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Free Content Treatment of new pulmonary tuberculosis patients: what do allopathic doctors do in India?

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SETTING: Out- and in-patient services of the Department of Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases at King George's Medical College, Lucknow, India.

OBJECTIVE: To analyse the prescribing patterns of allopathic doctors for treatment of new cases of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB), and to compare their practices with the current national and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.

DESIGN: A consecutive case series. Tuberculosis treatment practices of 449 primary doctors who had prescribed treatment for PTB to 218 patients were analysed.

RESULTS: Thirty-three different drug combination regimens were prescribed by 449 primary doctors. Approximately 45% (95%CI 41.5–49.9) of doctors did not practise the current NTP/WHO recommended drug regimens. Overall 75% (95%CI 70.4–78.8) of doctors made prescription errors with respect to one or more aspects of treatment, including treatment duration (64.5%) and drug dosages (30%). The most frequent prescription error was treatment for longer than necessary (60.2%; 95%CI 55.5–64.8). Overall, both chest specialists and non-chest specialists made prescription errors with almost equal frequency (77.5% vs. 72.2%, P = 0.228). The majority of the doctors (70.2%; 95%CI 65.7–74.5) used fixed-dose formulations of two to four drugs.

CONCLUSION: For effective tuberculosis control, strategies for targeted continuing medical education and auditing of the practices of all doctors need to be implemented without delay.

Keywords: India; pulmonary tuberculosis; treatment

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases, King George's Medical College, Lucknow, India 2: Postgraduate Department of Microbiology, King George's Medical College, Lucknow, India 3: Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, King George's Medical College, Lucknow, India

Publication date: 2002-10-01

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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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