A comparison of two short course tuberculosis chemotherapy regimens, both using Rifater during an intensive phase, with a 3 year follow-up

J Med Assoc Thai. 1995 Jun;78(6):298-304.


Tuberculosis is still a major public health threat in Thailand. The introduction of a short course of chemotherapy at national level might help reduce the magnitude of the problem. In order to assess the efficacy and toleration of two different regimens of chemotherapy under field conditions, a comparative clinically controlled trial was conducted at the Central Chest Hospital in Nonthaburi, Thailand. From January 1988 to August 1990, 199, newly diagnosed, untreated, sputum positive tuberculosis patients were allocated randomly to two treatment groups; in Group A, 97 patients received Rifater daily for the first 2 months, followed by Rifinah daily for 4 months (2 Rifater/4 Rifinah). In Group B, 102 patients received Rifater supplemented by ethambutol daily for the first 2 months followed by thiacetazone and isoniazid daily for 6 months (2 Rifater EMB/6 HT.) Treatment results were very satisfactory in both groups. At the end of treatment conversion rates were 100 per cent in Group A, and 99 per cent in Group B. After a period of 36 months following completion of treatment, relapse rates of 3 per cent for Group A and 4 per cent for Group B were observed. Adverse reactions were minimal in both groups, but acne formation and gastrointestinal symptoms were noticed more in Group B, suggestive of thiacetazone side effects. This study shows that, the 6-months regimen is as effective as the 8-months regimen. Although the 8-months regimen is cheaper, it causes more gastrointestinal disturbance and skin reaction which might led to less patient compliance and result in a lower cure rate.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pyrazinamide / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use*
  • Thailand
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • isoniazid, pyrazinamide, rifampin drug combination
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin