Four months of rifampicin monotherapy for latent tuberculosis infection in children

Clin Exp Pediatr. 2022 May;65(5):214-221. doi: 10.3345/cep.2021.01186. Epub 2021 Oct 29.


Diagnosing and treating latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) is an important part of efforts to combat tuberculosis (TB). The Korean guidelines for TB published in 2020 recommend 2 LTBI regimens for children and adolescents: 9 months of daily isoniazid (9H) and 3 months of daily isoniazid plus rifampicin. Isoniazid for 6-12 months has been used to effectively treat LTBI in children for over 50 years. However, a long treatment period results in poor patient compliance. This review summarizes pediatric data on the treatment completion rate, safety, and efficacy of 4 months of daily rifampicin (4R) and evaluates the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of rifampicin in children. The 4R regimen has a higher treatment completion rate than the 9H regimen and equivalent safety in children. The efficacy of preventing TB is also consistent with that of 9H when summarizing reports published to date. A shorter treatment period could increase patient compliance and, therefore, prevent TB in more patients. By using an effective, safe, and highly compliant regimen for the treatment of children with LTBI, we would become one step closer to our goal of eradicating TB.

Keywords: Child; Latent tuberculosis; Patient compliance; Rifampicin.