Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

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What is Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis?

Drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR TB) occurs when the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis which causes tuberculosis becomes resistant to the drug(s) normally used to cure tuberculosis. DR TB also spreads through air, in the same way as drug-susceptible TB. It is very important to diagnose and treat drug-resistant TB, as it can be debilitating and cause death.

What are the Types of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis?

There are two main types of drug-resistant tuberculosis:

Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB)

This is caused by bacteria which are resistant to at least Isoniazid and Rifampin, the two most potent TB medications.

Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB)

This is caused by bacteria which are resistant to first-line anti-TB drugs like Isoniazid and Rifampicin or drugs like Ethambutol or Pyrazinamide. In addition, the bacteria are also resistant to fluoroquinolones like Levofloxacin, Moxifloxacin and to at least one of the second-line injectable drugs like Capreomycin, Kanamycin or Amikacin. This is a rare form of MDR TB and the treatment options are very limited.

Treatment of MDR TB is critical and if not monitored well, can lead to XDR TB. Hospitals and healthcare providers must counsel and monitor TB patients to prevent its spread and prevent the occurrence of MDR TB.

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