The 51st Union Conference on Lung Health: Four-month regimen cures TB as well as standard six-month treatment course

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A shorter four-month drug regimen to treat tuberculosis is as safe and effective as the standard six-month regimen in curing drug-susceptible TB, researchers presented at the 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health being held virtually this week. The shorter regimen – the first successful short treatment regimen for TB identified in more than 40 years – can improve patient adherence to treatment and consequently prevent drug resistance, cut treatment costs and improve TB programs, health systems and quality of life for patients and families, researchers said.

Results from the international trial conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s TB Trials Consortium and the National Institutes of Health’s AIDS Clinical Trial Group show that a four-month regimen consisting of two months of daily treatment with rifapentine, isoniazid, pyrazinamide and moxifloxacin followed by two months of daily treatment with the same regimen minus pyrazinamide cured patients and was as well-tolerated as the standard six-month regimen currently recommended under current World Health Organization and CDC guidelines.

The trial – the largest treatment trial of its kind in decades – stands out for its inclusivity, researchers noted, enrolling 2,500 participants including adults, adolescents and people living with HIV across 34 sites in 13 countries.

The WHO and CDC will consider these findings when developing and updating current guidelines, said trial investigator Dr. Susan Dorman.

“Shortening TB treatment by one-third is meaningful for people living with TB today and an importance step towards ultra-short treatment regimens,” Dr. Dorman said.

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