Context: Because of problems with adherence, toxicity, and increasing resistance associated with 6- to 12-month isoniazid regimens, an alternative short-course tuberculosis preventive regimen is needed.
Objective: To compare a 2-month regimen of daily rifampin and pyrazinamide with a 12-month regimen of daily isoniazid in preventing tuberculosis in persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Design: Randomized, open-label controlled trial conducted from September 1991 to May 1996, with follow-up through October 1997.
Setting: Outpatient clinics in the United States, Mexico, Haiti, and Brazil.
Participants: A total of 1583 HIV-positive persons aged 13 years or older with a positive tuberculin skin test result.
Interventions: Patients were randomized to isoniazid, 300 mg/d, with pyridoxine hydrochloride for 12 months (n = 792) or rifampin, 600 mg/d, and pyrazinamide, 20 mg/kg per day, for 2 months (n = 791).
Main outcome measures: The primary end point was culture-confirmed tuberculosis; secondary end points were proven or probable tuberculosis, adverse events, and death, compared by treatment group.
Results: Of patients assigned to rifampin and pyrazinamide, 80% completed the regimen compared with 69% assigned to isoniazid (P<.001). After a mean follow-up of 37 months, 19 patients (2.4%) assigned to rifampin and pyrazinamide and 26 (3.3%) assigned to isoniazid developed confirmed tuberculosis at rates of 0.8 and 1.1 per 100 person-years, respectively (risk ratio, 0.72 [95% confidence interval, 0.40-1.31]; P = .28). In multivariate analysis, there were no significant differences in rates for confirmed or probable tuberculosis (P = .83), HIV progression and/or death (P = .09), or overall adverse events (P = .27), although drug discontinuation was slightly higher in the rifampin and pyrazinamide group (P = .01). Neither regimen appeared to lead to the development of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that for preventing tuberculosis in HIV-infected patients, a daily 2-month regimen of rifampin and pyrazinamide is similar in safety and efficacy to a daily 12-month regimen of isoniazid. This shorter regimen offers practical advantages to both patients and tuberculosis control programs.