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Isoniazid preventive treatment reduces the risk of death by 37% in people living with HIV
Keith Alcorn, 2017-02-16 06:10:00
A six-month course of isoniazid preventive treatment (IPT)
at the beginning of the Temprano trial reduced the risk of death by 37% over a mean follow-up period of 4.5 years, Anani Badje reported at the
2017 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Seattle on
Isoniazid is a drug used in the treatment of tuberculosis
(TB), which can also prevent the development of active tuberculosis in people
with latent TB. People exposed to a person with active TB may acquire an
infection that is kept in check by the immune system. This latent infection may
develop into active TB if immunity is depleted, whether through malnutrition,
ageing or HIV infection.
Several large trials have shown that IPT reduces the risk of
tuberculosis and death in people with HIV infection not taking antiretroviral
therapy, but the
largest of these studies suggested a need for continuous IPT in people not
taking antiretroviral therapy. A randomised study in people taking antiretroviral therapy in South Africa
showed that one year of IPT reduced the risk of TB by 37% during the one-year
study period, but provided no information about long-term protection.
The World Health Organization recommended a 36-month course
of IPT for people living with HIV in 2011.
Temprano ANRS 12136 study showed that a six-month course of IPT reduced the
risk of any severe HIV-related illness of death by 35%, independent of
The Temprano ANRS 12136 study assessed two interventions:
Immediate antiretroviral treatment compared to
starting treatment according to WHO guidelines between 2008 and 2012
Isoniazid for the prevention of tuberculosis
compared to placebo
Participants were randomised to each intervention arm, so
the study was able to provide independent comparisons of the effects of ART and
IPT on survival and morbidity.
The Temprano study followed participants for 30 months,
after which everyone in the study was offered immediate antiretroviral therapy.
Participants were then followed for a further 30 months to monitor survival.
Anani Badje of INSERM, Bordeaux, presented the results of
long-term follow up of Temprano participants.
The study randomised 2056 people, 42% of whom had CD4 cell
counts above 500 cells/mm3, to receive isoniazid or placebo for six
months. Approximately 35% in each arm show evidence of previous exposure to TB
on the Quantiferon Gold assay, and 3% had a previous history of TB.
During the follow-up period 7.3% of participants were lost
to follow up and a total of 10.7% in the no-IPT group and 9.4% in the IPT group
were lost to follow up during the trial and its follow-up period.
The 6-year probability of death was 6.9% in the no-IPT group
(95% confidence interval 5.1%-9.2%) and 4.1% in the IPT group (95% CI
2.9%-5.7%). IPT reduced the risk of death by 37% (hazard ratio 0.63, 95% CI
Kapalan-Meier analysis, which plots the cumulative
probability of death over time, shows that the difference in the risk of death
appeared to increase over time.
Why should isoniazid have such a prolonged effect on the
risk of death in this study compared to previous trails? Unfortunately, the
Temprano study investigators are unable to collect data on causes of death in
the follow-up period because participants reverted to standard medical care, and
medical history information was inconsistent. The lack of information on causes
of death makes it impossible to judge whether the risk of TB continued to be
lower in the IPT group throughout the follow-up period, as it was during the
clinical trial phase.
It is possible that IPT may have a greater effect in people
with higher CD4 cell counts; in the Temprano study the mean CD4 cell count at
month 60 of follow up was 655 cells/mm3. Furthermore, IPT might
provide a form of bridging protection prior to the improvement of TB-specific
immunity on antiretroviral therapy (90% of people in the IPT arm of the study
eventually started antiretroviral treatment). IPT might also have a more
durable effect in settings with a lower rate of TB transmission. For example, a
study in Brazil found that IPT reduced the risk of TB over seven years of
Dr Badje said that the study findings provide strong
evidence of the merits of IPT to countries that are still reluctant to
recommend it for people living with HIV. Unfounded fears that IPT will lead to
isoniazid resistance if people with undiagnosed active TB are treated have
proved unfounded, he told a press conference. A strong and clear policy for
implementation of IPT is needed in order to overcome reluctance among health
care providers, he said.