A prospective cohort study was performed in patients diagnosed with pulmonary or extrapulmonary NTM infection and treated with clofazimine between February 2015 and April 2019 at a tertiary referral hospital. Treatment success was defined by a combined outcome of clinical stabilization, microbiologic cure and radiologic improvement. Secondary outcomes included all-cause mortality and time to sputum culture conversion. Uni/multi-variate regression were used to define associations between pre-determined predictor variables and overall treatment outcome.
Of 44 patients enrolled, 39 (89%) received clofazimine along with a median of 3 concomitant antibiotics. Thirty-one (80%) of patients had pulmonary NTM infection, with Mycobacterium abscessus group and Mycobacterium avium complex being the most common species groups identified. Of 36 people with evaluable outcomes, 35 (97%) survived and 22 (58%) had treatment success, including 12 of 19 (63%) with Mycobacterium abscessus group. In multivariate analysis, patients with Mycobacterium abscessus group were more likely to experience treatment success (OR 18.22, 95%CI 0.972-341.43, p=0.052), while macrolide resistance predicted a lack of treatment success (OR 0.053, 95%CI 0.003-0.841, p= 0.037). Clofazimine was well-tolerated.
Adding clofazimine to multi-class antibiotic regimens for drug-resistant NTM infection led to treatment success in the majority treated. Randomized controlled studies are needed to determine the individual impact of clofazimine within an otherwise optimized drug regimen.
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