Pediatric tuberculous meningitis: Model-based approach to determining optimal doses of the anti-tuberculosis drugs rifampin and levofloxacin for children

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Pediatric tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is a highly morbid, often fatal disease. Standard treatment includes isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol. Current rifampin dosing achieves low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations, and CSF penetration of ethambutol is poor. In adult trials, higher-dose rifampin and/or a fluoroquinolone reduced mortality and disability. To estimate optimal dosing of rifampin and levofloxacin for children, we compiled plasma and CSF pharmacokinetic (PK) and outcomes data from adult TBM trials plus plasma PK data from children. A population PK/pharmacodynamic (PD) model using adult data defined rifampin target exposures (plasma area under the curve (AUC)0–24 = 92 mg*h/L). Levofloxacin targets and rifampin pediatric drug disposition information were literature-derived. To attain target rifampin exposures, children require daily doses of at least 30 mg/kg orally or 15 mg/kg intravenously (i.v.). From our pediatric population PK model, oral levofloxacin doses needed to attain exposure targets were 19–33 mg/kg. Our results provide data-driven guidance to maximize pediatric TBM treatment while we await definitive trial results.

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