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What is MDR-TB?

Q: I am a 42 years old male, suffering from TB. Five weeks ago, I was prescribed 4 tablets of Akurit daily. After the biopsy of the lymph node, a cut was left. Now the cut is almost closed but some kind of discharge still comes from it. Is this MDR-TB? How can we clinically test TB as an MDR or non-MDR type?

A:MDR-TB is a specific form of drug-resistant TB due to the mycobacteria (the bacteria causing TB) becoming resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, the two most powerful anti-TB drugs. The samples from TB patients are process in the laboratory for AFB / TB culture and these cultures grown in the laboratory can tell doctors which drugs kill the bacteria most effectively for that particular strain. This is done by drug susceptibility testing in the laboratory. If a person has drug resistant TB, anyone they pass it on to will also have the same resistance. This is called primary drug resistance. Outbreaks of Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) have become a very serious problem in some countries. The main reasons are improper treatment, intermittent drug shortages and poor monitoring of TB patients under treatment. Drug resistant forms of TB take longer to cure, and require extra drugs, which are more expensive, for treatment. Besides the added time and expense required for treatment, cure rates are low and fatality rates are high. While drug-susceptible TB can be cured within six months, forms of drug-resistant TB (such as MDR-TB) require extensive chemotherapy (with drugs which have more side effects) for up to two years.


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