Major improvements in quality of life for people with drug-susceptible TB expected following updates

Landmark changes in shortening treatment duration has been announced by WHO in its updated consolidated guidelines on treatment of drug-susceptible TB. The guidelines include a new recommendation for the use of a 4-month regimen composed of isoniazid, rifapentine, moxifloxacin and pyrazinamide for the treatment and care of DS-TB. The shorter and effective new regimen offers improved quality of life for people with TB.

“Since the discovery of TB medicines, the TB community has been in search for shorter and more effective regimens for treatment of TB disease. Thanks to research generating new evidence, this is the first time that treatment for people with drug-susceptible TB has been shortened to 4 months and shown effective. This is a historical change that will be of great benefit for people suffering from TB, easing the burden on health systems, saving lives and reducing suffering”, said Dr Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme.

The WHO Consolidated Guidelines on Tuberculosis, Module 4: Treatment – Drug-Susceptible Tuberculosis Treatment incorporates all recommendations on the treatment of DS-TB including the standard 6-month regimen. The guidelines are complemented by an operational handbook which is designed to assist the implementation of WHO recommendations by Member States, technical partners and others who are involved in the management of patients with DS-TB. The WHO Operational Handbook on Tuberculosis, Module 4: Treatment – Drug-Susceptible Tuberculosis Treatment provides practical guidance on how to put in place the recommended treatment options at the scale needed to achieve national and global impact. The operational handbook provides practical information and tools that complement the recommendations in the guidelines.

The operational handbook is accompanied with two web annexes, summarizing the results of a series of systematic reviews on dosages of the TB medicines (rifampicin, isoniazid, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide), the WHO-recommended doses for these medicines remain valid in adults and children.

The updated guidelines and supporting operational handbook are to be used by national TB programmes, or their equivalents in Ministries of Health, policy makers and technical organizations working on TB and infectious diseases in public and private sectors and in the community. These documents are to facilitate uptake of WHO policy in the field and thus improve the quality of TB services.

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