Indexed on: 05 Aug '17Published on: 05 Aug '17Published in: Public health action
Setting: India has one of the highest global rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), which is associated with poor treatment outcomes. A better understanding of the risk factors for unfavourable outcomes is needed. Objectives: To describe 1) the demographic and clinical characteristics of MDR-TB patients registered in three states of India during 2009-2011, 2) treatment outcomes, and 3) factors associated with unfavourable outcomes. Design: A retrospective cohort study involving a record review of registered MDR-TB patients. Results: Of 788 patients, 68% were male, 70% were aged 15-44 years, 90% had failed previous anti-tuberculosis treatment or were retreatment smear-positive, 60% had a body mass index < 18.5 kg/m(2) and 72% had additional resistance to streptomycin and/or ethambutol. The median time from sputum collection to the start of MDR-TB treatment was 128 days (IQR 103-173). Unfavourable outcomes occurred in 40% of the patients, mostly from death or loss to follow-up. Factors significantly associated with unfavourable outcomes included male sex, age ⩾ 45 years, being underweight and infection with the human immunodeficiency virus. Adverse drug reactions were reported in 24% of patients, with gastrointestinal disturbance, psychiatric morbidity and ototoxicity the most common. Conclusion: Long delays from sputum collection to treatment initiation using conventional methods, along with poor treatment outcomes, suggest the need to scale up rapid diagnostic tests and shorter regimens for MDR-TB.