- A prospective, open-label, randomized study was conducted in order to determine the bacteriologic efficacies of cefaclor and azithromycin in acute otitis media (AOM). Tympanocentesis was performed on entry into the study and 3 to 4 days after initiation of treatment. Bacteriologic failure after 3 to 4 days of treatment with both drugs occurred in a high proportion of culture-positive patients, especially in those in whom AOM was caused by Haemophilus influenzae (16 of 33 [53%] of those treated with azithromycin and 13 of 34 [52%] of those treated with cefaclor). Although a clear correlation of the persistence of the pathogen with increased MICs of the respective drugs could be demonstrated for Streptococcus pneumoniae, no such correlation was found for H. influenzae. It is proposed that susceptibility breakpoints for H. influenzae should be considerably lower than the current ones for both cefaclor and azithromycin for AOM caused by H. influenzae.