Intrapulmonary pharmacokinetics of azithromycin in healthy volunteers given five oral doses

Keith M. Olsen, Gerardo S. San Pedro, Larry P. Gann, Paul O. Gubbins, David M. Halinski, G. Douglas Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The intrapulmonary pharmacokinetics of oral azithromycin were studied in 25 healthy volunteers, each of whom received an initial dose of 500 mg and then 250 mg once daily for four additional doses. Bronchoscopy, bronchoalveolar lavage, and venipuncture were performed 4, 28, 76, 124, 172, 244, 340, and 508 h after the first dose was administered. Azithromycin concentrations in epithelial lining fluid (ELF), alveolar macrophages, peripheral blood monocytes, and serum were measured by high- performance liquid chromatography. Azithromycin was extensively concentrated in cells and ELF. Drug concentrations in AMs (peak mean ± standard deviation, 464 ± 65 μg/ml) exceeded 80 μg/ml up to 508 h (21 days) following the first dose, while concentrations in PBMs (peak, 124 ± 28 μg/ml) exceeded 20 μg/ml up to 340 h (14 days). Azithromycin concentrations in ELF peaked at 124 h (3.12 ± 0.93 μg/ml) and were detectable up to 172 h (7 days), when they were 20 times the concurrent serum concentrations. Although the clinical significance of antibiotic concentrations in these compartments is unclear, the sustained lung tissue penetration and extensive phagocytic accumulation demonstrated in this study support the proven efficacy of azithromycin administered on a 5-day dosage schedule in the treatment of extracellular or intracellular pulmonary infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2582-2585
Number of pages4
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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