Background: South Africa has a large burden of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB); only 15% of XDR-TB patients have successful outcomes.
Objective: To describe the safety and effectiveness of bedaquiline (BDQ) in the South African BDQ Clinical Access Programme.
Design: An interim cohort analysis.
Results: Of the first 91 patients enrolled between March 2013 and July 2014 (with follow-up until August 2014), 54 (59%) were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected. The median CD4 count was 239 cells/μl, and all patients were on antiretroviral therapy (ART) at initiation of BDQ; 33 had XDR-TB, 41 were pre-XDR-TB with fluoroquinolone resistance and 17 were pre-XDR-TB with resistance to an injectable. Of the 91 patients, 58 (64%) had completed 24 weeks of BDQ, 28 were still on BDQ, 3 were lost to follow-up, 1 had died and 1 had BDQ withdrawn following atrial fibrillation. Of the 63 patients with 6 months follow-up, 48 (76%) had either culture-converted or remained culture-negative after initiation of BDQ. QTcF was monitored monthly and exceeded 500 ms in three participants; this resolved in all three.
Conclusion: Interim safety and culture conversion outcomes for patients accessing BDQ in South Africa, including HIV-infected patients on ART and patients with pre-XDR- and XDR-TB, suggest that BDQ may be both efficacious and safe.