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Free Content Tuberculous meningitis: is a 6-month treatment regimen sufficient?

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SETTING: The British Thoracic Society and the American Thoracic Society advise 12 months treatment for tuberculous meningitis, with at least isoniazid (H), rifampicin (R) and pyrazinamide (Z).

OBJECTIVE: To establish whether a 6-month treatment regimen for tuberculous meningitis is equally as effective as longer treatment.

METHOD: Medline search for papers published between 1978 and 1999. Inclusion criteria: study populations of patients with tuberculous meningitis in whom the diagnosis was confirmed with clinical, cerebrospinal fluid and epidemiological findings; a treatment regimen with at least HRZ and at least 12 months of follow-up after the completion of treatment. Outcome measure: the number of relapses.

RESULTS: There were four 6-month treatment regimens (G6) and seven longer treatment regimens (G>6); 160/197 (81%) patients completed the 6-month treatment regimens, while 577/675 (85%) completed the longer-term regimens. The clinical stage of patients in the G6 group was poorer than in the G>6 group. Relapse occurred in two out of 131 (1.5%) G6 and in 0 out of 591 G>6 patients.

CONCLUSION: Although no studies have compared 6-month treatment regimens with longer treatment, it can be concluded on the basis of this literature review that 6-month treatment is sufficient for tuberculous meningitis with fully susceptible mycobacteria.
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Keywords: 6-month treatment; isoniazid; pyrazinamide; relapse; rifampicin; tuberculous meningitis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Public Health Office (GGD), Nijmegen, The Netherlands 2: Department of Neurology, UMC Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands 3: Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UMC Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands 4: Department of General Internal Medicine, UMC Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Publication date: 01 November 2001

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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