Background In Africa, fewer than half of patients receiving therapy for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB) are successfully treated, with poor outcomes reported for HIV-coinfected patients.
Methods A standardised second-line drug (SLD) regimen was used in a non-governmental organisation–Ministry of Health (NGO-MOH) collaborative community and hospital-based programme in Ethiopia that included intensive side effect monitoring, adherence strategies and nutritional supplementation. Clinical outcomes for patients with at least 24 months of follow-up were reviewed and predictors of treatment failure or death were evaluated by Cox proportional hazards models.
Results From February 2009 to December 2014, 1044 patients were initiated on SLD. 612 patients with confirmed or presumed MDR TB had ≥24 months of follow-up, 551 (90.0%) were confirmed and 61 (10.0%) were suspected MDR TB cases. 603 (98.5%) had prior TB treatment, 133 (21.7%) were HIV coinfected and median body mass index (BMI) was 16.6. Composite treatment success was 78.6% with 396 (64.7%) cured, 85 (13.9%) who completed treatment, 10 (1.6%) who failed, 85 (13.9%) who died and 36 (5.9%) who were lost to follow-up. HIV coinfection (adjusted HR (AHR): 2.60, p<0.001), BMI (AHR 0.88/kg/m2, p=0.006) and cor pulmonale (AHR 3.61, p=0.003) and confirmed MDR TB (AHR 0.50, p=0.026) were predictive of treatment failure or death.
Conclusions We report from Ethiopia the highest MDR TB treatment success outcomes so far achieved in Africa, in a setting with severe resource constraints and patients with advanced disease. Intensive treatment of adverse effects, nutritional supplementation, adherence interventions and NGO-MOH collaboration were key strategies contributing to success. We argue these approaches should be routinely incorporated into programmes.
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