BACKGROUND: People with drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) are known to suffer from many mental-health disorders. This study aims to describe the proportion of patients diagnosed with psychiatric comorbidities, the different psychiatric diagnoses made, and treatment outcomes among DR-TB patients with or without psychiatric comorbidity and initiated on DR-TB treatment between January 2012 and March 2019 at Médecins Sans Frontières independent clinic in Mumbai, India.
METHODS: This is a retrospective study using routinely collected clinical data. DR-TB care included individualised treatment, psychosocial support, and integrated psychiatric care.
RESULTS: During the study period, 341 DR-TB patients were enrolled, with a median age of 25 years (IQR:20.0-36.5 years), 185 (54.2%) females, 143 (41.9%) with PreXDR-TB, and 140 (41.0%) with XDR-TB. All 341 patients were screened by a counsellor, 119 (34.9%) were referred for psychiatric evaluation, and 102 (29.9% of 341) were diagnosed with a psychiatric comorbidity. Among 102 diagnosed with a psychiatric comorbidity, 48 (47.0%) were diagnosed at baseline, and 86 (84.3%), or 25.2% of all 341 patients enrolled, were treated with psychotropic drugs. Depressive disorders were diagnosed in 49 (48.0%), mixed anxiety and depression in 24 (23.5%), neurocognitive disorders and anxiety in five (4.9%), and medication induced psychosis in two (2.0%). No anti-TB drugs were significantly associated with psychiatric comorbidities developed during treatment. Of 102 DR-TB patients with a psychiatric comorbidity, 75.5% (77) had successful DR-TB treatment outcomes, compared to 61.1% (146/239) not diagnosed with a psychiatric comorbidity (p = 0.014).
CONCLUSION: In our setting, among people started on DR-TB treatment, and with a complex TB resistance profile, about one in three patients experienced a psychiatric comorbidity, of which half developed this comorbidity during treatment. With comprehensive psychiatric care integrated into DR-TB care delivery, treatment outcomes were at least as good among those with psychiatric comorbidities compared to those without such comorbidities.