Evaluation of the 3-drug combination, Rifater, versus 4-drug therapy in the ambulatory treatment of tuberculosis in Cape Town

S Afr Med J. 1994 Jun;84(6):325-8.


The subjective impression among clinicians that the use of Rifater was causing delayed sputum conversion and increased drug resistance was tested in a prospective study. Adults in the Cape Town municipal area with a first episode of pulmonary tuberculosis were treated either with Rifater or a regimen consisting of isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide and ethambutol. All patients who took the treatment as prescribed (67 Rifater, 39 the 4-drug regimen) converted to a negative sputum culture by the time 90 doses had been taken. The rates of inadequate compliance and of side-effects were similar in the two groups. Drug sensitivity testing of bacteria cultured from pre-treatment sputum specimens revealed an overall primary resistance rate of 4.84% in the population studied, sufficiently low to preclude any necessity for routine pre-treatment drug sensitivity testing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Ethambutol / adverse effects
  • Ethambutol / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / adverse effects
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pyrazinamide / adverse effects
  • Pyrazinamide / therapeutic use*
  • Rifampin / adverse effects
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use*
  • Sputum / microbiology
  • Streptomycin / adverse effects
  • Streptomycin / therapeutic use
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*


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