The Health Ministry on Friday said it has changed the treatment strategy for Tuberculosis (TB) from thrice a week to daily drug regimen using fixed-dose combinations (FDC).
According to the Ministry, the change will bring transformation in the approach to dealing with this disease which accounts for about 4.2 lakh deaths every year.
“The daily FDC anti-TB drugs will be made available free of cost to the private pharmacy or at private practitioners to dispense to TB patients who seek care in private sector, depending upon the convenience of patients and practitioners,” said a Ministry statement.
The Ministry will take the new initiative forward with all major hospitals, Indian Medical Association, Indian Academy of Pediatrics and other professional medical associations to expand the access to daily FDC to all TB patients.
The salient features of this treatment strategy is use of Ethambutol in continuation phase for all patients.
The other advantages are that FDC tablets will reduce pill burden (as against separate seven tablets previously), child-friendly formulations as dispersible tablets and use of Information Technology (IT)-enabled treatment adherence support system.
WHO Global TB Report, 2017 has reported that incidence of TB has reduced from 28.2 lakh to 27 lakh and mortality by 60,000 over the last one year — a testimony of anti-TB drive by the Indian government.