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Clin Infect Dis. 2018 Aug 1;67(4):600-605. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciy130.

Effects of Rifampin and Doxycycline Treatments in Patients With Uncomplicated Scrub Typhus: An Open-Label, Randomized, Controlled Trial.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.
Premedical Science, College of Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.



Doxycycline is currently the most frequently used treatment in patients with scrub typhus. However, doxycycline-resistant strains have been found, necessitating the development of a new treatment. Rifampin is known to be effective even for such strains. Our aim in this study was to compare the effects of rifampin and doxycycline treatment in patients with scrub typhus in areas in which resistance to doxycycline has not been reported.


Patients admitted to Chosun University Hospital and regional network hospitals between 2007 and 2009 with a body temperature ≥37.5°C and suspected to have scrub typhus were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups: a group administered doxycycline 100 mg twice daily for 5 days and a group administered rifampin 600 mg once daily for 5 days. For treatment outcomes, fever, headache, muscle ache, and rash clearance times were compared between the groups.


The rifampin and doxycycline groups showed equivalence in all treatment outcomes evaluated. The proportions of patients with fever clearance within 48 hours were similar between groups. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in the occurrence of side effects following drug administration between groups.


On the basis of the finding that equivalent treatment effects and safety were found in patient groups that received 600 mg of rifampin and 200 mg of doxycycline, respectively, for 5 days to treat scrub typhus, rifampin may be considered an alternative treatment to doxycycline.

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