Appropriate use of fluoroquinolones in children

Nicola Principi, Susanna Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the increasing resistance to antibiotics among common bacterial pathogens, challenges associated with the use of fluoroquinolones (FQs) in paediatrics have emerged. The majority of FQs have favourable pharmacokinetic properties, although these properties can differ in children compared with adults. Moreover, all FQs have broad antimicrobial activity both against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. However, only some FQs for which adequate studies are available have been approved for use in children in a limited number of clinical situations owing to the supposed risk of development of severe musculoskeletal disorders, as demonstrated in juvenile animals. Recent short- and long-term evaluations appear to indicate that, at least for levofloxacin, this risk, if present at all, is marginal. This marginal risk could lead to more frequent use of FQs in children, even to treat diseases for which several other drugs with documented efficacy, safety and tolerability are considered the first-line antibiotics. However, for most of the FQs, adequate long-term studies of safety are not available. This indicates that the use of FQs should be limited to selected respiratory infections (including tuberculosis), exacerbation of lung disease in cystic fibrosis, central nervous system infections, enteric infections, febrile neutropenia, as well as serious infections attributable to FQ-susceptible pathogen(s) in children with life-threatening allergies to alternative agents. When considering diseases that could benefit from the use of FQs, particular attention must be paid to the choice of drug and its dosage, considering that not all of the FQs have been evaluated in different diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-346
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Levofloxacin
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Paediatric infectious diseases
  • Quinolones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Medicine(all)


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