The incidence of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (DR-TB) and the number of children treated with second-line drugs (SLDs) are increasing. However, limited amount of information is available regarding the use of SLDs in this population.
To describe the treatment of pediatric TB with SLDs and factors associated with use of SLDs in children with and without documented DR-TB, records of pediatric TB patients referred to a center in Italy from 2007 to 2018 were reviewed retrospectively.
Of 204 children diagnosed with active TB during the study period, 42 were treated with SLDs because of confirmed or probable drug resistance (42.8%), adverse reactions to first-line drugs (7.1%), central nervous system involvement (11.9%) or unconfirmed possible drug resistance (38.1%). There were no deaths or adverse reactions to SLDs reported. Treatment was successful in 85.2% children treated with first-line drugs and 92.9% children treated with SLDs. After adjusting for calendar period, the only factor associated with DR-TB was <2 years old [odds ratio (OR): 5.24 for <2 years vs. 5–18 years; P = 0.008]. Factors associated with treatment with SLDs were TB at 2 or more sites (OR: 11.30; P < 0.001), extrapulmonary TB (OR: 8.48; P < 0.001) or adverse reactions to first-line drugs (OR: 7.48; P = 0.002). No differences were noted in age or region of origin.
A substantial proportion of TB children were treated with SLDs. The main reason for using SLDs was failure of a first-line drug regimen, suggesting possible DR-TB and underestimation of DR-TB in children. The use of SLD regimens was associated with a high success rate and good tolerability profile.
From the Department of Health Sciences, Anna Meyer Children University Hospital, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.
Accepted for publication May 13, 2019.
Address for correspondence: Elena Chiappini, PhD, Anna Meyer Children’s University Hospital, Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 24, 50100, Florence, Italy. E-mail: email@example.com.