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Free Content Completion of tuberculosis therapy for patients reported in the United States in 1993

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SETTING: The highest priority for tuberculosis (TB) control is to ensure patients complete therapy. However, standardized, detailed evaluation of national performance on completion of therapy in the United States has been lacking. Since 1982, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has had a program objective that at least 90% of TB cases complete therapy. Since 1986, the standard of practice for patients with drug-susceptible TB has been 6 months of therapy.

OBJECTIVE: To determine completion of therapy rates and duration of therapy for US TB patients reported in 1993.

DESIGN: Expanded TB surveillance data on all US TB patients reported to the CDC in 1993 with initial therapy of two or more drugs were analyzed with respect to completion and duration of therapy.

RESULTS: A disposition (reason therapy stopped) was obtained on 98.7% of 23489 treated patients. Overall, 91.2% of evaluable patients completed therapy. The overall completion rate at 12 months of therapy was 66.8%, and 90% completion was reached at 23 months. For patients with initially drug-susceptible TB, completion was 7.1% at 6 months, 66.5% at 12 months, and reached 90% at 22 months.

CONCLUSION: While completion rates ultimately exceeded 90% nationwide, there was considerable delay in reaching this objective, especially in patients with drug-susceptible TB. It is critical that health departments and health care providers identify and remedy any deficiencies responsible for prolonged therapy.
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Keywords: antitubercular agents; drug resistance; antimicrobial; program evaluation; treatment outcome; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Publication date: 1999-04-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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