Nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease (NTMLD) is a rare, progressive disease with an increasing incidence worldwide.
The aim of this retrospective study was to analyze the baseline characteristics and management of NTMLD in general and pneumologist practices in Germany.
This retrospective study included patients with a culture-confirmed diagnosis of NTMLD documented between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2019 by 125 general practitioners (GP) and 31 office-based pulmonologists from the IMS Disease Analyzer Database (IQVIA).
A total of 159 patients managed by German GPs (mean age 59 ± 19 years, 51% female) and 236 patients managed by pulmonologists (mean age 62 ± 14 years, 58% female) were analyzed. In total, 45% (72/159) and 40% (94/236) of patients managed by GPs and pulmonologists respectively received antibiotic therapy for NTMLD. This therapy lasted for ≥6 months in 42%, for ≥ 12 months in 24%, and ≥18 months in 8% of patients. The average therapy duration was longer in patients treated by pulmonologists (241 ± 196 days) than in patients treated by GPs (113 ± 152 days). A total of 27% of patients managed by GPs and 45% of those managed by pulmonologists respectively received guideline-based therapy (GBT), defined as combination therapy with macrolide (azi-/ clarithromycin) + ethambutol + rifabutin/rifampicin, at least once; however, almost all patients (100% in the GP group, 96% in the pulmonologist group) also received non-GBT regimens intermediately.
A considerable number of patients with NTMLD were not managed in accordance with the German guidelines and a substantial proportion also discontinue therapy prematurely. NTMLD management should be improved through appropriate referral pathways and collaboration between expert centers and primary or secondary care physicians.
Marko Obradovic is a Health Economics & Outcomes Research professional at Insmed. He has dedicated his career in supporting patient access to innovative medicines. He has been leading studies exploring how diseases and their management impact patients’ lives and healthcare systems. He holds a doctorate degree of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and currently lives in Germany.