The role of advanced generation macrolides in the prophylaxis and treatment of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infections.

Drugs

PubMedID: 9211081

Amsden GW, Peloquin CA, Berning SE. The role of advanced generation macrolides in the prophylaxis and treatment of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infections. Drugs. 1997;54(1):69-80.
Since the start of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic, the role of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) as an opportunistic pathogen in advanced AIDS patients has become more and more clear. Once identified in an advanced AIDS patient it is possible to find evidence that the MAC organism and infection is not only present in the pulmonary tree, but has also disseminated to a wide variety of body organs. Treatment of MAC or disseminated MAC (DMAC) infections has historically been very difficult due to the inherent resistance of the MAC pathogen to most standard antimycobacterial agents. This has resulted in the development of new agents for the prevention of DMAC infection as well as combinations of both new and standard agents for its treatment. Three drugs are currently approved for single-agent DMAC prophylaxis, including rifabutin, azithromycin and clarithromycin. Combinations of agents for DMAC treatment are highly variable in content but most experts agree that all combinations should contain one of the advanced generation macrolides (azithromycin or clarithromycin). Both of these agents have favourable intracellular pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics which maximise their effects against this mostly intracellular pathogen. Due to the paucity of comparative data, no one macrolide can be recommended over the other. However, the expected increase in compliance, lower weekly and annual costs, and lack of any drug interactions may make azithromycin a preferable choice, but this should be decided on a case-by-case basis.