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A randomized trial of N-acetylcysteine for prevention of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole hypersensitivity reactions in Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia prophylaxis (CTN 057). Canadian HIV Trials Network 057 Study Group.

Author(s): Walmsley SL, Khorasheh S, Singer J, Djurdjev O

Affiliation(s): Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. swalmsley@torhosp.toronto.on.ca

Publication date & source: 1998-12-15, J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol., 19(5):498-505.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial

Hydroxylamine derivatives of sulfamethoxazole may be the reactive metabolites that cause adverse reactions to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX). The increased frequency of reactions observed in HIV-positive individuals is hypothesized to be due to systemic glutathione deficiency and a decreased ability to scavenge these metabolites. Two hundred and thirty-eight patients were randomized to receive or not receive N-acetylcysteine (3 g of the 20% liquid solution) 1 hour before each dose of TMP-SMX (trimethoprim 80 mg, sulfamethoxazole 400 mg) twice daily, which was initiated as primary Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia prophylaxis. Forty-five patients had to discontinue TMP-SMX within 2 months because of fever, rash, or pruritus including 25 of 102 patients (25%) who were receiving TMP-SMX alone and 20 of 96 patients (21%) who were randomized to TMP-SMX and N-acetylcysteine. The difference between treatment groups is 4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: -16%, +9%). No independent association was found with the hypersensitivity reaction and age, gender, race, HIV risk factor, prior AIDS, concurrent use of fluconazole, or baseline CD4. N-acetylcysteine at a dose of 3 g twice daily could not be shown to prevent TMP-SMX hypersensitivity reactions in patients with HIV infection.

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