Knowledge of tuberculosis-treatment prescription of health workers: a systematic review.

Research paper by Marieke J MJ van der Werf, Miranda W MW Langendam, Emma E Huitric, Davide D Manissero

Indexed on: 21 Dec '11Published on: 21 Dec '11Published in: European Respiratory Journal


Treating tuberculosis (TB) patients with inappropriate treatment regimens can lead to treatment failure and, thus, patients who have not been cured and/or to the development of (multi)-drug resistance. A systematic review was performed to assess the knowledge of appropriate TB drug regimens among all categories of healthcare workers (HCWs). In January 2011, MEDLINE, EMBASE and other databases were searched for relevant articles. Observational studies published as of the year 2000 that assessed HCW knowledge of TB treatment were selected. A treatment regimen, drug dosage or treatment duration was considered inappropriate if it was not recommended by national guidelines or by the World Health Organization (WHO). Of 1,896 studies, 31 were included from 14 different countries. No study was performed in Europe. In all studies, HCWs with inappropriate knowledge of treatment regimens (8-100%) or treatment duration (5-99%) were observed. The few studies providing detailed data showed that HCWs mainly reported giving treatment regimens with too many drugs and for too long. Knowledge of appropriate doses was also insufficient in most studies. The available studies show that there is a lack of knowledge of national or international TB treatment guidelines and recommendations. Generalisation of the findings to other settings and countries should be done with caution.