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The Introduction of Bedaquiline Regimen for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in the Philippines: An Operational Study

Vincent M. Balanag Jr., Vivian S. Lofranco, Mariquita J. Mantala, Mary Rosary T. Santiago, Patrice Jamie E. Cabasis, Arnyl G. Araneta, Anna Marie Celina G. Garfin

Abstract: Objectives: Bedaquiline (BDQ) is the first new anti-tuberculosis (TB) drug introduced to the market after 45 years. Recent studies have shown the potential benefits of adding bedaquiline to regimens for drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). In search of more effective regimens for DR-TB, bedaquiline was introduced in the TB program in the Philippines under operational research to assess its effectiveness, safety, and tolerability when given with background regimens among patients with multi-or extensively DR-TB (MDR/XDR-TB). Design: A prospective cohort study of patients with MDR/XDR-TB was given with a bedaquiline-containing regimen from June 2016 to May 2017. Demographic data, presence of comorbidities, and microbiologic profile on entry were recorded. Bedaquiline was administered at the recommended dose of 400 mg once daily for 14 days, then 200 mg three times a week for 22 weeks together with World Health Organization (WHO)-compliant background regimen. The time to culture conversion, interim outcomes at the 6th month of treatment, end-of-treatment outcomes, and post-treatment follow-up outcomes after one year was determined. The frequency and severity of adverse events (SAE) were recorded as part of pharmacovigilance. Results: Seventy-five patients were given with bedaquiline-containing regimen during the study period. Forty-two (56.0%) had second-line injectable resistance, 23 (30.7%) had fluoroquinolone-resistance, 6 (8.0%) had MDR-TB, and 4 (5.3%) had XDR-TB. In the 6th month of post-enrolment, 79% were culture-negative. The treatment success rate was 65.3% (37 were cured and 12 completed treatment), 7 (9.3%) died, 17 (22.7%) lost to follow-up, and 2 (2.7%) were withdrawn from treatment. Adverse events included vomiting (80%), dizziness (69%), nausea (52%), cough (44%), and headache (36%). The post-treatment follow-up of 49 patients in the 12th month showed 92% were culture-negative while 8% of TBC were not done. Conclusion: Bedaquiline-containing regimens for patients with MDR/XDR-TB were highly effective with an acceptable safety profile and favorable treatment outcomes, but the proportion of patients who lost to follow-up remains substantial.
Keywords: Bedaquiline / Drug-Resistant TB / XDR-TB

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