Profile and Response to Anti-Tuberculosis Treatment among Elderly Tuberculosis Patients Treated under the TB Control Programme in South India

Citation: Velayutham BRV, Nair D, Chandrasekaran V, Raman B, Sekar G, et al. (2014) Profile and Response to Anti-Tuberculosis Treatment among Elderly Tuberculosis Patients Treated under the TB Control Programme in South India. PLoS ONE 9(3): e88045. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088045
Published: March 11, 2014

Abstract
Tuberculosis-x-ray-1Introduction: The demographic transition in India has resulted in an increase in the elderly population. There is limited data on the profile of elderly tuberculosis (TB) patients and their treatment outcomes in India.
Objective: To compare the clinical profile, presentation and response to anti-TB treatment among elderly (≥60 yrs) and younger (15–59 yrs) TB patients treated under the Revised National TB Control programme.
Methodology: Retrospective cohort analysis of TB patients treated from May 1999 to December 2004 in one Tuberculosis Unit of Tiruvallur district, South India.
Results: Records of 865 elderly and 4343 younger TB patients were examined: elderly were more likely to be male (84% vs. 71%), smokers (46% vs.37%), illiterate (63% vs. 45%), identified by active case finding through survey (19% vs. 11%), have pulmonary TB (96% vs. 91%) and initial smear negative disease (46% vs. 36%) compared to younger (for all p<0.001). Among a total of 352 elderly and 1933 younger new smear positive pulmonary TB, the elderly had higher loss to follow-up (15% vs. 11%; p = 0.03) and death rates (9% vs. 4%; p<0.001). Mycobacterium tuberculosis susceptibility to first line anti-TB drugs did not differ (elderly 87% vs. younger 84%) (p = 0.20). Side effects related to anti-TB drugs were reported by a higher proportion of elderly patients (63% vs. 54%) (p = 0.005). Previously treated patients had similar treatment outcomes in both the groups.
Conclusion: Elderly TB patients are less likely to have smear positive disease. Newly diagnosed elderly TB patients are more likely to be lost to follow-up or die and report drug side effects. Suitable interventions need to be developed for effective management and better treatment outcomes of TB in the elderly.
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