Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a potentially life-threatening infection. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) is considered as the first regimen for PCP prophylaxis according to several guidelines. The recommended prophylactic dose of TMP-SMX has been determined based on patients with normal renal function, but the appropriate dosage for patients undergoing hemodialysis is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of low-dose TMP-SMX in patients undergoing hemodialysis.
HIV-uninfected adult patients who were undergoing hemodialysis and administered TMP-SMX for PCP prophylaxis, were included, and divided into standard-dose (≥6 single strength (SS, TMP-SMX 80 mg/400 mg tablets/week) and low-dose groups (< 6 SS tablets/week). The endpoints were cumulative incidence of PCP and cumulative discontinuation rate of TMP-SMX due to adverse events. For comparison of the groups, we employed the chi-squared test for categorical variables and the Mann-Whitney U test for continuous variables. Risk factors for the endpoints were evaluated using the Cox Fine and Gray method.
The median age of the 81 patients included in the study was 67 years (IQR: 60–76 years), and 52 patients (64.2%) were men. No patients in either group developed PCP during the observation period. The yearly cumulative incidence of discontinuation was 12.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.027–0.29) in the low-dose group and 35.6% (95% CI: 0.20–0.52) in the standard-dose group (P = 0.019). The adjusted hazard ratio of the low-dose group compared to standard-dose group was 0.18 (95% CI: 0.04–0.86, P = 0.032).
None of the study patients developed PCP, and the cumulative discontinuation rate of TMP-SMX due to adverse events was significantly lower in the low-dose group compared to that in the standard-dose group (P = 0.032). These results indicate that low-dose TMP-SMX is an appropriate regimen to maintain a balance between PCP prophylaxis and prevention of adverse events due to TMP-SMX administration. These findings can guide health care professionals to determine TMP-SMX dosage when considering PCP prophylaxis for patients undergoing hemodialysis.