Hepatotoxicity due to first-line anti-tuberculosis drugs: A five-year experience in a Taiwan medical centre

C. C. Shu, C. H. Lee, M. C. Lee, Jann Yuan Wang, C. J. Yu, L. N. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Hepatotoxicity with first-line drugs, a major complication of anti-tuberculosis treatment, has not been studied by time-dependent analysis. DESIGN: Adult patients diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) from 2005 to 2009 were reviewed retrospectively. Hepatotoxicity during anti-tuberculosis treatment was defined by symptomatic elevation of liver transaminases ≥3 times the upper limit of normal, or ≥5 times if asymptomatic. Risk factors for hepatotoxicity were investigated using time-dependent Cox regression analysis. RESULTS: Of 926 patients identified and followed for 4122.9 person-months (pm), 111 (12.0%) developed hepatotoxicity after a median 38.0 days from start of treatment. Around 3.5% had severe hepatotoxicity. The most common symptoms were general malaise and poor appetite. The incidence rate of hepatotoxicity was 0.59, 0.69 and 3.71/100 pm for isoniazid, rifampicin (RMP) and pyrazinamide (PZA), respectively. Old age, female sex, autoimmune disease, human immunodeficiency virus infection, more days with PZA in the last 8-14 days, and fewer days with RMP in the last 15-21 days before hepatotoxicity were independent risk factors for hepatotoxicity during treatment. CONCLUSION: A significant number of adult patients on first-line treatment experience hepatotoxicity. PZA is the most common causative drug. For high-risk patients, careful adjustment of the anti-tuberculosis regimen and regular monitoring of liver transaminases are necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-939
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-tuberculosis treatment
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Isoniazid
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Rifampicin
  • Time-dependent Cox regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases


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