Rationale: Moxifloxacin has promising preclinical activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but has not been evaluated in multidrug treatment of tuberculosis in humans.
Objective: To compare the impact of moxifloxacin versus ethambutol, both in combination with isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide, on sputum culture conversion at 2 mo as a measure of the potential sterilizing activity of alternate induction regimens.
Methods: Adults with smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis were randomized in a factorial design to receive moxifloxacin (400 mg) versus ethambutol given 5 d/wk versus 3 d/wk (after 2 wk of daily therapy). All doses were directly observed.
Measurements: The primary endpoint was sputum culture status at 2 mo of treatment.
Results: Of 336 patients enrolled, 277 (82%) were eligible for the efficacy analysis, 186 (67%) were male, 175 (63%) were enrolled at African sites, 206 (74%) had cavitation on chest radiograph, and 60 (22%) had HIV infection. Two-month cultures were negative in 71% of patients (99 of 139) treated with moxifloxacin versus 71% (98 of 138) treated with ethambutol (p = 0.97). Patients receiving moxifloxacin, however, more often had negative cultures after 4 wk of treatment. Patients treated with moxifloxacin more often reported nausea (22 vs. 9%, p = 0.002), but similar proportions completed study treatment (88 vs. 89%). Dosing frequency had little effect on 2-mo culture status or tolerability of therapy.
Conclusions: The addition of moxifloxacin to isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide did not affect 2-mo sputum culture status but did show increased activity at earlier time points.