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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