Prescription Drug Information: Levofloxacin (Page 8 of 13)

12.4 Microbiology

Mechanism of Action

Levofloxacin is the L-isomer of the racemate, ofloxacin, a quinolone antimicrobial agent. The antibacterial activity of ofloxacin resides primarily in the L-isomer. The mechanism of action of levofloxacin and other fluoroquinolone antimicrobials involves inhibition of bacterial topoisomerase IV and DNA gyrase (both of which are type II topoisomerases), enzymes required for DNA replication, transcription, repair and recombination.


Fluoroquinolone resistance can arise through mutations in defined regions of DNA gyrase or topoisomerase IV, termed the Quinolone-Resistance Determining Regions (QRDRs), or through altered efflux.

Fluoroquinolones, including levofloxacin, differ in chemical structure and mode of action from aminoglycosides, macrolides and ⛚-lactam antibiotics, including penicillins. Fluoroquinolones may, therefore, be active against bacteria resistant to these antimicrobials.

Resistance to levofloxacin due to spontaneous mutation in vitro is a rare occurrence (range: 10 -9 to 10 -10). Cross-resistance has been observed between levofloxacin and some other fluoroquinolones, some microorganisms resistant to other fluoroquinolones may be susceptible to levofloxacin.
Antimicrobial Activity Levofloxacin has in vitro activity against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.

Levofloxacin has been shown to be active against most strains of the following bacteria both in vitro and in clinical infections as described in Indications and Usage ( 1):

Aerobic bacteria
Gram-Positive Bacteria

Enterococcus faecalis
Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-susceptible isolates)

Staphylococcus epidermidis (methicillin-susceptible isolates)

Staphylococcus saprophyticus

Streptococcus pneumoniae (including multi-drug resistant isolates [MDRSP] 1)

Streptococcus pyogenes

Gram-Negative Bacteria

Enterobacter cloacae

Escherichia coli

Haemophilus influenzae

Haemophilus parainfluenzae

Klebsiella pneumoniae

Legionella pneumophila

Moraxella catarrhalis

Proteus mirabilis

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Serratia marcescens

Other microorganisms

Chlamydophila pneumoniae

Mycoplasma pneumoniae

1 MDRSP (Multi-drug resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae) isolates are strains resistant to two or more of the following antibiotics: penicillin (MIC ≥2 mcg/mL), 2nd generation cephalosporins, e.g., cefuroxime; macrolides, tetracyclines and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole.
The following in vitro data are available, but their clinical significance is unknown: Levofloxacin exhibits in vitro minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC values) of 2 mcg/mL or less against most (≥90%) isolates of the following microorganisms; however, the safety and effectiveness of levofloxacin in treating clinical infections due to these bacteria have not been established in adequate and well-controlled clinical trials.

Aerobic bacteria
Gram-Positive Bacteria
Staphylococcus haemolyticus

β-hemolytic Streptococcus (Group C/F)

β — hemolytic Streptococcus (Group G)

Streptococcus agalactiae

Streptococcus milleri

Viridans group streptococci

Bacillus anthracis
Gram-Negative Bacteria

Acinetobacter baumannii

Acinetobacter lwoffii

Bordetella pertussis

Citrobacter koseri

Citrobacter freundii

Enterobacter aerogenes

Enterobacter sakazakii

Klebsiella oxytoca

Morganella morganii

Pantoea agglomerans

Proteus vulgaris

Providencia rettgeri

Providencia stuartii

Pseudomonas fluorescens

Yersinia pestis
Anaerobic bacteria
Gram-Positive Bacteria
Clostridium perfringens

Susceptibility Tests

For specific information regarding susceptibility test interpretive criteria and associated test methods and quality control standards recognized by FDA for this drug, please see:


13.1 Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis & Impairment Of Fertility

In a lifetime bioassay in rats, levofloxacin exhibited no carcinogenic potential following daily dietary administration for 2 years; the highest dose (100 mg/kg/day ) was 1.4 times the highest recommended human dose (750 mg) based upon relative body surface area. Levofloxacin did not shorten the time to tumor development of UV-induced skin tumors in hairless albino (Skh-1) mice at any levofloxacin dose level and was therefore not photo-carcinogenic under conditions of this study. Dermal levofloxacin concentrations in the hairless mice ranged from 25 to 42 mcg/g at the highest levofloxacin dose level (300 mg/kg/day) used in the photo-carcinogenicity study. By comparison, dermal levofloxacin concentrations in human subjects receiving 750 mg of levofloxacin averaged approximately 11.8 mcg/g at C max .

Levofloxacin was not mutagenic in the following assays: Ames bacterial mutation assay ( S. typhimurium and E. coli) , CHO/HGPRT forward mutation assay, mouse micronucleus test, mouse dominant lethal test, rat unscheduled DNA synthesis assay, and the mouse sister chromatid exchange assay. It was positive in the in vitro chromosomal aberration (CHL cell line) and sister chromatid exchange (CHL/IU cell line) assays.

Levofloxacin caused no impairment of fertility or reproductive performance in rats at oral doses as high as 360 mg/kg/day, corresponding to 4.2 times the highest recommended human dose based upon relative body surface area and intravenous doses as high as 100 mg/kg/day, corresponding to 1.2 times the highest recommended human dose based upon relative body surface area.

