Population Pharmacokinetics of Rifampin in Pregnant Women with Tuberculosis and HIV Coinfection in Soweto, South Africa

on behalf of the Tshepiso Study Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Effective treatment of tuberculosis during pregnancy is essential for preventing maternal and fetal mortality, but little is known about the effects of pregnancy on the disposition of antituberculosis drugs. We explored the effects of pregnancy on the pharmacokinetics of rifampin, the key sterilizing drug in tuberculosis treatment, in Tshepiso, a prospective cohort study involving pregnant HIV-infected women with or without tuberculosis in Soweto, South Africa. Participants receiving standard first-line tuberculosis treatment underwent sparse sampling for rifampin at 37 weeks- gestation or delivery and then postpartum. Cord blood was collected when possible. A population pharmacokinetic model was developed to investigate the effects of pregnancy on rifampin pharmacokinetics. Among the 48 participants, median age and weight were 28 years and 67 kg, respectively. A one-compartment model with first-order elimination, transit compartment absorption, and allometric scaling described the data well. Pregnancy reduced rifampin clearance by 14%. The median (interquartile range) model-estimated rifampin area under the concentration- time curve over 24 h (AUC0-24) during pregnancy or intrapartum was 40.8 h • mg/liter (27.1 to 54.2 h • mg/liter) compared to 37.4 h • mg/liter (26.8 to 50.3 h • mg/liter) postpartum. The maximum concentrations were similar during pregnancy and postpartum. Rifampin was detectable in 36% (8/22) of cord blood samples, and 88% (42/48) of the women had successful treatment outcomes. There was one case of perinatal tuberculosis. In conclusion, rifampin clearance is modestly reduced during the last trimester of pregnancy. Exposures are only slightly increased, so dose adjustment during pregnancy is not needed. Rifampin was detected in cord blood samples when delivery occurred soon after dosing. The consequences of exposure to this potent inducer of metabolizing enzymes among HIV-exposed infants are unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1234-1241
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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