Azithromycin and Cefixime Combination Versus Azithromycin Alone for the Out-patient Treatment of Clinically Suspected or Confirmed Uncomplicated Typhoid Fever in South Asia; a Randomised Controlled Trial
Typhoid and paratyphoid (enteric) fever affects more than 11 million children and adults globally each year including 7 million in South Asia. Up to 1% of patients who get typhoid may die of the disease and, in those that survive, a prolonged period of ill health and catastrophic financial cost to the family may follow. In the last 20 years, treatment of typhoid fever with a 7-day course of a single oral antimicrobial, such as ciprofloxacin, cefixime or azithromycin, given in an out-patient setting has led to patient recovery in 4 to 6 days without the need for expensive hospitalization. Increasing antimicrobial resistance in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, threatens the effectiveness of these treatments and increases the risk of prolonged illness and severe disease. The recent emergence of a particularly resistant typhoid strain in Pakistan, and subsequent international spread, adds urgency to this problem and Salmonella is now listed as a high (Priority 2) pathogen by world health organisation. Treatment with combinations of antimicrobials may be more effective for treating typhoid fever and mitigate the problems of resistance. This suggestion is based on expert opinion but not backed up by good quality evidence. The ACT-South Asia study aims to compare a combination of azithromycin and cefixime with azithromycin alone in the outpatient treatment of clinically suspected and confirmed uncomplicated typhoid fever. The total recruitment will be 1500 patients across sites in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. A placebo (sugar pill) will be used instead of cefixime in the single drug arm so that neither the patient nor the study team know which patient is receiving which treatment.Investigators will assess whether treatment outcomes are better with the combination after one week of treatment and at one and three month follow-up. Both antimicrobials are widely used and have excellent safety profiles. If the combination treatment is better than the single antibiotic treatment, this will be an important result for patients across South Asia and other typhoid endemic areas. This study will additionally investigate the financial implications for families and health system.
• A history of fever at presentation for ≥ 72 hours and a documented fever (≥37.5oC (axillary) or ≥38oC (oral))
• Age ≥ 2 years (and ≥ 10kg) to 65 years
• No clear focus of infection on initial clinical evaluation
• Malaria rapid Diagnostic test( RDT) negative; dengue nonstructural protein(NS) 1 RDT negative; scrub typhus RDT negative; c-reactive protein(CRP) rapid test ≥10 mg/L
• Able to take oral treatment
• Able to attend for follow-up and can be contacted by telephone
• Written fully informed consent to participate in the study including assent for children in addition to parental/legal guardian consent.