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Singapore Med J. 2010 Dec;51(12):957-62.

Randomised controlled trial of food supplements in patients with newly diagnosed tuberculosis and wasting.

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Department of Community Medicine, Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences, Chinoutpalli, Gannavaram Mandal, Krishna District 521286, Andhra Pradesh, India.



Wasting is the cardinal feature of tuberculosis, but not much documentary evidence supporting food supplements exists. This study was done to assess the effects of food supplements on body weight, physical function, quality of life and treatment outcomes in patients with tuberculosis and wasting.


The study was conducted in 30 Anganwadi centres of 16 villages in the catchment area of Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation and the Gannavaram Directly Observed Treatment Short Course chemotherapy centre from August 2005 to December 2005. A total of 100 patients participated in the study. Patients who were started on anti-tubercular therapy within the previous two weeks were randomly assigned to either the control or the food supplement group. At the end of three months, their body weight was measured and physical function and quality of life were assessed. Treatment outcomes were assessed at the one-year follow-up for both groups.


Patients who received supplements had a significant increase in body weight (8.6 percent versus 2.6 percent, p-value less than 0.001) and maximum grip strength (p-value less than 0.001), a higher sputum conversion rate (p-value is 0.039), a higher treatment completion rate (p-value is 0.031) and improvements in the quality of life scores.


Intake of food supplements resulted in a definitive increase in body weight and physical function in our study sample. Improvements can be observed in all areas, including psychologically, physiologically, socially and in the treatment outcomes.

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