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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004 Nov 15;170(10):1124-30. Epub 2004 Sep 16.

A nested case-control study on treatment-related risk factors for early relapse of tuberculosis.

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Tuberculosis and Chest Service, Department of Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China.


This nested case-control study aimed at evaluating treatment-related risk factors of relapse of tuberculosis under a service program of directly observed treatment. Out of 12,183 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis who completed treatment within 1 year, 113 relapsed within 30 months after commencement of therapy. The overall 30-month relapse rate was 0.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.8-1.1%). On matching 113 cases with 226 control subjects in a conditional logistic model, thrice-weekly treatment increased the risk of relapse in comparison with daily treatment (odds ratio 3.92, 95% CI 1.78-8.63), whereas prolonging both intensive phase and overall treatment by 50% or more protected against relapse (odds ratio 0.24, 95% CI 0.08-0.70). When pretreatment culture was positive and cavitation was absent, the 30-month relapse rate for standard thrice-weekly regimen was 1.1% (95% CI 0.6-2.0%). The corresponding rates in the presence of cavitation were 7.8% (95% CI 4.0-14.6%) for standard thrice-weekly regimen; 3.3% (95% CI 1.9-5.5%) for standard daily regimen; 0.5% (95% CI 0.1-2.6%) for extended thrice-weekly regimen; and 0.4% (95% CI 0.1-0.9%) for extended daily regimen. Further studies are required to reduce the risk of relapse under program settings.

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