The effect of text messaging on latent tuberculosis treatment adherence: a randomised controlled trial

November 17, 2017

There is limited high-quality evidence available to inform the use of text messaging to improve latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) treatment adherence. This study was a parallel, randomised controlled trial at two sites to assess the effect of a two-way short message service (SMS) on LTBI adherence in British Columbia Canada. Participants were randomised in a 1:1 ratio to standard LTBI treatment (control) or standard LTBI treatment plus two-way weekly text messaging (intervention). The primary outcome was treatment completion, defined as taking >80% prescribed doses within 12 months (isoniazid) or 6 months (rifampin) of enrolment. Although this trial showed that a high proportion (>80%) of persons supported with WelTel completed their treatment regimen, there was not a statistically significant difference compared to the those in the control group. Other parameters such as the HRQoL and perceived healthcare communication also showed no improvement. There was a trend towards participants in the intervention arm contacting healthcare providers more frequently in relation to medication side effects and contacting the clinic less frequently regarding appointment confirmation/rescheduling, a finding that requires exploration. There were several limitations in this study well-described in the full-text article.


Johnston JC., van der Kop ML, Smillie K, Ogilvie G, Marra F, Sadatsafavi M, Romanowski K, Budd MA, Hajek J, Cook V.


European Respiratory Journal 2018 51: 1701488; DOI: 10.1183/13993003.01488-2017