Patients over 65 face added TB risks

According to a large population study from Canada, patients over the age of 65 who are being treated for tuberculosis have an increased risk of suffering serious adverse effects.

The study, conducted on more than 9,000 residents of Quebec province, demonstrated that those started on isoniazid or rifampin for latent TB had 2.7 extra hospital visits per 100 patients than those matched with untreated residents, according to

While patients from all age groups had a greater risk of serious adverse effects if they underwent treatment for latent TB, the risk was most pronounced in patients over the age of 65.

"These estimates could be useful for a re-analysis of the risks and benefits of therapy for latent tuberculosis infection in the elderly, which could influence recommendations for therapy in this group," the researchers wrote, according to "In the absence of such an analysis, our data suggest that the risks of therapy for latent tuberculosis infection are considerable among the elderly and should be considered very carefully before therapy is given."

Dick Menzies, the study’s primary author, told  that the decision to treat a latent TB infection must be balanced with the likelihood of seeing an adverse reaction and active TB.