purpose: This multicenter study was designed to compare an exclusively oral regimen with "usual care" in patients hospitalized with acute bacterial pneumonia. patients and methods: One hundred fortyseven patients were enrolled. All patients presented with a clinical picture consistent with pneumonia: (1) clinical symptoms of a lower respiratory tract infection, such as chest pain, cough, and production of purulent sputum; (2) roentgenographic infiltrate compatible with acute infection; and (3) Gram's stain of purulent sputum or other appropriate bronchopulmonary specimen containing gram-negative organisms, staphylococci, or pneumococci. All patients required hospitalization. The design was a parallel-group, open-label study with randomization in blocks of four. Ofloxacin, a new fluoroquinolone antimicrobial agent, was administered orally or by nasogastric tube, 400 mg every 12 hours. This was compared with the individual investigator's best selection of therapy that was administered parenterally, at least initially. results: One hundred thirty-three patients were evaluable after exclusions for deviation from protocol, early death due to unrelated causes, incorrect diagnosis, or early adverse drug reactions. All 69 patients treated with ofloxacin and 61 of 64 control patients had favorable clinical and microbiologic responses. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in terms of demographics, therapeutic outcome, and duration of therapy. There were few side effects overall and rates were similar for the two groups. conclusions: An exclusively oral regimen, in this case ofloxacin, may be substituted for parenteral therapy in selected patients with pneumonia. This might significantly reduce costs and risks to the patient.
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