A prospective, randomized, single (investigator) blind multicenter study was performed to compare the safety and efficacy of clarithromycin and cefadroxil oral suspensions in the treatment of mild to moderate skin and skin structure infections in children. Male and female patients ages 6 months to 12 years were enrolled at 24 study centers in the United States. Patients had signs and symptoms consistent with mild to moderate skin or skin structure infections judged suitable for oral antimicrobial therapy. Clarithromycin oral suspension was given to 118 children in a dose of 7.5 mg/kg (maximum of 500 mg) twice daily; cefadroxil oral suspension was given to 113 children in a dose of 15 mg/kg (maximum of 1000 mg) twice daily. Among clinically evaluable patients clinical success rates (cure plus improvement) were 96% (71 of 74) for clarithromycin and 98% (83 of 85) for cefadroxil (P= 0.664). Bacteriologic cure rates in evaluable clarithromycin and cefadroxil patients were 96% (72 of 75) and 99% (89 of 90), respectively (P= 0.331). Pathogen eradication rates based on 204 evaluable pathogens were 97% in the clarithromycin group and 99% in the cefadroxil group (P= 0.326). Adverse events were mild or moderate and were reported in 25% of clarithromycin and 35% of cefadroxil patients (P= 0.085). In both groups adverse events involved primarily the digestive tract. No significant laboratory changes were noted. Clarithromycin oral suspension appears to be a safe and effective alternative to cefadroxil for the treatment of pediatric skin and skin structure infections.