BACKGROUND: Management of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) and pre-XDR-TB is challenging, as effective drugs are lacking. Group 5 anti-tuberculosis drugs have an unclear role in the treatment of drug-resistant TB, and in children the efficacy, safety and effects of long-term use are not well described. We present clinical outcomes and adverse effects of a cohort of children with XDR-TB or pre-XDR-TB treated with Group 5 drugs in Tajikistan. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of eight children treated with one or more of the Group 5 drugs available under the Tajikistan National TB Programme-linezolid, amoxicillin-clavulanate, clofazimine and clarithromycin-given in combination with first- and second-line drugs. Time to sputum culture conversion, clinical outcomes and adverse effects were evaluated. RESULTS: Two children were cured, one completed treatment, four achieved favourable interim outcomes and one died. Adverse effects attributable to linezolid that required drug cessation occurred in one child; adverse effects of the other Group 5 drugs were insignificant or absent, requiring no regimen changes. CONCLUSION: Group 5 drugs can contribute to effective regimens in children with XDR and pre-XDR-TB. With proper monitoring and aggressive management of adverse effects, their safety profile might be acceptable, even in long-term use.
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