Treatment outcome of tuberculosis among Saudi nationals: role of drug resistance and compliance

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2003 Apr;9(4):289-94. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-0691.2003.00547.x.


Objective: Recent studies have demonstrated a high prevalence of multiresistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Saudi Arabia. In this study, we assessed the impact of this and other factors on the treatment outcome of tuberculosis among Saudi nationals.

Methods: We studied all patients (147 patients) with a culture-proven diagnosis of tuberculosis seen at the King Khalid National Guard Hospital (KKNGH), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from June 1993 to June 1999. Treatment outcome was classified as success or failure based on the clinical assessment, improvement or deterioration of chest X-rays, and results of follow-up sputum examination.

Results: Of the 147 patients, only 126 completed the follow-up program. Treatment was found to be successful in 102 (81.0%) and unsuccessful in 24 (19.0%) of these 126 patients. However, treatment success is much less (102/147; 69.4%) and failure is much higher (45/147; 30.6%) if the 21 patients who were lost to follow-up are regarded as treatment failures. The prevalence of poor compliance and multiply drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis were found to be significantly higher among those with treatment failure than among those in whom treatment was successful. There was no significant difference in treatment outcome between the different age groups. However, failure of treatment was observed to be more common (P < 0.001) among males (35 patients; 46.7%) than among females (10 patients; 13.9%). This could be explained mainly by the significantly higher prevalence of non-compliance among males (44%) than among females (15.3%). There were no significant differences in the symptoms, radiologic findings, clinical presentation (pulmonary versus extrapulmonary), social background or drug resistance between genders.

Conclusion: Successful treatment outcome among Saudi Nationals seen at the KKNGH in 1993-99 was below the rate recommended by the WHO, and failed treatment was associated with poor compliance, male gender and drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These results emphasize the importance of culture and sensitivity tests for Mycobacterium tuberculosis and close supervision of patients taking antituberculosis medications.

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Prevalence
  • Pyrazinamide / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rifampin / therapeutic use
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Treatment Refusal
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / epidemiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / microbiology


  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin