Recent data suggest that intensified antimicrobial treatment may improve the outcome of tuberculous meningitis (TBM). Considering that drug exposure is the intermediate link between dose and effect, we examined the concentration-response relationship for rifampicin and moxifloxacin in TBM patients. In an open-label, phase 2 clinical trial performed in Indonesia (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01158755), 60 TBM patients were randomised to receive standard-dose (450mg oral) or high-dose rifampicin (600mg intravenous) plus either oral moxifloxacin (400mg or 800mg) or ethambutol (750mg). After 14 days, all patients continued with standard tuberculosis treatment. Pharmacokinetic sampling was performed once in every patient during the first three critical days. Differences in exposure between patients who died or survived were tested with independent samples t-tests. The relationship between drug exposure and mortality was examined using Cox regression. Compared with patients who died during the 2 weeks of intensified treatment, surviving patients had significantly higher rifampicin plasma AUC0-6h, plasma Cmax and CSF Chighest. Additionally, patients had a 32-43% lower relative likelihood of dying with an interquartile range increase in rifampicin exposure. Moxifloxacin exposure did not show a clear relationship with survival. From exposure-response curves, a rifampicin plasma AUC0-6h of ∼70mg·h/L (AUC0-24h of ∼116mgh/L) and a Cmax of ∼22mg/L were deduced as minimum target values for treatment. A strong concentration-effect relationship was found, with higher rifampicin exposure leading to better TBM survival. The current treatment dose of rifampicin is suboptimal; higher doses of rifampicin should be evaluated.
Keywords: High-dose rifampicin; Moxifloxacin; PK/PD; Tuberculous meningitis.
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