Send to

Choose Destination
Lancet. 1998 Aug 15;352(9127):522-7.

Randomised comparison of ciprofloxacin suspension and pivmecillinam for childhood shigellosis.

Author information

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka.



Infections caused by multiply resistant Shigella species are a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality in Third World countries. The fluoroquinolone agent ciprofloxacin is active in vitro against these strains of bacteria, but has not been routinely used to treat acute childhood infections because of concern that quinolones may cause arthropathy in children. We undertook a randomised double-blind study to test the effects of ciprofloxacin treatment in children with shigella dysentery.


We compared the efficacy and toxic effects of ciprofloxacin suspension (10 mg/kg every 12 h for 5 days, maximum individual dose 500 mg) with those of pivmecillinam tablets (15-20 mg/kg every 8 h for 5 days, maximum individual dose 300 mg). We enrolled 143 children aged 2-15 years with dysentery of 72 h or less duration. Patients stayed in hospital for 6 days, and were followed up 7, 30, and 180 days after hospital discharge. Joint symptoms and function were assessed daily for 6 days. Clinical success was defined as the absence of frank dysentery on day 3, and on day 5 no bloody-mucoid stools, one or no watery stool, six or fewer total stools, and no fever. If no shigella were isolated from faecal samples on day 3 or thereafter, treatment was judged bacteriologically successful.


13 patients were excluded since they did not meet eligibility criteria; 10 withdrew before day 5. Thus 120 patients (60 in each group) completed the study. Treatment was clinically successful in 48 (80%) of 60 patients who received ciprofloxacin and in 39 (65%) of 60 patients who received pivmecillinam (p=0.10). Treatment was bacteriologically successful in all of the patients receiving ciprofloxacin, and in 54 (90%) of the patients receiving pivmecillinam (p=0.03). Joint pain after treatment began in 13 (18%) of 71 patients who received ciprofloxacin and 16 (22%) of 72 patients who received pivmecillinam (p>0.2), and no patient had signs of arthritis.


In our trial, ciprofloxacin suspension and pivmecillinam had the same clinical efficacy. Ciprofloxacin had greater bacteriological efficacy and was not associated with the development of arthropathy. We conclude that ciprofloxacin is an effective and safe drug for use in multiply resistant childhood shigellosis.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center