Objective: Low rates of completion of treatment for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) limit its usefulness as a strategy for elimination of tuberculosis (TB) in the United States. This retrospective cohort study assessed predictors of completion of LTBI treatment among patients seen at an urban United States TB clinic in 1998.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of acceptance and completion of LTBI treatment among patients first seen in a TB clinic in 1998 was performed.
Results: Of 2621 persons with a positive tuberculosis skin test (TST), 1723 were offered treatment and 1572 (91.2%) accepted. Of the 1572 who accepted, treatment was completed by 607 (38.6%). Of those persons who failed to complete treatment, 517/965 (54%) dropped out before the end of the first month of the course. Among 1375 persons under 35 years of age who initiated LTBI treatment, failure to complete was associated with birth in Haiti (OR=2.17, CI(95%) 1.49-3.17) or the Dominican Republic (OR=1.93, CI(95%) 1.08-3.43).
Conclusion: These results suggest that country-specific cultural and behavioral factors may contribute to failure to complete LTBI treatment, and that interventions to increase completion should focus on the first month after initiation.