High Incidence of New-Onset Joint Pain in Patients on Fluoroquinolones as Antituberculous Treatment.

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BACKGROUND: Joint pain is frequently observed in patients on antituberculous treatment, and pyrazinamide is known to be associated with joint pain in patients receiving antituberculous treatment. Fluoroquinolone-associated joint pain and tendon injury have been reported in long-term corticosteroid and transplant recipients, but data are lacking in patients with tuberculosis.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to examine the incidence of joint pain manifested during administration of antituberculous therapy and their association with fluoroquinolones.

METHODS: Patients diagnosed with tuberculosis attending the outpatient clinic over a period of 1 year were reviewed and divided into 3 groups: group A receiving pyrazinamide, group B receiving a fluoroquinolone, and group C receiving both pyrazinamide and a fluoroquinolone. Latency to onset of joint pain was noted in all 3 groups. Joint pain was initially managed with analgesics, and associated hyperuricemia was treated with allopurinol/febuxostat. Causative drugs were stopped in case of intolerable joint pain.

RESULTS: 260 patients (47% females, aged 38 ± 18 years; mean ± SD) were included [group A (n = 140), group B (n = 81), and group C (n = 39)]. Overall, 76/260 (29%) patients developed joint pain: group A - 24/140 patients (17%), group B - 32/81 patients (40%), and group C - 20/39 patients (51%). The median latency to the onset of joint pain was 83 days (interquartile range, IQR 40-167): 55 days (IQR 32-66) in group A, 138 days (IQR 74-278) in group B, and 88 days (IQR 34-183) in group C. Hyperuricemia was present in 12/24 (50%) patients in group A and 11/20 (55%) patients in group C. Pyrazinamide was stopped in 7/140 (5%) patients in group A, fluoroquinolones in 6/81 (7%) patients in group B, and both pyrazinamide and fluoroquinolones were stopped in 5/39 (13%) patients in group C because of intolerable joint pain. Major joints affected were knees and ankles.

CONCLUSION: There is a high incidence of joint pain in patients receiving antituberculous treatment, which is higher when fluoroquinolones or the pyrazinamide-fluoroquinolone combination are administered as compared to pyrazinamide alone.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine Fellows and Residents, Fellows and Residents

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