6-month versus 36-month isoniazid preventive treatment for tuberculosis in adults with HIV infection in Botswana: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Lancet. 2011 May 7;377(9777):1588-98. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60204-3. Epub 2011 Apr 12.


Background: In accordance with WHO guidelines, people with HIV infection in Botswana receive daily isoniazid preventive therapy against tuberculosis without obtaining a tuberculin skin test, but duration of prophylaxis is restricted to 6 months. We aimed to assess effectiveness of extended isoniazid therapy.

Methods: In our randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial we enrolled adults infected with HIV aged 18 years or older at government HIV-care clinics in Botswana. Exclusion criteria included current illness such as cough and an abnormal chest radiograph without antecedent tuberculosis or pneumonia. Eligible individuals were randomly allocated (1:1) to receive 6 months' open-label isoniazid followed by 30 months' masked placebo (control group) or 6 months' open-label isoniazid followed by 30 months' masked isoniazid (continued isoniazid group) on the basis of a computer-generated randomisation list with permuted blocks of ten at each clinic. Antiretroviral therapy was provided if participants had CD4-positive lymphocyte counts of fewer than 200 cells per μL. We used Cox regression analysis and the log-rank test to compare incident tuberculosis in the groups. Cox regression models were used to estimate the effect of antiretroviral therapy. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00164281.

Findings: Between Nov 26, 2004, and July 3, 2009, we recorded 34 (3·4%) cases of incident tuberculosis in 989 participants allocated to the control group and 20 (2·0%) in 1006 allocated to the continued isoniazid group (incidence 1·26% per year vs 0·72%; hazard ratio 0·57, 95% CI 0·33-0·99, p=0·047). Tuberculosis incidence in those individuals receiving placebo escalated approximately 200 days after completion of open-label isoniazid. Participants who were tuberculin skin test positive (ie, ≥5 mm induration) at enrolment received a substantial benefit from continued isoniazid treatment (0·26, 0·09-0·80, p=0·02), whereas participants who were tuberculin skin test-negative received no significant benefit (0·75, 0·38-1·46, p=0·40). By study completion, 946 (47%) of 1995 participants had initiated antiretroviral therapy. Tuberculosis incidence was reduced by 50% in those receiving 360 days of antiretroviral therapy compared with participants receiving no antiretroviral therapy (adjusted hazard ratio 0·50, 95% CI 0·26-0·97). Severe adverse events and death were much the same in the control and continued isoniazid groups.

Interpretation: In a tuberculosis-endemic setting, 36 months' isoniazid prophylaxis was more effective for prevention of tuberculosis than was 6-month prophylaxis in individuals with HIV infection, and chiefly benefited those who were tuberculin skin test positive.

Funding: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US Agency for International Development.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antitubercular Agents / adverse effects
  • Botswana
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / administration & dosage*
  • Isoniazid / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Skin Tests
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis / complications
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Isoniazid

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00164281