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Drugs. 1992 May;43(5):651-73.

Drug treatment of tuberculosis--1992.

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1
Department of Tuberculosis Control, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, California.

Abstract

The impact of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic has made tuberculosis an increasing worldwide problem, and the effectiveness of modern chemotherapy has been blunted by the high incidence of primary drug resistance, especially in developing countries. The prospect of finding new and highly effective drugs similar to isoniazid or rifampicin is dim, yet the maximum benefits from the existing drugs which are highly effective have not been received. A 6-month regimen of isoniazid plus rifampicin, supplemented by pyrazinamide during the first 2 months, for treatment of uncomplicated tuberculosis is highly effective and the regimen of choice. Ethambutol should be added if the risk of isoniazid resistance is increased. A regimen of isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide and streptomycin for 4 months provides effective defence against smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis. Re-treatment of multiple drug-resistant tuberculosis remains a difficult therapeutic problem. At least 3 drugs that the patient has never previously received, and that are effective according to laboratory susceptibility testing, must be used. Preventive therapy against tuberculosis is accomplished with isoniazid for 6 to 12 months, although rifampicin plus isoniazid for 3 months has been used in the United Kingdom with success. In a mouse model, rifampicin plus pyrazinamide for 2 months is more effective than isoniazid for 6 months as preventive treatment. Patient noncompliance with medication remains the biggest problem in tuberculosis control, and is a complex issue. It can only be resolved by multiple approaches. Intermittent directly observed short course chemotherapy is a major, but not the only, possible solution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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