Comparison of the efficacy of extended-release clarithromycin tablets and amoxicillin/clavulanate tablets in the treatment of acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis

Antonio Anzueto, Chester L. Fisher, Todd Busman, Carol A. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Clarithromycin has established efficacy and safety in the treatment of respiratory infections. Objective: This study examined the efficacy and safety of a new extended-release formulation of clarithromycin compared with amoxicillin/clavulanate in the treatment of acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (AECB). Methods: This phase IIIB, multicenter, randomized, parallel-group, investigator-blinded study in patients with AECB and productive cough with purulent sputum compared treatment with extended-release clarithromycin (two 500-mg tablets once daily for 7 days) and amoxicillin/clavulanate (one 875-mg tablet twice daily for 10 days). Assessments were performed before treatment, between study days 10 and 12 (or within 48 hours after premature discontinuation), and between study days. 17 and 21 (test of cure). Results: Of 287 patients randomized and treated, 270 were clinically evaluable (137 clarithromycin, 133 amoxicillin/clavulanate). Treatment groups were well matched in terms of demographic characteristics, medical condition, and history. Among clinically evaluable patients at test of cure, 85% and 87% of clarithromycin- and amoxicillin/clavulanatetreated patients, respectively, demonstrated clinical cure (as defined in 1998 draft US Food and Drug Administration guidelines); among clinically and bacteriologically evaluable patients, 92% versus 89%, respectively, demonstrated bacteriologic cure. Overall pathogen eradication rates were similar in the 2 groups (88% clarithromycin, 89% amoxicillin/clavulanate). Rates of premature discontinuation of study drug for any reason differed between treatments: 3% (4/142) of clarithromycintreated patients versus 12% (17/145) of amoxicillin/clavulanate-treated patients (P = 0.005). One percent (2/142) and 6% (8/145) of the respective treatment groups discontinued study drug because of adverse events. Adverse events generally occurred with a similar frequency in the 2 groups; however, taste alteration was more common with clarithromycin (9/142 [6%]) than with amoxicillin/clavulanate (1/145 [1%]; P = 0.01). Mean severity scores for gastrointestinal adverse events showed a significant difference between groups (1.16 for clarithromycin-treated patients and 1.58 for amoxicillin/clavulanatetreated patients; P = 0.016). Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate the clinical and bacteriologic equivalence and improved gastrointestinal tolerability of a 7-day course of once-daily extended-release clarithromycin relative to a 10-day course of twice-daily amoxicillin/clavulanate in the treatment of AECB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-86
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis
  • Amoxicillin/clavulanate
  • Clarithromycin
  • Extendedrelease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of the efficacy of extended-release clarithromycin tablets and amoxicillin/clavulanate tablets in the treatment of acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this