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Open Access Quality assurance of rifampicin-containing fixed-drug combinations in South Africa: dosing implications

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SETTING: Rifampicin (RMP) drives treatment response in drug-susceptible tuberculosis. Low RMP concentrations increase the risk of poor outcomes, and drug quality needs to be excluded as a contributor to low RMP exposure.

OBJECTIVES AND DESIGN: We performed an open-label, three-way cross-over study of three licensed RMP-containing formulations widely used in South Africa to evaluate the bioavailability of RMP in a two-drug fixed-dose combination tablet (2FDC) and a four-drug FDC (4FDC) against a single-drug reference. RMP dosed at 600 mg was administered 2 weeks apart in random sequence. Plasma RMP concentrations were measured pre-dose and 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 12 h post-dose. The area under the concentration-time curve (AUC0–12) of the FDCs was compared to the single drug reference. Simulations were used to predict the impact of our findings.

RESULTS: Twenty healthy volunteers (median age 22.8 years, body mass index 24.2 kg/m2) completed the study. The AUC0–12 of the 4FDC/reference (geometric mean ratio [GMR] 78%, 90%CI 69–89) indicated an average 20% reduction in RMP bioavailability in the 4FDC. The 2FDC/reference (GMR 104%, 90%CI 97–111) was bioequivalent. Simulations suggested dose adjustments to compensate for the poor bioavailability of RMP with the 4FDC, and revised weight-band doses to prevent systematic underdosing of low-weight patients.

CONCLUSION: Post-marketing surveillance of in vivo bioavailability of RMP and improved weight band-based dosing are recommended.
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Keywords: bioavailability; bioequivalence; dose; pharmacokinetic; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 2: Clinical Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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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 lung health world-wide.

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