pillsA study – “I can also serve as an inspiration” – a role for social media in supporting patients undergoing treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)” – was published this week in PLOS ONE by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

It highlights the potential for social media to support patients undergoing treatment for multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB). The qualitative research examined the experiences of patients and health staff involved in the ‘TB & ME’ collaborative blogging project for patients undergoing treatment for MDR and XDR TB around the world.

The current treatment for MDR-TB can take up to 2 years and has a low cure rate, which is partially because of serious side-effects that make adherence to the TB drugs challenging. Therefore, support for adherence to treatment remains a critical element to cure.

Participants in the MSF study reported that blogging was seen to help patients to continue with their treatment. The online audience led to bloggers feeling encouraged by their followers, wanting to set a positive example for others and provided a distraction from the long and difficult treatment.

No negative outcomes from taking part in the blogging project were mentioned by those involved in the study.

The full article can be read here:

The TB&Me blog can be accessed here: