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Free Content Completing treatment for latent tuberculosis: patient background matters

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BACKGROUND: Treatment of latent infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis effectively reduces future activation and transmission of tuberculosis. However, patient adherence to preventive treatment influences its effectiveness. Treatment completion is commonly considered as a proxy for adherence.

OBJECTIVE: To identify factors associated with failure to complete preventive treatment.

DESIGN: Data from 415 consecutive patients who started preventive treatment at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, between 2002 and 2007 were collected and treatment completion was evaluated. Patients were classified as ‘completers’ or ‘non-completers’. Association between treatment completion status and patient characteristics was assessed using logistic regression.

RESULTS: Younger patients, patients originating from Somalia and asylum seekers were more likely to be non-completers. The proportion of completers increased from 71% in 2002 to 87% in 2007. However, this trend appears to be caused mostly by an increase in the proportion of European patients.

CONCLUSION: The finding of a low rate of treatment completion among Somalis should be regarded as a call for intervention on the individual patient level, also taking into account socio-cultural aspects such as perceptions of health care by the Somali community. Treatment completion continues to be of concern as it is not improving among risk populations.
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Keywords: Somalia; adherence; contacts; immigrant

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Infectious Diseases Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: 2013-05-01

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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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