The CDC announced today a new treatment for TB which takes one-third the time of current therapy. It also offers an effective treatment option for many patients at high risk for developing TB. Latent TB infections result from exposure to TB, without the contagion and illness caused by the disease itself.
Up to now, the regimen for latent TB infection was daily doses of a drug called isoniazid (INH). A total of 270 daily doses were taken over the course of nine months to eradicate the bacteria, which can lie dormant in the body for years. The new therapy is just twelve doses, given once-weekly, of INH combined with another TB drug called rifapentine was as effective. The shorter, weekly combination therapy is safe and effective, but perhaps the most important finding was the new therapy improved compliance by at least 10 percent.
The study was done in 8000 patients over 10 years to come up with this new treatment plan for TB.
Most people who develop symptoms of a TB infection first became infected in the past. However, in some cases, the disease may become active within weeks after the primary infection. Symptoms include: cough, coughing up blood, sweats, fatigue, fever, unexplained weight loss, chest pain, difficulty breathing and wheezing. 7% of patients die from TB and with drug-resistant forms of TB it raises it to 50%.