To test 2 interventions to improve adherence to isoniazid preventive therapy for tuberculosis in homeless adults. We compared (1) biweekly directly observed preventive therapy using a $5 monetary incentive and (2) biweekly directly observed preventive therapy using a peer health adviser, with (3) usual care at the tuberculosis clinic.
Randomized controlled trial in tuberculosis-infected homeless adults. Outcomes were completion of 6 months of isoniazid treatment and number of months of isoniazid dispensed.
A total of 118 subjects were randomized to the 3 arms of the study. Completion in the monetary incentive arm was significantly better than in the peer health adviser arm (P=.01) and the usual care arm (P=.04), by log-rank test. Overall, 19 subjects (44%) in the monetary incentive arm completed preventive therapy compared with 7 (19%) in the peer health adviser arm (P=.02) and 10 (26%) in the usual care arm (P=.11). The median number of months of isoniazid dispensed was 5 in the monetary incentive arm vs 2 months in the peer health adviser arm (P=.005) and 2 months in the usual care arm (P=.04). In multivariate analysis, independent predictors of completion were being in the monetary incentive arm (odds ratio, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.11-5.94) and residence in a hotel or other stable housing at entry into the study vs residence on the street or in a shelter at entry (odds ratio, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.00-5.47).
A $5 biweekly cash incentive improved adherence to tuberculosis preventive therapy compared with a peer intervention or usual care. Living in a hotel or apartment at the start of treatment also predicted the completion of therapy.