Background: A 9-month regimen of isoniazid can prevent active tuberculosis in persons with latent tuberculosis infection. However, the regimen has been associated with poor adherence rates and with toxic effects.
Methods: In an open-label trial conducted in nine countries, we randomly assigned adults with latent tuberculosis infection to receive treatment with a 4-month regimen of rifampin or a 9-month regimen of isoniazid for the prevention of confirmed active tuberculosis within 28 months after randomization. Noninferiority and potential superiority were assessed. Secondary outcomes included clinically diagnosed active tuberculosis, adverse events of grades 3 to 5, and completion of the treatment regimen. Outcomes were adjudicated by independent review panels.
Results: Among the 3443 patients in the rifampin group, confirmed active tuberculosis developed in 4 and clinically diagnosed active tuberculosis developed in 4 during 7732 person-years of follow-up, as compared with 4 and 5 patients, respectively, among 3416 patients in the isoniazid group during 7652 person-years of follow-up. The rate differences (rifampin minus isoniazid) were less than 0.01 cases per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.14 to 0.16) for confirmed active tuberculosis and less than 0.01 cases per 100 person-years (95% CI, -0.23 to 0.22) for confirmed or clinically diagnosed tuberculosis. The upper boundaries of the 95% confidence interval for the rate differences of the confirmed cases and for the confirmed or clinically diagnosed cases of tuberculosis were less than the prespecified noninferiority margin of 0.75 percentage points in cumulative incidence; the rifampin regimen was not superior to the isoniazid regimen. The difference in the treatment-completion rates was 15.1 percentage points (95% CI, 12.7 to 17.4). The rate differences for adverse events of grade 3 to 5 occurring within 146 days (120% of the 4-month planned duration of the rifampin regimen) were -1.1 percentage points (95% CI, -1.9 to -0.4) for all events and -1.2 percentage points (95% CI, -1.7 to -0.7) for hepatotoxic events.
Conclusions: The 4-month regimen of rifampin was not inferior to the 9-month regimen of isoniazid for the prevention of active tuberculosis and was associated with a higher rate of treatment completion and better safety. (Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00931736 .).