Nutritional Care and Support of Patients With Tuberculosis in India

LetsTalkTB_1Authors: Dr Anurag Bhargava, MD, MSc and Dr Madhavi Bhargava, MD
Number of pages: 8
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Overview: Nutritional care is considered fundamental to clinical practice and recognised to be an integral part of TB care, by the WHO and the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme(RNTCP). Undernutrition is a comorbidity which is widely prevalent, severe, and persistent even after cure in Indian patients, in the absence of nutritional support. This increases their risk of mortality, drug-induced hepatotoxicity, malabsorption of key drugs like rifampicin, performance status, and relapse even after successful treatment. Providers need to assess weight, height, edema, estimate BMI & measure haemoglobin. BMI < 14 kg/m2, edema, severe anaemia, inability to stand, are red-flag features which mandate referral for initial inpatient care. Patients should be counselled on an appropriate balanced diet with 3 meals and at least 2 snacks. The RNTCP has evolved food assistance packages consisting of cereals, groundnuts or pulses, milk powder or oil for provision of around 1000 calories and up to 50 gram proteins to patients during treatment, suggests provision of 1 recommended daily allowance of micronutrients and an enhanced quantum of food rations through the public distribution system to TB affected households.

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Nutritional Care and Support of Patients With Tuberculosis in India

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Monitoring and Improving Adherence to Tuberculosis Medications

LetsTalkTB_1Authors: Ramnath Subbaraman, MD, MSc, FACP and Amrita Daftary, PhD, MPH
Number of pages: 10
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Overview: Today, about 10% to 50% of all TB patients in India fail to complete treatment, depending on the type of TB the patient has. The consequences of poor adherence to TB treatment are disastrous, increasing the risk of patient morbidity and mortality, disease relapse, drug-resistance, and transmission of TB. While the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) has long relied upon direct observation of therapy (DOT) for TB patients, this monitoring strategy requires greater resources than are available to most GPs. New technologies for monitoring medication adherence—including cellphone-based strategies and electronic pillboxes—may soon become available to GPs in parts of India and provide alternative strategies for monitoring pill-taking by patients in real time. Once a GP identifies medication non-adherence, she or he should screen for and address toxicities from TB medications, poor nutrition and other comorbidities (e.g., HIV, diabetes), psychosocial barriers (e.g., depression, stigma, substance use disorders) and poor treatment literacy that could be contributing to non-adherence. Improving TB medication adherence therefore requires an interdisciplinary approach.

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Monitoring and Improving Adherence to Tuberculosis Medications

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10 Principles For Effective Management of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

LetsTalkTB_1Authors: Dr Zarir F. Udwadia, MD, FRCP (London), FCCP (USA)
Number of pages: 3
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Overview: Multidrug-resistant (MDRTB) and extensively drugresistant TB (XDR-TB) are demanding conditions to treat and are best managed by a specialist with experience in treating such severe forms of TB. Even in the best hospitals, under optimal conditions, global treatment success rates are in the vicinity of 60% for MDR-TB and 44% for XDR-TB. Errors in treatment amplify resistance and convert MDR strains to XDR-TB and beyond. The 10 principles outlined here maximise the chances of successful outcome.

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Adverse Drug Events With Anti TB Therapy

Authors: Kavitha Saravu, MD, DNB, DTM&H; Madhukar Pai, MD, PhD
Number of pages: 6
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Overview: The success of tuberculosis treatment rests on multidrug antituberculosis therapy at least for six months. During the prolonged course of therapy, patients and providers may confront many adverse drug events (ADE). While minor ADE are common, some are rare and potentially life threatening. Hence it becomes obligatory for the providers to anticipate ADE during therapy, and take necessary measures when ADE occur. The common adverse events are mild elevation of liver enzymes, skin rash, gastrointestinal intolerance, neuropathy and arthralgia and can be managed symptomatically without discontinuation of the offending drugs. Serious adverse events are severe hepatitis, Steven Johnson syndrome, immune thrombocytopenia, agranulocytosis, hemolysis, renal failure, optic neuritis and ototoxicity. These warrant immediate stoppage of drugs and in some cases contraindicate re-challenge. Single most important factor to prevent adverse patient outcomes in terms of severe/chronic disease or fatality is prompt recognition of ADE, discontinuation of the probable drug/s with appropriate evaluation and management. Patients must be educated about symptoms of adverse events and asked to report them promptly. Prevention of monotherapy during the management of ADE is critical to prevent emergence of drug resistant TB.

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Adverse Drug Events With Anti TB Therapy

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Call To Action For A TB-Free India

Authors: Kavita Ayyagari, MA and Jamhoih Tonsing, MBBS, DPM, MSc—Authors
Number of pages: 2
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Overview: The Call to Action for a TB-Free India echoes WHO’s ‘End TB Strategy’ and calls for the country to intensify TB care and prevention efforts to end TB in India. The vision of the End TB Strategy is A World free of TB: Zero TB deaths, Zero TB disease, and Zero TB suffering.

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What Counselling and Support Do Patients With Tuberculosis Need?

