Selection of resistance of telithromycin against Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis and streptococci in comparison with macrolides

Lorenzo Drago, Elena De Vecchi, Lucia Nicola, Alberto Colombo, Maria Rita Gismondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The in vitro abilities of telithromycin, azithromycin and clarithromycin to select for resistance were compared by testing isolates of Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Streptococcus pneumoniae and β-haemolytic streptococci. Methods: Five strains each of β-lactamase-positive and β-lactamase-negative H. influenzae, β-lactamase-positive and β-lactamase-negative M. catarrhalis, S. pneumoniae, β-haemolytic group A, group C and group G streptococci and three strains of β-lactamase-negative ampicillin-resistant H. influenzae were evaluated. Development of resistance was determined by multi-step and single-step methodologies. For multi-step studies, MIC values were determined after five serial passages on anti-biotic-gradient plates and after 10 serial passages on antibiotic-free plates. Acquisition of resistance was defined as an increase of ≥4-fold from the starting MIC. In single-step studies, the rate of spontaneous mutations was calculated after a passage on plates containing antibiotics at concentrations equal to the highest NCCLS breakpoints. Results: Azithromycin, clarithromycin and telithromycin gave a ≥4-fold increase in 20, 20 and 10 streptococcus strains, in 4, 5 and 0 H. influenzae strains and in 2, 7 and 4 M. catarrhalis strains, respectively. After 10 passages on antibiotic-free plates, 21/26 strains for azithromycin, 22/32 for clarithromycin and 1/14 for telithromycin maintained high MIC values. In single-step studies, the frequency of mutations was -10 for H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis for telithromycin, azithromycin and clarithromycin. Telithromycin induced mutations at a lower rate than azithromycin and clarithromycin in streptococcal strains. Conclusion: Telithromycin showed a very limited ability to select for resistance in respiratory pathogens compared with azithromycin and clarithromycin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-545
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


  • Azithromycin
  • Clarithromycin
  • In vitro selection of resistance
  • Ketolides
  • Respiratory pathogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology


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