Ofloxacin plus rifampicin versus doxycycline plus rifampicin in the treatment of brucellosis: a randomized clinical trial [ISRCTN11871179]

Oguz Karabay, Irfan Sencan, Derya Kayas, Idris Sahin
BMC Infectious Diseases 2004 June 23, 4: 18

BACKGROUND: The combination therapies recommended by the World Health Organization for treatment of brucellosis are doxycycline plus rifampicin or doxycycline plus streptomycin. Although highly successful results have been obtained with these two regimens, relapse rates as high as 14.4%. The most effective and the least toxic chemotherapy for human brucellosis is still undetermined. The aim of the present study was to investigate the efficacy, adverse effects and cost of ofloxacin plus rifampicin therapy, and doxycycline plus rifampicin therapy and evaluate in the treatment of brucellosis.

METHODS: The open trial has been carried out prospectively by the two medical centers from December 1999 to December 2001 in Duzce region Turkey. The diagnosis was based on the presence of signs and symptoms compatible with brucellosis including a positive agglutination titre (>/=1/160) and/or a positive culture. Doxycycline and rifampicin group consisted of 14 patients who were given doxycycline 200 mg/day plus rifampicin 600 mg/day during 45 days and this group Ofloxacin plus rifampicin group was consisted of 15 patients who were given ofloxacin 400 mg/day plus rifampicin 600 mg/day during 30 days.

RESULTS: Regarding clinical and/or demographic characteristics no significant difference was found between two groups of patients that underwent two different therapeutic regimens. At the end of the therapy, two relapses were seen in both groups (p = 0.695). Although duration of therapy was two weeks shorter in group treated with rifampicin plus ofloxacin, the cure rate was similar in both groups of examinees. Fever dropped more rapidly in the group that treated with rifampicin plus ofloxacin, 74 +/- 30 (ranges 48-216) vs. 106 +/- 26 (ranges 48-262) hours (p = 0.016).

CONCLUSIONS: Ofloxacin plus rifampicin therapy has advantages of shorter treatment duration and provided shorter course of fever with treatment than in doxycycline plus rifampicin therapy. However, cost of ofloxacin plus rifampicin treatment is higher than doxycycline plus rifampicin treatment. Because of the similar effects, adverse effects and relapses rates between two regimens, we still advice doxycycline plus rifampicin for the treatment of brucellosis for countries, which have limited resources.

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