[Skip to Navigation]
September 1989

Efficacy of Oral Ciprofloxacin Plus Rifampin for Treatment of Malignant External Otitis

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology (Drs Rubin, Matador, and Kamerer), Medicine (Drs Yu and Muder), and Pharmacy Practice (Dr Stoehr), University of Pittsburgh (Pa).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(9):1063-1069. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860330053016

• Malignant external otitis is an invasive pseudomonal infection characteristically afflicting the elderly patient with diabetes mellitus. Therapy has traditionally consisted of the long-term administration of combination parenteral antibiotics, but morbidity and mortality remain substantial despite this therapy. We treated 11 consecutive patients with the oral combination of ciprofloxacin (750 mg twice daily) and rifampin (600 mg twice daily) for 6 to 12 weeks (mean, 8 weeks). Pseudomonas aeruginosa was isolated from ear canal or mastoid, and bone destruction was documented by computed tomography in all patients. Seven patients (64%) had ear irrigation before onset of the infection. Ten patients fulfilled the criteria of both clinical and bacteriologic cure. No serious adverse reaction to either antibiotic was observed. Otalgia and otorrhea responded at a mean of 6 and 4 days, respectively, following the initiation of therapy. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate fell from a mean pretherapy value of 81 mm/h (range, 41 to 138 mm/h) to 18 mm/h (range, 3 to 45 mm/h) after the completion of antibiotic therapy. Minimum inhibitory and bactericidal concentrations established that all organisms were sensitive to ciprofloxacin. Time-kill curve and checkerboard assays failed to demonstrate either synergy or antagonism between ciprofloxacin and rifampin. Serum inhibitory and bactericidal titers showed minimal increase in inhibition and killing of the bacteria with the addition of rifampin. Rifampin did not alter the pharmacokinetics of ciprofloxacin. The successful use of oral antibiotics for this difficult infection may be a major advance. Reduction in antibiotic costs and hospitalization and convenience of oral administration were of notable benefit.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115:1063-1069)

Add or change institution