Susceptibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and their combination over a 12 year period in Taiwan

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Abstract

Objectives

This study was designed to determine the susceptibility of clinical isolates of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and non-MDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis to sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole over a 12 year period in Taiwan.

Patients and methods

We examined a total of 117 clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis collected from Southern Taiwan, 116 from 1995 to 2006 and an extensively drug-resistant (XDR) isolate in 2009. These included 28 isolates susceptible to all four first-line agents, 52 MDR isolates and 36 isolates with a mixed combination of drug resistance patterns other than MDR and 1 XDR isolate.

Results

Sulfamethoxazole inhibited 80% growth of all 117 isolates regardless of their susceptibility to the first-line agents at an MIC90 of 9.5 mg/L. The concentration required to inhibit 99% growth was 38 mg/L. There were no significant changes in the MIC50 or MIC90 of sulfamethoxazole over a 12 year period. All 117 isolates were resistant to trimethoprim at >8 mg/L. The combination of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole at a ratio of 1 : 19 had no additive or synergistic effects.

Conclusions

Sulfamethoxazole inhibited the growth of clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis at achievable concentrations in plasma after oral administration. Susceptibility to sulfamethoxazole remained constant over a 12 year period. Trimethoprim was inactive against M. tuberculosis and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole provided no additional activity. Although the current and prior studies demonstrate that sulfamethoxazole is active against M. tuberculosis the search needs to continue for more active, lipid-soluble sulphonamides that are better absorbed into tissues and have improved therapeutic efficacy.

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