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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2003 Apr;7(4):347-53.

Peripheral neuropathy associated with treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Massachusetts, USA.



To review the incidence and management of peripheral neuropathy in patients receiving therapy for MDR-TB.


A case series with retrospective chart review of 75 patients who initiated individualized therapy for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Lima, Peru, between 1 August 1996 and 31 January 1999.


All patients had confirmed MDR-TB and were receiving individualized therapy, comprised of an average of six drugs. Ten (13%) of these patients presented with symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, confirmed by electromyography. All symptoms were reported in the lower extremities, and all were sensory in nature. Median time to presentation from initiation of MDR-TB therapy was 9.1 months. No significant risk factors associated with development of peripheral neuropathy were identified. Management strategies depended on the severity of symptoms and included the treatment of contributing co-morbidities, medications for neuropathic pain, and adjustment of doses of possible offending agents. All patients responded to management; three patients were left with mild residual symptoms. Patients whose neuropathy resolved had symptoms for a median of 7 months.


Peripheral neuropathy was encountered in 13% of our cohort of MDR-TB patients. The diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy can be based on clinical presentation alone, and effective management of this side-effect is possible without sacrificing MDR-TB treatment efficacy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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