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Mouse Study Points to Shorter Tuberculosis Drug Treatment

Regimens of rifapentine and moxifloxacin may need months less to end infection than standard regimen

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- A daily or three times weekly regimen including rifapentine and moxifloxacin might cut the treatment time for tuberculosis from the current six-month duration to three months or less, according to the results of a mouse study published online Dec. 18 in PLoS Medicine.

Ian M. Rosenthal, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues exposed mice to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, and compared regimens containing rifapentine and moxifloxacin with the standard daily regimen of rifampin, isoniazid and pyrazinamide (RHZ).

After two months of treatment, mice on regimens with rifapentine and moxifloxacin had negative lung cultures, but all those on the standard regimen remained culture-positive. After three months, none of the mice treated with daily or thrice-weekly regimens with rifapentine and moxifloxacin had relapsed, but mice on the standard daily regimen needed six months to prevent relapse.

"This study has identified novel regimens that are dramatically more effective than the standard short-course RHZ regimen. We believe their greater efficacy is due primarily to the greater rifamycin exposure obtained when rifapentine is administered more frequently than once-weekly," the authors write.

Two study co-authors have past or present financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that play a role in drugs used in this study.

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