Measurements fail to identify TB patients who could benefit from shorter treatment course

Jun 30, 2009

Tuberculosis (TB) is a difficult infection to treat and requires six months of multiple antibiotics to cure it. To combat the TB pandemic, a shorter and simpler drug treatment would be a huge advance since most TB occurs in resource-limited settings with poor public health infrastructures.

Testing whether two simple clinical measurements might help identify which TB patients could benefit from shorter treatment, researchers at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center report that these measurements failed to work in a study published online by the .

The two measurements were absence of a cavity (an abscess caused by TB) in the lungs (detected by chest X-ray) and failure to grow from the sputum once drug treatment was started (sputum culture conversion). The Phase III clinical trial involved TB patients in Uganda (Africa), Brazil (S. America) and the Philippines (Asia) and was conducted by the Research Unit (TBRU) at Case Western Reserve University and UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland, the only National Institutes of Health supported TB unit in the U.S.

"We found that combining these two clinical measurements failed to select TB patients who could benefit from shorter drug treatment. TB patients receiving four months of TB treatment had their disease come back much more often than those who got six months of drug treatment," said W. Henry Boom, M.D., an infectious disease expert with Case Western Reserve University and UH Case Medical Center and Director of the TBRU. "This study points out the limitations of current clinical measures to identify the relatively small group of TB patients who respond poorly to standard drug treatment."

"To better identify risk factors for why treatment fails in a subset of TB patients will require novel approaches and further research so that we can determine quickly (not having to wait for two years after completing six months of drug treatment to measure relapses) not only the effectiveness of new TB drugs or regimens but also who will benefit most from these shortened and simplified TB treatment regimens," added John L. Johnson, MD, first author of the study and an infectious disease expert with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and UH Case Medical Center.

Source: University Hospitals Case Medical Center

Explore further: West Africa's Ebola outbreak prompts changes in I.Coast cuisine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers urge integrating TB into HIV care

Jul 22, 2008

In resource-limited settings where tuberculosis is a major cause of mortality among HIV patients and where a multidrug-resistant TB epidemic is emerging, researchers are pressing for approaches to integrate TB prevention ...

WHO warns of drug-resistant TB

Sep 06, 2006

The World Health Organization in Switzerland has warned of a new strain of tuberculosis that is rapidly spreading and cannot be treated with current drugs.

HIV/AIDS linked to drug resistant TB

Nov 16, 2006

U.S. scientists say a highly drug-resistant form of tuberculosis has been linked to HIV/AIDS in a study conducted in rural South Africa.

Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis found in California

Aug 13, 2008

In the first statewide study of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) in the United States, California officials have identified 18 cases of the dangerous and difficult-to-treat disease between 1993 and 2006, and ...

Drug-resistant tuberculosis rife in China

Dec 11, 2008

Levels of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in China are nearly twice the global average. Nationwide research published in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases has shown that almost 10% of Chinese TB cases are re ...

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

12 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

12 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

Apr 19, 2014

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Low tolerance for pain? The reason may be in your genes

Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual ...

Growing app industry has developers racing to keep up

Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps as well as the need to update their software to keep up with evolving phone technology, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.