Swindells S, Siccardi M, Barrett SE, et al. Long-acting formulations for the treatment of latent tuberculous infection: opportunities and challenges. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2018 Feb 1; 22(2): 125–132. PMID: 29506608; PMCID: PMC6103451.
Long-acting/extended-release drug formulations have proved very successful in diverse areas of medicine, including contraception, psychiatry and, most recently, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease. Though challenging, application of this technology to anti-tuberculosis treatment could have substantial impact. The duration of treatment required for all forms of tuberculosis (TB) put existing regimens at risk of failure because of early discontinuations and treatment loss to follow-up. Long-acting injections, for example, administered every month, could improve patient adherence and treatment outcomes. We review the state of the science for potential long-acting formulations of existing tuberculosis drugs, and propose a target product profile for new formulations to treat latent tuberculous infection (LTBI). The physicochemical properties of some anti-tuberculosis drugs make them unsuitable for long-acting formulation, but there are promising candidates that have been identified through modeling and simulation, as well as other novel agents and formulations in preclinical testing. An efficacious long-acting treatment for LTBI, particularly for those co-infected with HIV, and if coupled with a biomarker to target those at highest risk for disease progression, would be an important tool to accelerate progress towards TB elimination.