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The most effective antituberculosis drug treatment regimen for tuberculous meningitis is uncertain. We conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing standard treatment with a regimen intensified by rifampin 15 mg/kg and levofloxacin for the first 60 days. The intensified regimen did not improve survival or any other outcome. We therefore conducted a nested pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic study in 237 trial participants to define exposure-response relationships that might explain the trial results and improve future therapy. Rifampin 15 mg/kg increased plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) exposures compared with 10 mg/kg: day 14 exposure increased from 48.2 hour·mg/L (range 18.2-93.8) to 82.5 hour·mg/L (range 8.7-161.0) in plasma and from 3.5 hour·mg/L (range 1.2-9.6) to 6.0 hour·mg/L (range 0.7-15.1) in CSF. However, there was no relationship between rifampin exposure and survival. In contrast, we found that isoniazid exposure was associated with survival, with low exposure predictive of death, and was linked to a fast metabolizer phenotype. Higher doses of isoniazid should be investigated, especially in fast metabolizers.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics

Publication Date





1023 - 1033


Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Humans, Tuberculosis, Meningeal, Rifampin, Antitubercular Agents, Treatment Outcome, Drug Therapy, Combination, Double-Blind Method, Adult, Female, Male, Levofloxacin