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Open Access First-line tuberculosis treatment with double-dose rifampicin is well tolerated

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OBJECTIVE: To compare the occurrence of unfavourable treatment and safety outcomes of double-dose rifampicin (RMP; 20 mg/kg/d, intervention) with standard dose (10 mg/kg/d, control) in a first-line tuberculosis (TB) treatment regimen for smear-positive TB patients in Bangladesh.

DESIGN: This was a randomised clinical trial. The primary efficacy and safety endpoints were the occurrence of an unfavourable treatment outcome (death, failure, relapse or loss to follow-up) and the occurrence of any serious drug-related adverse event (SAE).

RESULTS: In primary efficacy analysis, among 343 control and 347 intervention patients, respectively 15.5% and 11.8% had an unfavourable outcome. In safety analysis, among 349 intervention and 352 control patients, respectively 4.3% and 2.6% experienced an SAE. These differences were not significant. There was a significantly lower occurrence of SAEs, explained by a lower occurrence of hepatic toxicity, in a RMP double-dosed but erroneously HZE (isoniazid+pyrazinamide+ethambutol) under-dosed subgroup.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that there is no statistically significant difference in terms of efficacy and safety between standard and double-dose RMP. An accidental finding (related to dosage levels of the standard regimen) suggests that high-dose RMP is potentially a lesser cause of hepatotoxicity. Larger trials with more power, or trials with at least a triple-dose might be needed to clearly see the effect of high-dose RMP on unfavourable outcomes.
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Keywords: drug dosage; efficacy; hepatotoxicity; relapse-free treatment success; safety

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Damien Foundation Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh 2: Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp 3: Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Research Foundation Flanders, Brussels 4: Damien Foundation Bangladesh, Brussels, Belgium 5: Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, The Union, Paris, France

Publication date: May 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • 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.

    To share scientific research of immediate concern as rapidly as possible, The Union is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles from the IJTLD and publishing them on The Union website, prior to their publication in the Journal. Read fast-track articles.

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

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