Ciprofloxacin versus ceftriaxone in the treatment of multiresistant typhoid fever

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A randomized trial comparing ceftriaxone (3 g given parenterally per day for 7 days) to ciprofloxacin (500 mg given orally twice a day for 7 days) in the treatment of blood culture positive typhoid fever was conducted. Twenty patients were openly randomized to receive ciprofloxacin and 22 to receive ceftriaxone. The outcome was classified as clinical failure in 6 patients (27 %) in the ceftriaxone group, but in none in the ciprofloxacin group (p=0.01). The mean duration of fever was four days in the ciprofloxacin group and about five days in the ceftriaxone group (p=0.04). In the six patients in the ceftriaxone group who experienced failure, therapy was switched to ciprofloxacin and the patients became afebrile and asymptomatic within 48 hours. Patients with resistant strains ofSalmonella typhi and patients with sensitive strains responded equally well to ciprofloxacin therapy. Analysis of a subset of 12 of the multiresistant strains revealed that resistance was encoded for by a transferable 180 kilobase plasmid. Ciprofloxacin represents a useful treatment option in areas where multiresistant strains are likely to be encountered.