A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of three antituberculosis chemoprophylaxis regimens in patients with silicosis in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Chest Service/Tuberculosis Research Centre, Madras/British Medical Research Council

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 Jan;145(1):36-41. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/145.1.36.


A double-blind placebo-controlled trial of antituberculosis chemoprophylaxis was undertaken in sillicotic subjects in Hong Kong where there is a high prevalence of both silicosis and tuberculosis. During 1981 to 1987, 679 Chinese men with silicosis, with no history of previous antituberculosis chemotherapy and no evidence of active tuberculosis, were admitted to the trial and have been studied for between 2 and 5 yr. They were allocated at random to four series-rifampin for 12 wk (R3), isoniazid and rifampin for 12 wk (HR3), isoniazid alone for 24 wk (H6), or placebo (Pl)--in a double-blind design with matching placebos for isoniazid and rifampin as appropriate. Active pulmonary tuberculosis developed more frequently during the 5 yr in the placebo series than in the three chemoprophylaxis series (p less than 0.01, log-rank test), but there were no significant differences between the chemoprophylaxis series. The estimated proportions of patients with active pulmonary disease in the placebo series were 9% at 2 yr, 15% at 3 yr, 20% at 4 yr, and 27% at 5 yr. In contrast, in the three chemoprophylaxis series combined they were 5, 8, 10, and 13%, respectively. Thus, although chemoprophylaxis halved the proportion of patients in whom tuberculosis developed, this proportion was still substantial. There was no evidence that chemoprophylaxis led to the selection of drug-resistant strains of bacilli. Adverse effects were reported with a similar frequency in all four series, suggesting that few were drug related. During the first 12 wk, hepatic toxicity was reported in 8 (1%) patients (3 HR3, 3 H6, and 2 Pl), but only 1 (H6) had symptomatic hepatitis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / administration & dosage*
  • Isoniazid / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rifampin / administration & dosage*
  • Rifampin / adverse effects
  • Silicosis / complications*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / enzymology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control*


  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin