ERS Special Article. Efficacy and Safety of High-Dose Rifampin in Pulmonary Tuberculosis. A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Rationale:

We examined whether increased rifampin doses could shorten standard therapy for tuberculosis without increased toxicity.

Objectives:

To assess the differences across three daily oral doses of rifampin in change in elimination rate of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in sputum and frequency of rifampin-related adverse events.

Methods:

We conducted a blinded, randomized, controlled phase 2 clinical trial of 180 adults with new smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis, susceptible to isoniazid and rifampin. We randomized 1:1:1 to rifampin at 10, 15, and 20 mg/kg/d during the intensive phase. We report the primary efficacy and safety endpoints: change in elimination rate of M. tuberculosis log10 colony-forming units and frequency of grade 2 or higher rifampin-related adverse events. We report efficacy by treatment arm and by primary (area under the plasma concentration-time curve [AUC]/minimum inhibitory concentration [MIC]) and secondary (AUC) pharmacokinetic exposure.

Measurements and Main Results:

Each 5-mg/kg/d increase in rifampin dose resulted in differences of −0.011 (95% confidence interval, −0.025 to +0.002; P = 0.230) and −0.022 (95% confidence interval, −0.046 to −0.002; P = 0.022) log10 cfu/ml/d in the modified intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses, respectively. The elimination rate in the per-protocol population increased significantly with rifampin AUC0-6 (P = 0.011) but not with AUC0-6/MIC99.9 (P = 0.053). Grade 2 or higher rifampin-related adverse events occurred with similar frequency across the three treatment arms: 26, 31, and 23 participants (43.3%, 51.7%, and 38.3%, respectively) had at least one event (P = 0.7092) up to 4 weeks after the intensive phase. Treatment failed or disease recurred in 11 participants (6.1%).

Conclusions:

Our findings of more rapid sputum sterilization and similar toxicity with higher rifampin doses support investigation of increased rifampin doses to shorten tuberculosis treatment.

Conclusions:

Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 01408914).

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