Can my drug-resistant tuberculosis be treated?
Q: I am a 24 years old man, suffering from tuberculosis since the past 4 to 5 years. My left lung is completely damaged and the bacteria have entered the right one as well. I have been to PGI hospital in Chandigarh and the doctors there have also given up. Please tell me what I can do to get better.
A:You seem to be suffering from extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which is a relatively rare type of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). It is resistant to almost all drugs used to treat TB, including the two best first-line drugs: isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin. XDR-TB is also resistant to the best second-line medications: fluoroquinolones and at least one of three injectable drugs (i.e., amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin). Because XDR-TB is resistant to the most powerful first-line and second-line drugs, patients are left with treatment options that are much less effective and often have worse treatment outcomes. XDR TB is of special concern for persons with HIV infection or other conditions that can weaken the immune system. Drug-resistant TB (MDR or XDR) is more common in people who: