Effectiveness and Cardiac Safety of Bedaquiline-Based Therapy for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: A Prospective Cohort Study

James C.M. Brust, Neel R. Gandhi, Sean Wasserman, Gary Maartens, Shaheed V. Omar, Nazir A. Ismail, Angela Campbell, Lindsay Joseph, Alexandria Hahn, Salim Allana, Alfonso C. Hernandez-Romieu, Chenshu Zhang, Koleka Mlisana, Charle A. Viljoen, Benjamin Zalta, Ismaeel Ebrahim, Meghan Franczek, Iqbal Master, Limpho Ramangoaela, Julian Te RieleGraeme Meintjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Bedaquiline improves treatment outcomes in patients with rifampin-resistant (RR) tuberculosis but prolongs the QT interval and carries a black-box warning from the US Food and Drug Administration. The World Health Organization recommends that all patients with RR tuberculosis receive a regimen containing bedaquiline, yet a phase 3 clinical trial demonstrating its cardiac safety has not been published. Methods: We conducted an observational cohort study of patients with RR tuberculosis from 3 provinces in South Africa who received regimens containing bedaquiline. We performed rigorous cardiac monitoring, which included obtaining electrocardiograms in triplicate at 4 time points during bedaquiline therapy. Participants were followed up until the end of therapy or 24 months. Outcomes included final tuberculosis treatment outcome and QT interval prolongation (QT prolongation), defined as any QT interval corrected by the Fridericia method (QTcF) >500 ms or an absolute change from baseline (ΔQTcF) >60 ms. Results: We enrolled 195 eligible participants, of whom 40% had extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. Most participants (97%) received concurrent clofazimine. Of the participants, 74% were cured or successfully completed treatment, and outcomes did not differ by human immunodeficiency virus status. QTcF continued to increase throughout bedaquiline therapy, with a mean increase (standard deviation) of 23.7 (22.7) ms from baseline to month 6. Four participants experienced a QTcF >500 ms and 19 experienced a ΔQTcF >60 ms. Older age was independently associated with QT prolongation. QT prolongation was neither more common nor more severe in participants receiving concurrent lopinavir-ritonavir. Conclusions: Severe QT prolongation was uncommon and did not require permanent discontinuation of either bedaquiline or clofazimine. Close monitoring of the QT interval may be advisable in older patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2083-2092
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Bedaquiline
  • Clofazimine
  • Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis
  • HIV
  • Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis
  • QT interval

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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