Periodontal tissue disposition of azithromycin

Tecla Malizia, Milvana R. Tejada, Emilia Ghelardi, Sonia Senesi, Mario Gabriele, Maria R. Giuca, Corrado Blandizzi, Romano Danesi, Mario Campa, Mario Del Tacca

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THE TISSUE PENETRATION OF AZITHROMYCIN, the prototype of a new class of macrolide antibiotics named azalides, was studied in patients undergoing surgery for third-molar removal. Drug concentrations in plasma, saliva, and periodontal tissues were evaluated in 28 patients treated with azithromycin 500 mg/day per os for 3 consecutive days. Samples of blood, saliva, gingiva, and alveolar bone were collected during oral surgery, 12 hours, and 2.5, 4.5, and 6.5 days after the last dosing, and the azithromycin concentration was measured microbiologically by using Micrococcus luteus NCTC 8440 as the reference organism. The highest concentrations of azithromycin were observed 12 hours after the last dose in plasma, saliva, gingiva, and bone (0.33 ± 0.04 mg/l, 2.14 ± 0.30 mg/l, 6.47 ± 0.57 mg/kg, and 1.86 ± 0.15 mg/kg, respectively) and then declined gradually. However, consistent levels of the drug in saliva and periodontal tissues could be detected up to 6.5 days, indicating that azithromycin was retained in target tissues and fluids for a long time after the end of treatment. Among the samples examined, the highest concentration of azithromycin was found in the gingiva at each time studied. Moreover, the ratios of salivary or periodontal tissue levels versus plasma concentrations remained nearly unmodified from 12 hours up to 6.5 days. Overall, these results indicate a favorable disposition of azithromycin into saliva and periodontal tissues and suggest that this macrolide antibiotic represents a valuable option in the pharmacologic treatment of odontogenic infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1206-1209
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Periodontology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997


  • Azithromycin/therapeutic use
  • Gingiva/microbiology
  • Periodontium/microbiology
  • Plasma/mic robiology
  • Saliva/microbiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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