The incidence of primary resistance to rifampicin in Mycobacterium tuberculosis has been analysed in countries where rifampicin is restricted to use for treating tuberculosis and in countries where its use is not restricted. There is no evidence that rifampicin-resistant M tuberculosis strains are more common where the use of the drug is unrestricted. Resistance to rifampicin is less common than is resistance to streptomycin or to isoniazid. We can thus see no danger of producing resistant strains of M tuberculosis if rifampicin therapy is used for short periods for non-tuberculosis infections. The problem of resistance mutants arising in the non-tuberculous species being treated is overcome by combining rifampicin with trimethoprim.
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