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Latent Tuberculosis Therapy May Be Risky in the Elderly

Treated individuals over 65 at higher risk for serious adverse events requiring hospitalization

MONDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- People over the age of 65 appear to be at significantly increased risk for serious adverse events requiring admittance to a hospital when receiving therapy for latent tuberculosis, according to research published online Jan. 10 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Benjamin M. Smith, M.D., of McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues observed (for 18 months) 9,145 residents of Quebec receiving therapy for latent tuberculosis, each matched with two healthy controls, to estimate the risk of adverse events requiring hospitalization associated with latent tuberculosis infection therapy in the general population.

Of those receiving treatment for latent for tuberculosis, the researchers found that 45 (0.5 percent) were admitted to a hospital for hepatic complications, compared with 15 (0.1 percent) in the untreated group. The odds of hospitalization for hepatic events were significantly higher in people over 65 years of age receiving treatment than the matched untreated individuals in the same age group after adjustment for comorbidities (odds ratio, 6.4).

"The risk of adverse events requiring hospital admission increased significantly among patients over 65 years receiving treatment for latent tuberculosis infection. The decision to treat latent tuberculosis infection in elderly patients should be made after careful consideration of risks and benefits," the authors write.

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