New drug trio treats TB
  • Tue, 07/24/2012 - 4:16pm

A two week study in South Africa demonstrated that a combination of drugs known as PA-824MZ was capable of wiping out a significant amount of harmful tuberculosis (TB) bacteria.

According to WebMD, TB is a bacterial infection that is most commonly located in the lungs. The infection can spread through lymph nodes and the bloodstream to any of the body’s organs. Patients who suffer from tuberculosis may experience no symptoms or a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • weight loss
  • fever
  • fatigue/lethargy
  • an overall unwell feeling
  • a cough with yellow-green or bloody mucus
  • difficulty breathing
  • night sweats
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest, back, and/or kidneys

PA-824MZ consists of three drugs. The first drug, PA 824, is new. The second, moxifloxacin, treats pneumonia. The third, pyrazinamide, has been used to treat TB in the past.

According to The Times of India, the combination-drug was effective against typically drug-resistant TB.

In addition to the short two-week study conducted in South Africa, a two-month study of a greater number of patients is being arranged in South Africa, Tanzania and Brazil.

PA-824MZ will be much more cost-effective than typical methods to treat drug-resistant TB, and treatment using the combination will take less time: two weeks rather than six months.

Since tuberculosis can be either active or inactive, health professionals suggest different treatments. According to WebMD, when treating active TB, health care professionals suggest:

  • A typical treatment of four medications taken for two months in order to prevent multidrug-resistant TB
  • treatment for 4 to 9 months or longer
  • having a health care professional present each time you take your medication
  • using a different combination of medications if the patient doesn’t show signs of improvement.

According to WebMD, when treating inactive TB, health professionals recommend:

  • taking one medication (isoniazid) to eliminate TB bacteria for six to nine months to prevent active TB
  • an alternative treatment of rifampin for four months if you have been exposed to isoniazid-resistant  bacteria.

About the Contributor

Kaitlin Gill
I report on news regarding product safety concerns for individuals and families.

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