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Interventions to improve adherence to tuberculosis treatment: systematic review and meta-analysis

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SETTING: One of the most serious problems in tuberculosis (TB) control is non-adherence to treatment. Several strategies have been developed to improve adherence and increase the cure rate.

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review interventions to improve adherence to anti-tuberculosis treatment.

DESIGN: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of 22 randomised clinical trials (RCTs) to ascertain whether providing directly observed treatment, short-course (DOTS), financial incentives, food incentives and/or patient education/counselling improved adherence to anti-tuberculosis treatment. The primary outcome was cure rate; secondary outcomes were default and mortality rates. Sources used were Medline (accessed via PubMed), Cochrane Central, LILACS (Literatura Latino Americana em Ciências da Saúde, Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature) and Embase from inception to October 2015.

RESULTS: A significant increase in cure rates, by 18% with DOTS and by 16% with patient education and counselling, was observed. In addition, the default rate decreased by 49% with DOTS, by 26% with financial incentives and by 13% with patient education and counselling. There was no statistically significant reduction in mortality rates with these interventions.

CONCLUSION: Use of DOTS and patient education/counselling significantly improved cure rates; DOTS, patient education/counselling and financial incentives led to a reduction in the default rate.

Keywords: adherence; intervention; review; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Programa de Pós Graduação em Ciências Pneumológicas, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul 2: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) 3: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Programa de Pós Graduação em Ciências Pneumológicas, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Publication date: July 1, 2018

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD) is for clinical research and epidemiological studies on lung health, including articles on TB, TB-HIV and respiratory diseases such as COVID-19, asthma, COPD, child lung health and the hazards of tobacco and air pollution. Individuals and institutes can subscribe to the IJTLD online or in print – simply email us at [email protected] for details.

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