Authors: Indira Behara, MBBS, MPH; Karishma Saran, MSc; Aasit G. Nanavati, MPH; Deepti Chavan Musale, Patient Advocate—Authors
Number of pages: 4
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Overview: Persons affected by tuberculosis and their family members should be counselled at every opportunity, to address information gaps and to enable informed decision-making. Counselling should also address issues such as healthcare, physical, financial, psycho-social and nutritional needs. The objective of counselling is to meet the needs and ensure the rights of the patient. The objective is also to support the patient where possible to overcome barriers to successful treatment. During counselling, patients need to be informed about TB, how the disease spreads, signs and symptoms, consequences of not following treatment guidelines, why treatment is long and why completion of treatment is critical, likely adverse events during therapy, and cost involved in treatment and what free/public services are available to patients. Patients need to be told that TB is a fully curable and treatable disease. We must use patient centred approaches, and recognize that all TB patients deserve a minimum package of holistic TB care services that are not restricted to diagnosis and pharmacological treatment, but include counselling and support services as well.

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Management of Tuberculosis: 10 Common Pitfalls To Avoid

Authors: Srinath Satyanarayana, MD—co-author; Madhukar Pai, MD, PhD—Author and Series Editor
Number of pages: 3
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Overview: Indian TB patients get diagnosed after a delay of nearly two months, and are seen by 3 different providers before a diagnosis is made. At the primary care level, patients rarely get investigated for TB, even when they present with classic TB symptoms. Instead, providers give broad-spectrum antibiotics (e.g., fluoroquinolones) and remedies such as cough syrups and steroids. Even when TB is considered likely, private physicians tend to order tests that are non-specific, such as complete blood count, ESR, Mantoux test, and chest X-rays. They rarely seek microbiological confirmation via sputum smear microscopy, culture or polymerase chain reaction tests. Even if the diagnostic hurdle is overcome, TB treatment in the private sector is far from standard. When private practitioners initiate anti-TB treatment, they tend to use drug regimens that are not recommended by WHO or the International Standards of TB Care. Furthermore, private practitioners often fail to ensure treatment completion, and provide adherence support to their patients. This article discusses the 10 most common pitfalls that doctors should avoid. Addressing these pitfalls should great improve the quality of TB care in India.

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Childhood Tuberculosis: Q&A For Primary Care Physicians

Authors: Madhukar Pai, MD, PhD—Author and Series Editor
Number of pages: 3
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Overview: GPs frequently see children in their clinical practice, and should be alert to the possibility of pediatric TB, especially in malnourished children. Children with TB often present with vague, non-specific symptoms, and this makes it hard to suspect and diagnose TB. Symptoms could include chronic fever, cough, weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, failure to gain weight, and lymph node enlargement. History of contact with an adult with TB is therefore a very important component of history that should be elicited. There is no adequate gold standard test for childhood TB, and diagnosis requires multiple tests. Smears for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) are often negative because of the low numbers of AFB in childhood TB. Therefore, liquid culture and molecular tests (Xpert MTB/RIF) will be most helpful, along with signs, symptoms, chest radiology, evidence of TB infection (e.g. positive Mantoux skin test), and history of contact with active TB. All children who have not been treated previously and do not have other risk factors for drug resistance should receive a WHO-approved first-line treatment regimen for a total of 6 months. The initial phase should consist of two months of isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide and ethambutol. The continuation phase should consist of isoniazid and rifampicin given for 4 months. Daily treatment is preferable to intermittent therapy. Drug dosages are calculated according to weight (not age). Adherence to the full course of anti-TB therapy is very important to ensure high cure rates. In general, children tolerate first-line anti-TB therapy very well with low risk of toxicity.

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Management of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: Q&A for Primary Care Physicians

Authors: Sujeet Rajan, MD—co-author
Madhukar Pai, MD, PhD—Author and Series Editor
Number of pages: 5
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Overview: Drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) is a serious and growing threat in India, especially in urban areas such as Mumbai. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is resistance to two of the most important first-line anti-TB drugs – isoniazid and rifampicin. Some patients develop more severe forms of DR-TB. Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) is resistance to isoniazid and rifampicin, plus any fluoroquinolone, and at least one of 3 injectable second-line drugs (i.e., amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin). DR-TB occurs when patients fail to complete first-line drug therapy, have relapse, or newly acquire it from another person with DR-TB. If patients have any risk factors for drug-resistance, or live in a high MDR-TB prevalence area (e.g., Mumbai city), or do not respond to standard drug therapy, they must be investigated for MDR-TB using drug-susceptibility tests (DST) like GeneXpert, line probe assays, and liquid cultures. MDR-TB requires long-term and specialized treatment. So, patients should be referred to specialists, either in the private sector, or in the public sector where free MDR treatment is available. This Q&A covers commonly asked questions by the primary care doctor about identification and referral of patients with suspected or confirmed DR-TB.

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Management of HIV and TB: What Every GP Should Know

Authors: Faiz Ahmad Khan, MD, MPH—co-author
Madhukar Pai, MD, PhD—Author and Series Editor
Number of pages: 6
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Overview: Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in people living with HIV (PLWH). The epidemiologic link between HIV and TB is strong even in a low HIV prevalence country such as India
– hence all Indian physicians that see patients with suspected or confirmed TB should understand how to approach TB diagnosis and treatment among PLWH, even if they are not working in a community where HIV infection is common. This article provides general practitioners with a concise and practical overview of TB screening, prevention, diagnosis and treatment, in PLWH.

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Management of HIV and Tuberculosis: What Every GP Should Know

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