Background. No treatment regimens have been specifically designed for children, in whom tuberculosis is predominantly intracellular. Given their activity as monotherapy and their ability to penetrate many diseased anatomic sites that characterize disseminated tuberculosis, linezolid and moxifloxacin could be combined to form a regimen for this need.
Methods. We examined microbial kill of intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) by the combination of linezolid and moxifloxacin multiple exposures in a 7-by-7 mathematical matrix. We then used the hollow fiber system (HFS) model of intracellular tuberculosis to identify optimal dose schedules and exposures of moxifloxacin and linezolid in combination. We mimicked pediatric half-lives and concentrations achieved by each drug. We sampled the peripheral compartment on days 0, 7, 14, 21, and 28 for Mtb quantification, and compared the slope of microbial kill of Mtb by these regimens to the standard regimen of isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide, based on exponential decline regression.
Results. The full exposure-response surface identified linezolid-moxifloxacin zones of synergy, antagonism, and additivity. A regimen based on each of these zones was then used in the HFS model, with observed half-lives of 4.08 ± 0.66 for linezolid and 3.80 ± 1.34 hours for moxifloxacin. The kill rate constant was 0.060 ± 0.012 per day with the moxifloxacin-linezolid regimen in the additivity zone vs 0.083 ± 0.011 per day with standard therapy, translating to a bacterial burden half-life of 11.52 days vs 8.53 days, respectively.
Conclusions. We identified doses and dose schedules of a linezolid and moxifloxacin backbone regimen that could be highly efficacious in disseminated tuberculosis in children.