Setting: Resistance to the two key anti-tuberculosis drugs isoniazid and rifampicin is a characteristic of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). MDR-TB is a scourge requiring toxic, prolonged treatment and is associated with poor outcomes. The Netherlands is a country with a long-standing, integrated, well-resourced TB service where all patients are offered culture-confirmed diagnosis by a central reference laboratory.
Objective: To assess the treatment outcomes of MDR-TB patients over a period of 10 years in The Netherlands.
Design: Demographic, clinical and microbiological features of all patients with MDR-TB who started treatment in 2000-2009 in the Netherlands were analysed from national registry and patient records.
Results: Characteristics of the 113 MDR-TB patients were as follows: male/female ratio 1.57, 96% foreign born, median age 29 years, 96 (85%) pulmonary TB, 56 (50%) smear-positive, 14 (12%) human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) co-infected. Of the 104 (92%) patients who started MDR-TB treatment, 86% had a successful outcome using a median of six active drugs; eight underwent pulmonary surgery. HIV negativity was associated with successful outcome (adjusted OR 2.1, 95%CI 1.1-3.8).
Conclusion: High success rates for MDR-TB treatment were achieved with close collaboration of all stakeholders, reaching the targets set for drug-susceptible TB. HIV remained an independent risk factor for unsuccessful treatment outcome.