Lack of Weight Gain During the First 2 Months of Treatment and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Independently Predict Unsuccessful Treatment Outcomes in Tuberculosis

J Infect Dis. 2020 Apr 7;221(9):1416-1424. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz595.


Background: Weight change may inform tuberculosis treatment response, but its predictive power may be confounded by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Methods: We prospectively followed up adults with culture-confirmed, drug-susceptible, pulmonary tuberculosis receiving standard 4-drug therapy (isoniazid, rifampin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol) in Brazil. We examined median weight change 2 months after treatment initiation by HIV status, using quantile regression, and unsuccessful tuberculosis treatment outcome (treatment failure, tuberculosis recurrence, or death) by HIV and weight change status, using Cox regression.

Results: Among 547 participants, 102 (19%) were HIV positive, and 35 (6%) had an unsuccessful outcome. After adjustment for confounders, persons living with HIV (PLWH) gained a median of 1.3 kg (95% confidence interval [CI], -2.8 to .1) less than HIV-negative individuals during the first 2 months of tuberculosis treatment. PLWH were at increased risk of an unsuccessful outcome (adjusted hazard ratio, 4.8; 95% CI, 2.1-10.9). Weight change was independently associated with outcome, with risk of unsuccessful outcome decreasing by 12% (95% CI, .81%-.95%) per 1-kg increase.

Conclusions: PLWH gained less weight during the first 2 months of tuberculosis treatment, and lack of weight gain and HIV independently predicted unsuccessful tuberculosis treatment outcomes. Weight, an easily collected biomarker, may identify patients who would benefit from alternative treatment strategies.

Keywords: HIV; Tuberculosis; body weight changes; observational study; treatment outcome.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Brazil
  • Ethambutol / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications*
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pyrazinamide / therapeutic use
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / complications*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Weight Gain*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Ethambutol
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin