New medication for the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis are available in Turkmenistan

Mar 2, 2018

The development of new medicines for treatment tuberculosis (TB) has been making great progress over the past ten years. The World Health Organization has recommended new medications: Bedaquiline and Delamanid for the treatment of resistant tuberculosis. Multiple drug resistance (MDR-TB) is a form of tuberculosis in which bacteria become resistant to two main first-line drugs – isoniazid and rifampicin. Extensively drug resistance (XDR-TB) is a heavier form of tuberculosis when bacteria become resistant to drugs in both the first and second lines. Each year about 500,000 people worldwide fall ill with MDR-TB, of which 10% - XDR-TB. Until recently, there were very few medications with good efficacy to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis. Treatment lasts up to two years with possible side effects, while only 50% of MDR-TB patients and 28% of patients with XDR-TB are cured. In addition, the treatment of resistant TB forms costs between $4,000 and $9,000 per patient.

Bedaquiline is the first in 40 years innovative medication for the treatment of tuberculosis. The effect of its administration occurs within 12 weeks after the start of treatment, while other medicines show results after only 18-24 months. Delamanid is a new medication for the treatment of tuberculosis. During the treatment with Delamanid the improvement of sputum occurs within 2 months of therapy. Successful treatment of resistant tuberculosis with the use of Delamanid is higher than with the treatment of similar medication, i.e. side effects occur rarer and the mortality rate is lower.

Due to the new medications, for the first time in the last 40 years patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis have a chance to cure. However, according to data of 2017, less than five percent of patients worldwide received treatment with these medications. Other patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis continue to be treated with the use of older, more toxic drugs.

In Turkmenistan, under the Global Fund grant, the new effective medications for the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis have been available since 2017. The cost of Bedaquiline for the treatment of one patient is $3,000, and the cost of Delamanid - $1,700, however these and other medications for the treatment of tuberculosis are provided free of charge. Bedaquiline and Delamanid combined with other so-called “reserve” drugs for the treatment of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: clofazimine, linezolid, Imipenem, that are also available in Turkmenistan.

Access to new medications in Turkmenistan is possible due to the fact that the Government provides all possible support to the national tuberculosis control program and creates favorable conditions for the introduction of innovative methods of diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis.

Contact person

Nazik Avlyakulova
Communications Associate

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