A tuberculosis cure was first developed more than 50 years ago. In over 90 percent of patients, tuberculosis can be cured with appropriate treatment, which consists of taking several different antibiotic drugs for 6 to 12 months. A tuberculosis cure relies on close cooperation between the patient and doctor in order to make sure that the right amount of medicine is taken for the right amount of time.
An Introduction to the Tuberculosis Cure
In more than nine of out of ten patients, tuberculosis can be cured with appropriate treatment. Treatment for tuberculosis usually combines several different antibiotic drugs that are given for at least six months, sometimes for as long as 12 months. A tuberculosis cure relies on close cooperation between the patient and doctor and other healthcare workers in order to make sure that the right amount of medicine is taken for the right amount of time. If too little medicine is taken, or the right amount is taken for a shorter period of time, a cure is less likely. Furthermore, there is a greater chance a person will develop drug-resistant TB, a condition that is more difficult to cure.
Current Tuberculosis Cure
The most common medicications used to treat active tuberculosis include:
- * Isoniazid (INH)
- * Rifampin (RIF)
- * Ethambutol
- * Pyrazinamide.
For a person with latent tuberculosis, a cure usually comes after at least 6 months of treatment with isoniazid.
Tuberculosis Cure in the Developing World
Although a tuberculosis cure was developed more than 50 years ago, TB continues to kill between 2 and 3 million people every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 36 million people will die of tuberculosis by 2020 if it is not controlled. Eight million people develop active tuberculosis every year, nearly 98 percent of whom live in the developing world.
Drugs exist to cure most types of tuberculosis, but safe, consistent access to them continues to be a problem. Drug resistance, formed usually as a result of partial or inconsistent treatment, is a growing challenge. Resistant strains of TB can only be treated by approaches that are much more expensive to administer and more toxic to the patient.
Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis Cure
Some people with TB do not get better with tuberculosis treatment because their disease is caused by a TB strain that is resistant to one or more of the standard tuberculosis medicines. This is known as drug-resistant TB or multidrug-resistant TB. These forms of tuberculosis are much more difficult to cure.
Treatment for drug- or multidrug-resistant TB often requires the use of special tuberculosis medications, all of which can produce serious side effects. To cure drug-resistant types of tuberculosis, patients may have to take several antibiotics (the bacteria must respond to at least 3 of them) every day for up to two years. However, even with this treatment, between 4 and 6 out of every 10 patients will die.