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New Indian TB pill cuts short treatment time by half, claim PERD reseachers

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Saturday, June 5, 2010, 7:54 This news item was posted in health category and has 0 Comments so far.

A new pill developed by an Indian pharmaceutical research centre claims to cut short the long-duration tuberculosis treatment regimen by half.

The new pill uses the currently available drugs used against tuberculosis. However, they are prepared in a different manner so that their efficacy will be optimum for the patient.

Antibiotics rifampicin and isoniazid are the leading anti-TB drugs used to eradicate the chronic infection worldwide.

Rifampicin and isoniazid pills are usually given upto 6 to eighteen months continuously to weed out TB causing bacteria from the body. This create a lot of problems not only for the patients but also for the physicians because the long duration of the treatment regimen makes many people skip the drug.

Several patients even stops taking the medication once they feel ease of symptoms as the parasite begins to recede.

The tuberculosis bacteria, by nature, lurk deep in the body’s immune system and only through continuous treatment they can be brought out and inactivated. Otherwise they will again come back and multiply resulting in recurrence of the infection.

The researchers from B V Patel Pharmaceutical Educational and Research Development (PERD) Centre, in Ahmedabad has found a way to overcome these problems reducing the treatment period.

For that purpose, they have developed formulations of rifampicin and isoniazid with targeted delivery. Targeted delivery means whatever amount of drug is consumed by the patient would be reaching the `target’ the tuberculosis bacteria without much loss in its journey to reach the bug.

A pharmaceutical research centre here has developed a capsule for tuberculosis patients which it claims can reduce the treatment period by half.

“The capsule comprising new formulation of rifampacin and isoniazid is designed for targeted drug delivery in stomach and intestine respectively of the patients, and its initial trials have shown very encouraging results,” PERD Honorary Director, C J Shishoo was quoted as saying.

The experimental pill containing rifampacin and isoniazid has already been tested on 12 healthy volunteers in Ahmedabad to find out how much drug was reaching in their blood.

The capsule will soon undergo clinical trials at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

The new capsule will be tested on 50 realtime TB patients in a clinical trial scheduled to begin at AIIMS.

How is tuberculosis treated?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria whose scientific name is Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis usually can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

TB is treated with a combination of medications along with isoniazid. Rifampicin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide are the drugs commonly used to treat active TB in conjunction with isoniazid (INH).

Four drugs are often taken for the first two months of therapy to help kill any potentially resistant strains of bacteria.

Then the number is usually reduced to two drugs for the remainder of the treatment based on drug sensitivity testing that is usually available by this time in the course.

Streptomycin, a drug that is given by injection, may be used as well, particularly when the disease is extensive and/or the patients do not take their oral medications.

Treatment usually lasts for many months and sometimes for years.

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