Isoniazid Preventive Therapy for People With HIV Who Are Heavy Alcohol Drinkers in High TB-/HIV-Burden Countries: A Risk-Benefit Analysis

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2018 Apr 1;77(4):405-412. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001610.


Background: Isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) reduces mortality among people living with HIV (PLHIV) and is recommended for those without active tuberculosis (TB) symptoms. Heavy alcohol use, however, is contraindicated for liver toxicity concerns. We evaluated the risks and benefits of IPT at antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation to ART alone for PLHIV who are heavy drinkers in 3 high TB-/HIV-burden countries.

Methods: We developed a Markov simulation model to compare ART alone to ART with either 6 or 36 months of IPT for heavy drinking PLHIV enrolling in care in Brazil, India, and Uganda. Outcomes included nonfatal toxicity, fatal toxicity, life expectancy, TB cases, and TB death.

Results: In this simulation, 6 months of IPT + ART (IPT6) extended life expectancy over both ART alone and 36 months of IPT + ART (IPT36) in India and Uganda, but ART alone dominated in Brazil in 51.5% of simulations. Toxicity occurred in 160/1000 persons on IPT6 and 415/1000 persons on IPT36, with fatal toxicity in 8/1000 on IPT6 and 21/1000 on IPT36. Sensitivity analyses favored IPT6 in India and Uganda with high toxicity thresholds.

Conclusions: The benefits of IPT for heavy drinkers outweighed its risks in India and Uganda when given for a 6-month course. The toxicity/efficacy trade-off was less in Brazil where TB incidence is lower. IPT6 resulted in fatal toxicity in 8/1000 people, whereas even higher toxicities of IPT36 negated its benefits in all countries. Data to better characterize IPT toxicity among HIV-infected drinkers are needed to improve guidance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antitubercular Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antitubercular Agents / adverse effects
  • Brazil
  • Chemoprevention / methods*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • India
  • Isoniazid / administration & dosage*
  • Isoniazid / adverse effects
  • Liver Failure / chemically induced
  • Liver Failure / mortality
  • Models, Statistical
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis / mortality
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*
  • Uganda
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Isoniazid