The duration of time that serum drug levels remain above the MIC (time above the MIC) for the pathogen has been shown to be the most significant parameter determining the efficacies of beta-lactam antibiotics. In the described study, we investigated the optimal time above the MIC of ceftibuten and cefaclor using a nonneutropenic mouse model of intra-abdominal infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pneumoniae. The abilities of the drugs to protect mice against the organisms were determined in mouse protection tests, and the doses were fractionated to produce various dosing regimens with different times above the MIC. All drug-organism combinations showed a significant correlation (r > 0.9) between drug efficacy and the time above the MIC. Also, with ceftibuten treatment, the different dosing regimens that produced equal times above the MIC resulted in the same efficacy, whereas with cefaclor, an apparent dose-dependent effect was observed. These results showed that for a 100% recovery from K. pneumoniae and E. coli infections, the optimal times above the MIC with ceftibuten treatment were 2.2 and 1.6 h, respectively. Relatively high doses of both antibiotics were required to ensure recovery from S. pneumoniae infections. In vitro time-kill studies demonstrated that cefaclor exhibits a marked inoculum effect against the pathogens, and there was a concentration-dependent killing at a large inoculum size. On the other hand, ceftibuten showed no inoculum effect. It is suggested that optimization of both dose and time above the MIC appears to be necessary for the treatment of S. aureus infections with cefaclor, and this may apply to other beta-lactams tht exhibit marked inoculum effects.