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Diabetes may impair tuberculosis treatment response

Diabetes • • InfectionsAug 27, 07

Patients with tuberculosis and diabetes do not respond as well to tuberculosis therapy as those who are non-diabetic, Dutch researchers report.

The reason for this is unclear, but screening for and aggressively treating diabetes may improve the outcomes of patients receiving tuberculosis therapy, Dr. Reinout van Crevel, from Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, note in the current issue Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The findings stem from a study of 737 Indonesian patients with tuberculosis who were screened for type 2 diabetes, also referred to as adult-onset diabetes, and then followed while receiving tuberculosis therapy.

Overall, 14.8 percent of the subjects had diabetes. Despite initially having more symptoms, the patients with diabetes had tuberculosis that was comparable in severity to that in non-diabetics.

However, after 2 months of treatment, sputum test results were more likely to be positive in diabetic patients—18.1 percent vs. 10.0 percent in non-diabetics. At 6 months, the diabetes were still significantly more likely to have positive sputum test results than the non-diabetic patients, at 22.2 percent vs. 9.5 percent, respectively.

In a related editorial, Dr. Blanca I. Restrepo, from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, comments that the findings “highlight the need for further research aimed at understanding how the current global epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus is affecting tuberculosis control and prevention.”

SOURCE: Clinical Infectious Diseases, August 15, 2007.

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