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Mycobacterium Xenopi Medication

  • Author: Mansoor Arif, MD, MBBS; Chief Editor: Mark R Wallace, MD, FACP, FIDSA  more...
Updated: Oct 07, 2015

Medication Summary

Optimal therapy for M xenopi is not established. Response to therapy varies and does not always correlate with the results of in vitro susceptibility testing. Physicians use combination therapy, with 2-4 drugs prescribed from several months to up to 18 months. M xenopi disease should always be treated with at least 2 active drugs because single-drug therapy increases the probability of acquired resistance.



Class Summary

Therapy must be comprehensive and cover all likely pathogens in the context of the clinical setting.

Clarithromycin (Biaxin)


Probably most important drug. To avoid development of resistance, should not be used as monotherapy. Inhibits bacterial growth, possibly by blocking dissociation of peptidyl tRNA from ribosomes, causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest.

Ethambutol (Myambutol)


Probably second most important drug. Diffuses into actively growing mycobacterial cells (eg, tubercle bacilli). Impairs cell metabolism by inhibiting synthesis of one or more metabolites, which in turn causes cell death. No cross-resistance demonstrated. Mycobacterial resistance is frequent with previous therapy. Use in these patients in combination with second-line drugs that have not been administered previously. Administer q24h until permanent bacteriologic conversion and maximal clinical improvement is observed. Absorption is not altered significantly by food.

Rifabutin (Mycobutin)


Ansamycin antibiotic derived from rifamycin S. Inhibits DNA-dependent RNA polymerase, preventing chain initiation in susceptible strains of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis but not in mammalian cells. If GI upset, administer dose bid with food.



For treatment of susceptible mycobacterial infections. Use in combination with other antituberculous drugs (eg, isoniazid, ethambutol, rifampin). Total period of treatment for tuberculosis is minimum of 1 y; however, indications for terminating therapy may occur at any time. Recommended when less potentially hazardous therapeutic agents are ineffective or contraindicated.

Rifampin (Rifadin)


Probably an important drug for treatment. For use in combination with at least 1 other antituberculous drug. Inhibits DNA-dependent bacteria but not mammalian RNA polymerase. Cross-resistance may occur.

Azithromycin (Zithromax)


Similar to clarithromycin but may allow once-per-wk dosing.

Levofloxacin (Levaquin)


For treatment of tuberculosis in combination with rifampin and other antituberculosis agents.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Mansoor Arif, MD, MBBS Chief Medical Resident, Department of Internal Medicine, Mount Auburn Hospital

Mansoor Arif, MD, MBBS is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, Massachusetts Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Syed Faisal Mahmood, MBBS Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases, Program Director, Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program, Department of Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Aaron Glatt, MD Chief Administrative Officer, Executive Vice President, Mercy Medical Center, Catholic Health Services of Long Island

Aaron Glatt, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American Association for Physician Leadership, American College of Physicians, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Medical Association, American Society for Microbiology, American Thoracic Society, American Venereal Disease Association, Infectious Diseases Society of America, International AIDS Society, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Mark R Wallace, MD, FACP, FIDSA Clinical Professor of Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine; Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Central Florida College of Medicine

Mark R Wallace, MD, FACP, FIDSA is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, International AIDS Society, Florida Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Martin Backer, MD Fellow in Combined Adult and Pediatric Infectious Diseases, State University of New York Health Sciences Center

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Wesley W Emmons, MD, FACP Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University; Consulting Staff, Infectious Diseases Section, Department of Internal Medicine, Christiana Care, Newark, DE

Wesley W Emmons, MD, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and International AIDS Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Sailaja Kolli, MD Fellow, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, The Brooklyn Hospital Center

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Klaus-Dieter Lessnau, MD, FCCP Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine; Medical Director, Pulmonary Physiology Laboratory; Director of Research in Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Medicine, Section of Pulmonary Medicine, Lenox Hill Hospital

Klaus-Dieter Lessnau, MD, FCCP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Thoracic Society, and Society of Critical Care Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Larry I Lutwick, MD Professor of Medicine, State University of New York Downstate Medical School; Director, Infectious Diseases, Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Health Care System, Brooklyn Campus

Larry I Lutwick, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians and Infectious Diseases Society of America

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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