Objective: To evaluate the early bactericidal activity (EBA) of the new fluoroquinolones levofloxacin, gatifloxacin and moxifloxacin in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB).
Design: Randomized, open-label trial. Forty adults with newly diagnosed smear-positive PTB (10 per arm) were assigned to receive isoniazid (INH) 300 mg, levofloxacin 1000 mg, gatifloxacin 400 mg, or moxifloxacin 400 mg daily for 7 days. Sputum for quantitative culture was collected for 2 days before and daily during 7 days of monotherapy. Bactericidal activity was estimated by measuring the decline in bacilli during the first 2 days (EBA 0-2) and last 5 days of monotherapy (extended EBA, EBA 2-7). Laboratory staff were blinded to treatment assignment.
Results: The EBA 0-2 of INH (0.67 log10 cfu/ml/day) was greater than that of moxifloxacin and gatifloxacin (0.33 and 0.35 log10 cfu/ml/day, respectively), but not of levofloxacin 1000 mg daily (0.45 log10 cfu/ml/day) (P = 0.14). Bactericidal activity between days 2 and 7 was similar for all three fluoroquinolones. In a pooled comparison, the EBA 2-7 of the fluoroquinolones was greater than for INH.
Conclusion: Moxifloxacin, gatifloxacin, and high-dose levofloxacin have excellent EBA, only slightly less than for INH, and greater extended EBA. These drugs warrant further study in the treatment of drug-susceptible TB.