Four months of treatment with rifapentine and moxifloxacin for tuberculosis was as effective as the standard six-month regimen, according to research reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Shorter treatment would be easier for people to complete without missing doses, and ultimately may be cost-effective,” said Dr. Weiner, associate professor in the health science center’s Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and infectious diseases physician in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. “These drugs have been around for more than 20 years and are widely available. This study demonstrates a new and feasible way to treat what is a global pandemic of tuberculosis.”

According to the World Health Organization, a quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, which means the people are infected but don’t have signs and symptoms of illness. “However, with active disease, people become sicker and TB can more easily spread to other people,” Dr. Weiner said. Participants in the newly reported trial all had active TB disease.

The standard TB regimen consists of four drugs — rifampin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide and ethambutol. It is a successful therapy; approximately 95% of recipients are cured of TB disease with this treatment. The rifapentine-moxifloxacin regimen, while being meaningfully shorter in treatment duration, was non-inferior to and was safe and well tolerated compared to the standard therapy, Dr. Weiner said.

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