Efficacy of the 6-month thrice-weekly regimen in the treatment of new sputum smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis under clinical trial conditions.


Rekha, V.V.; Rajaram, K.; Kripasankar, A.S.; Parthasarathy, R.; Umapathy, K.C.; Sheikh, I.; Selvakumar, N.; Victor, M.; Niruparani, C.; Sridhar, R.; Jawahar, M.S.


National Medical Journal of India ; 2012; 25; 196-200.


Abstract: Background: Under the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme of India, patients with new smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis are treated with a thrice-weekly regimen of antitubercular drugs (2H3 R3Z3 E3 /4H3 R3 [H isoniazid, R rifampicin, Z pyrazinamide and E ethambutol]) for 6 months. We conducted a retrospective analysis of the efficacy and tolerability of this regimen under clinical trial conditions in HIV-negative patients with newly diagnosed smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis.


Methods: We retrospectively analysed the data on patients assigned to the control regimen (2H3 R3Z3 E3 /4H3 R3) in two clinical trials during 200106 at the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai , India .


Results: Of the 268 patients treated with this regimen, data for efficacy analysis were available for 249. At the end of treatment, of 249 patients, 238 (96%) had a favourable status. Treatment failure occurred in the remaining 11:7 in whom the organisms were initially drug-susceptible and 4 with initial drug resistance. Of the 238 patients who had a favourable status at the end of treatment, 14 (6%) had recurrence of tuberculosis during the following 24 months. In the intention-to-treat analysis, 245 (94%) of 262 patients had a favourable status at the end of treatment. Of the 28 patients with initial drug resistance, 24 (86%) had a favourable outcome. Only 4 of these 24 patients were found to have recurrence of tuberculosis in 2 years of follow-up. Among the 221 patients initially infected with drug-susceptible organisms, drug resistance did not develop in any of the 7 patients in whom the treatment failed or the 10 who had recurrence of tuberculosis. Further, 5 of the 7 patients in whom the treatment failed continued to excrete drug-susceptible bacilli at 6 months. Adverse drug reactions were observed in 38 (14%) of the 262 patients. Only 3 (1.1%) needed a modification in the treatment.


Conclusion: This thrice-weekly 6-month regimen of antitubercular drugs, when administered under full supervision, is associated with a high rate of favourable treatment outcomes in HIV-negative patients with newly diagnosed sputum smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis. There are few adverse drug reactions in these patients.


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