A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the use of prednisolone as an adjunct to treatment in HIV-1-associated pleural tuberculosis
Active tuberculosis may accelerate progression of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection by promoting viral replication in activated lymphocytes. Glucocorticoids are used in pleural tuberculosis to reduce inflammation-induced pathology, and their use also might reduce progression of HIV by suppressing immune activation. We examined the effect that prednisolone has on survival in HIV-1-associated pleural tuberculosis.
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of prednisolone as an adjunct to tuberculosis treatment, in adults with HIV-1-associated pleural tuberculosis. The primary outcome was death. Analysis was by intention to treat.
Of 197 participants, 99 were assigned to the prednisolone group and 98 to the placebo group. The mortality rate was 21 deaths/100 person-years (pyr) in the prednisolone group and 25 deaths/100 pyr in the placebo group (age-, sex-, and initial CD4+ T cell count-adjusted mortality rate ratio, 0.99 [95% confidence interval, 0.62-1.56] [P =.95]). Resolution of tuberculosis was faster in the prednisolone group, but recurrence rates were slightly (though not significantly) higher, and use of prednisolone was associated with a significantly higher incidence of Kaposi sarcoma (4.2 cases/100 pyr, compared with 0 cases/100 pyr [P =.02]).
In view of the lack of survival benefit and the increased risk of Kaposi sarcoma, the use of prednisolone in HIV-associated tuberculous pleurisy is not recommended.