The Food and Drug Administration just approved a new antibiotic for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). TB is the world’s most deadly infectious disease killing an estimated 1.6 million people each year. The United Nations estimates there are around 10 million new cases of the disease every year. 500,000 of those cases are considered to be drug-resistant. TB is highly contagious and some forms are very difficult to treat. The challenge arises when once treatable bacterial infections develop antibiotic resistance, making them very hard to eradicate.
On Wednesday, the FDA approved the antibiotic Pretomanid in combination with the drugs Bedaquiline and Linezolid for the treatment of drug-resistant TB. TB Alliance, a non-profit organization, is the company that created the antibiotic. Pretomanid is scheduled to become available within the US by the end of 2019 and TB Alliance hopes to make the antibiotic available to other countries such as South Africa, which has a very high number of TB cases. Pretomanid is the third anti-TB drug approved over the last 40 years. Previous drug regimens have been complicated and drawn out so the new treatment should be more easily managed by patients. The antibiotic is part of a three-part regimen that takes 6 months to complete. A 2012 study resulted in 95 out of 107 patients having successful results which is a historical treatment success rate for treatment of drug-resistant TB.
If you are experiencing TB symptoms, please contact your physician immediately. Not all healthcare positions require TB tests, but employees should have tests done at least once a year if they are in contact with patients. TB tests are good for up to a year but some high-risk positions may be required to test twice a year depending on company policies.
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