First randomised trial of treatments for pulmonary disease caused by M avium intracellulare, M malmoense, and M xenopi in HIV negative patients: rifampicin, ethambutol

March 2001
Thorax;Mar2001, Vol. 56 Issue 3, p167
Academic Journal
Background-The treatment of pulmonary disease caused by opportunist mycobacteria is controversial. It is uncertain whether in vitro sensitivity testing predicts clinical response in the way it does for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The literature suggests that the combination of rifampicin (R) and ethambutol (E) is important whereas isoniazid (H) may not be, but to date there have been no published reports of randomised controlled trials in the treatment of these conditions. The British Thoracic Society has conducted the first such trial, a randomised study of two regimens in HIV negative patients with pulmonary disease caused by M avium intracellulare (MAC), M malmoense, and M xenopi. Methods-When two positive cultures were confirmed by the Mycobacterium Reference Laboratories for England, Wales and Scotland, the coordinating physician invited the patient's physician to enrol the patient. Patients were also recruited from Scandinavia. Randomisation to 2 years of treatment with RE or REH was performed from lists held in the coordinator's office. Clinical, bacteriological, and radiological progress was monitored at set intervals up to 5 years. Results--From October 1987 to December 1992, 141 physicians entered 223 patients (106 with M malmoense, 75 with MAC, 42 with M xenopi). At entry the RE and REH groups were comparable over a range of demographic and clinical features. For each species there was no significant difference between RE and REH in the number of deaths, but when the three species were combined there were fewer deaths from the mycobacterial disease with RE (1% v 8%, p=0.018, odds ratio 0.10, exact 95% CI 0.00 to 0.76).


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