13.2 Animal Toxicology & or Pharmacology

Levofloxacin and other quinolones have been shown to cause arthropathy in immature animals of most species tested [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.12)]. In immature dogs (4–5 months old), oral doses of 10 mg/kg/day for 7 days and intravenous doses of 4 mg/kg/day for 14 days of levofloxacin resulted in arthropathic lesions. Administration at oral doses of 300 mg/kg/day for 7 days and intravenous doses of 60 mg/kg/day for 4 weeks produced arthropathy in juvenile rats. Three-month old beagle dogs dosed orally with levofloxacin at 40 mg/kg/day exhibited clinically severe arthrotoxicity resulting in the termination of dosing at Day 8 of a 14-day dosing routine. Slight musculoskeletal clinical effects, in the absence of gross pathological or histopathological effects, resulted from the lowest dose level of 2.5 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.2-fold the pediatric dose based upon AUC comparisons). Synovitis and articular cartilage lesions were observed at the 10 and 40 mg/kg dose levels (approximately 0.7-fold and 2.4-fold the pediatric dose, respectively, based on AUC comparisons). Articular cartilage gross pathology and histopathology persisted to the end of the 18-week recovery period for those dogs from the 10 and 40 mg/kg/day dose levels.
When tested in a mouse ear swelling bioassay, levofloxacin exhibited phototoxicity similar in magnitude to ofloxacin, but less phototoxicity than other quinolones.
While crystalluria has been observed in some intravenous rat studies, urinary crystals are not formed in the bladder, being present only after micturition and are not associated with nephrotoxicity.
In mice, the CNS stimulatory effect of quinolones is enhanced by concomitant administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
In dogs, levofloxacin administered at 6 mg/kg or higher by rapid intravenous injection produced hypotensive effects. These effects were considered to be related to histamine release. In vitro and in vivo studies in animals indicate that levofloxacin is neither an enzyme inducer nor inhibitor in the human therapeutic plasma concentration range; therefore, no drug metabolizing enzyme-related interactions with other drugs or agents are anticipated.


14.1 Nosocomial Pneumonia

Adult patients with clinically and radiologically documented nosocomial pneumonia were enrolled in a multicenter, randomized, open-label study comparing intravenous levofloxacin (750 mg once daily) followed by oral levofloxacin (750 mg once daily) for a total of 7–15 days to intravenous imipenem/cilastatin (500–1000 mg every 6–8 hours daily) followed by oral ciprofloxacin (750 mg every 12 hours daily) for a total of 7–15 days. levofloxacin-treated patients received an average of 7 days of intravenous therapy (range: 1–16 days); comparator-treated patients received an average of 8 days of intravenous therapy (range: 1–19 days).
Overall, in the clinically and microbiologically evaluable population, adjunctive therapy was empirically initiated at study entry in 56 of 93 (60.2%) patients in the levofloxacin arm and 53 of 94 (56.4%) patients in the comparator arm. The average duration of adjunctive therapy was 7 days in the levofloxacin arm and 7 days in the comparator. In clinically and microbiologically evaluable patients with documented Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, 15 of 17 (88.2%) received ceftazidime (N=11) or piperacillin/tazobactam (N=4) in the levofloxacin arm and 16 of 17 (94.1%) received an aminoglycoside in the comparator arm. Overall, in clinically and microbiologically evaluable patients, vancomycin was added to the treatment regimen of 37 of 93 (39.8%) patients in the levofloxacin arm and 28 of 94 (29.8%) patients in the comparator arm for suspected methicillin-resistant S. aureus infection.
Clinical success rates in clinically and microbiologically evaluable patients at the posttherapy visit (primary study endpoint assessed on day 3–15 after completing therapy) were 58.1% for levofloxacin and 60.6% for comparator. The 95% CI for the difference of response rates (levofloxacin minus comparator) was [-17.2, 12.0]. The microbiological eradication rates at the posttherapy visit were 66.7% for levofloxacin and 60.6% for comparator. The 95% CI for the difference of eradication rates (levofloxacin minus comparator) was [-8.3, 20.3]. Clinical success and microbiological eradication rates by pathogen are detailed in Table 9. Table 9: Clinical Success Rates and Bacteriological Eradication Rates (Nosocomial Pneumonia)

Pathogen N Levofloxacin No. (%) of Patients Microbiologic/Clinical Outcomes N Imipenem/Cilastatin No. (%) of Patients Microbiologic/Clinical Outcomes
Methicillin-susceptible S. aureus
See above text for use of combination therapy
The observed differences in rates for the clinical and microbiological outcomes may reflect other factors that were not accounted for in the study
MSSA * 21 14 (66.7)/13 (61.9) 19 13 (68.4)/15(78.9)
P. aeruginosa 17 10 (58.8)/11 (64.7) 17 5 (29.4)/7 (41.2)
S. marcescens 11 9 (81.8)/7 (63.6) 7 2 (28.6)/3 (42.9)
E. coli 12 10 (83.3)/7 (58.3) 11 7 (63.6 )/8 (72.7)
K. pneumoniae 11 9 (81.8)/5 (45.5) 7 6 (85.7)/3 (42.9)
H. influenzae 16 13 (81.3)/10 (62.5) 15 14 (93.3)/11(73.3)
S. pneumoniae 4 3 (75.0)/3 (75.0) 7 5 (71.4)/4 (57.1) provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed prescription drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual prescription drug label and package insert entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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