Completion of treatment for latent tuberculosis infection with monthly drug dispensation directly through the tuberculosis clinic

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48900. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048900. Epub 2012 Nov 5.


Setting: An Australian metropolitan TB clinic where treatment for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) comprises six months of isoniazid, self-administered but dispensed monthly by the clinic.

Objective: To determine the proportion of patients who complete treatment for LTBI and to identify factors associated with non-completion.

Methods: Clinical files of all patients receiving treatment for LTBI between 01/2000 and 12/2010 were reviewed. The study population comprised all patients who were commenced on isoniazid as treatment for LTBI. Odds ratios (OR) for completing treatment were estimated by logistic regression.

Results: Of 216 patients who commenced isoniazid treatment for LTBI, 163 (75%) completed six months treatment [corrected]. Fifty-three percent of the 53 patients who did not complete treatment dropped out after three months treatment. The mean (SD) age of the patients was 27 (16) years and 123 (57%) were female. The majority of patients (59%) were born overseas and 69% received treatment for LTBI because they were contacts of patients with TB. Patients' sex, age, country of birth, time since immigration for overseas born people, health care worker status, TST conversion status, chest x-ray findings, language, employment status and the indication for which treatment of LTBI was prescribed were not significantly related to treatment completion.

Conclusion: In a setting where isoniazid is dispensed monthly by the TB clinic, a relatively high proportion of patients who commence treatment for LTBI complete the six month scheduled course of treatment. The study did not identify any patient characteristics that predicted treatment completion. Interventions to improve completion rates should extend over the whole duration of treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Antitubercular Agents / adverse effects
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Australia
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / adverse effects
  • Isoniazid / therapeutic use*
  • Latent Tuberculosis / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Pharmacies*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Isoniazid

Grant support

Claudia Dobler was supported by a University of Sydney Australian Postgraduate Award. The funders of the research scholarship had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.