PURPOSE: For more than three decades, treatment of patients with latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (LTBI) to prevent the development of active disease has been an essential component of tuberculosis (TB) control in the United States. The survey assesses the attitude amongst physicians towards self treatment.
METHODS: A questionnaire was prepared and medical housestaff and attendings were asked to fill it out voluntarily and anonymously. Latent TB was defined as subjects with positive PPD and normal chest x-ray. The questionnaire had eight questions enquiring about the reasons for not taking treatment for latent TB. 87 responses were received. The data were then analyzed using SPSS software.
RESULTS: RESULTS:Out of 87 respondents 72 (82.75%) were residents. 60% of total respondents (N=42) had latent TB. Among the ones with latent TB 78.57% (N=33) did not take treatment. Interestingly 80.95% (N=34) of physicians who were PPD negative said that they would take treatment if they become PPD positive in future. Many responders had more than one reason for not taking treatment. Common reasons for not taking treatment included side effects of isoniazid (72.72%, N=24), long treatment course (36.36% N=12), history of BCG vaccination (36.36% N=12) and less chance of converting to active TB (27.27% N=9). 97.7% (N=85) of all responders said they would recommend treatment to their patients with Latent TB.
CONCLUSION: Our survey indicated that physicians were less likely to treat themselves for latent TB. Side effects and long duration of therapy are common causes.Paradoxically the physicians who were PPD negative said that they would take treatment if become positive.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Physicians are reluctant to self-treat themselves for latent TB. At the same time they will recommend treatment to their patients. In such a case it remains to be seen how firmly would they convince their patients for treatment for latent TB.
DISCLOSURE: Mehandi Haran, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information