High intrapulmonary rifampicin and isoniazid concentrations are associated with rapid sputum bacillary clearance in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis

Andrew D McCallum*, Henry E Pertinez, Aaron P Chirambo, Irene Sheha, Madalitso Chasweka, Rose Malamba, Doris Shani, Alex Chitani, Jane E Mallewa, Jamilah Z Meghji, Jehan F Ghany, Elizabeth L Corbett, Stephen B Gordon, Geraint R Davies, Saye H Khoo, Derek J Sloan, Henry C Mwandumba

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background Intrapulmonary pharmacokinetics may better explain response to tuberculosis (TB) treatment than plasma pharmacokinetics. We explored these relationships by modelling bacillary clearance in sputum in adult patients on first-line treatment in Malawi.

Methods Bacillary elimination rates (BER) were estimated using linear mixed-effects modelling of serial time-to-positivity in mycobacterial growth indicator tubes for sputum collected during the intensive phase of treatment (weeks 0 to 8) for microbiologically confirmed TB. Population pharmacokinetic models used plasma and intrapulmonary drug levels at 8 and 16 weeks. Pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships were investigated using individual-level measures of drug exposure (AUC and Cmax) for rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol, in plasma, epithelial lining fluid, and alveolar cells as covariates in the bacillary elimination models.

Results Among 157 participants (58% HIV co-infected), drug exposure in plasma or alveolar cells was not associated with sputum bacillary clearance. Higher peak concentrations (Cmax) or exposure (AUC) to rifampicin or isoniazid in epithelial lining fluid was associated with more rapid bacillary elimination and shorter time to sputum negativity. More extensive disease on baseline chest radiograph was associated with slower bacillary elimination. Clinical outcome was captured in 133 participants, with 15 (11%) unfavourable outcomes recorded (recurrent TB, failed treatment, or death). No relationship between BER and late clinical outcome was identified.

Conclusions Greater intrapulmonary drug exposure to rifampicin or isoniazid in the epithelial lining fluid was associated with more rapid bacillary clearance. Higher doses of rifampicin and isoniazid may result in sustained high intrapulmonary drug exposure, rapid bacillary clearance, shorter treatment duration and better treatment outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberciac228
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume75
Issue number9
Early online date3 May 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Antibiotics
  • Antitubercular
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacodynamics

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