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Paradoxical reactions during tuberculosis treatment in patients with and without HIV co-infection
  1. R A M Breen1,
  2. C J Smith3,
  3. H Bettinson1,
  4. S Dart1,
  5. B Bannister2,
  6. M A Johnson1,
  7. M C I Lipman1
  1. 1Department of Thoracic and HIV Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Infectious Diseases, Royal Free Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr R Breen
    Department of Thoracic and HIV Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, London NW3 2QG, UK;


Background: It has been suggested that deterioration of tuberculosis (TB) during appropriate treatment, termed a paradoxical reaction (PR), is more common and severe in HIV positive individuals on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

Method: A study was undertaken to determine the frequency of PR and its associated features in a population of HIV+TB+ patients and a similar sized group of HIV−TB+ individuals.

Results: PR occurred in 28% of 50 HIV+TB+ patients and 10% of 50 HIV−TB+ patients. Disseminated TB was present in eight of 13 HIV+TB+ patients and four of five HIV−TB+ patients with PR. In 28 HIV+TB+ patients starting HAART, PR was significantly associated with commencing HAART within 6 weeks of starting antituberculosis treatment (p = 0.03) and was more common in those with disseminated TB (p = 0.09). No association was found between development of PR and baseline CD4 count or CD4 response to HAART.

Conclusions: PR is common in HIV infected and uninfected individuals with TB. Early introduction of HAART and the presence of disseminated TB appear to be important in co-infected patients.

  • tuberculosis
  • paradoxical reaction
  • antiretroviral treatment
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  • Funding: None

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