Research article |

Treatment outcomes for children with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Authors: Dena Ettehad BSc, H Simon Schaaf MD, James A Seddon MBBS, Graham S Cooke DPhil, Dr Nathan Ford PhD

This study concludes that treatment outcomes for children with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) are at least as good as for adults.

The study, which systematically reviewed all available data reporting outcomes for children with DR-TB found results to be very encouraging: overall the proportion of children achieving treatment success (82%) was found to be as good as, if not better than, that reported for adults (64%). Mortality was low (6%) but a substantial number of children (39%) experienced side effects to treatment. This points to the urgent need for more effective drugs, paediatric formulations of drugs, and a better understanding of the best possible dosing in children. Moreover, delays in starting treatment were common, underscoring the need for rapid, reliable, and affordable tuberculosis diagnostics for children.

Nevertheless, these results provide encouragement that successful outcomes can be achieved when treating children with DR-TB.