SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

Study evaluates four-drug TB treatment for HIV/AIDS patients

Scientists had predicted that using the four-drug treatment might raise the survival rates compared to the isoniazid therapy. | File photo

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Pennsylvania researchers recently published a report stating there is not any additional benefit for advanced HIV/AIDS patients to receive four tuberculosis drugs in lieu of isonazid alone.

The randomized, 10-nation clinical trial included adult outpatients. The results showed that using four TB drugs was not more effective than using a single TB drug, called isoniazid, for HIV/AIDS patients in advanced stages.

"Our results even suggest the four-drug strategy is actually doing more harm than isoniazid-alone therapy because study participants found it less tolerable and stopped using it," Dr. Amita Gupta, senior study author and associate professor of medicine and deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education, said.

The scientists had predicted that using the four-drug treatment might raise the survival rates compared to the isoniazid therapy. Instead, the study, available in The Lancet, confirmed the guidelines that the World Health Organization created almost 20 years earlier; using isoniazid can help advanced, vulnerable HIV/AIDS patients when they begin antiretroviral  therapy.

"We went into this trial thinking that using the full, four-drug tuberculosis treatment would be able to prevent more deaths," Gupta said. "We found -- unequivocally -- no difference.”

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