Tuberculosis, which results from an infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, can be cured with a combination of first-line drugs taken daily for several months. Shown here are the four drugs in the standard regimen of first-line drugs. Also shown are the dates these four drugs were discovered—all more than 40 years ago. See how these drugs work.
MDR TB occurs when a Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain is resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, two of the most powerful first-line drugs. To cure MDR TB, healthcare providers must turn to a combination of second-line drugs, several of which are shown here. See how these drugs work. Second-line drugs may have more side effects, the treatment may last much longer, and the cost may be up to 100 times more than first-line therapy. MDR TB strains can also grow resistant to second-line drugs, further complicating treatment.
XDR TB occurs when a Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain is resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, two of the most powerful first-line drugs, as well as key drugs of the second line regimen—any fluoroquinolone and at least one of the three injectable drugs shown above. XDR TB strains may also be resistant to additional drugs, greatly complicating therapy. See how these drugs work.
Several new types of TB drugs currently under development are shown here. NIAID has supported the development of five of these compounds, SQ-109, PA-824 (Pretomanid), Sutezolid, Linezolid, and Meropenem, which are denoted by asterisks (*) above. See how these drugs work.
Photo Credit: The photo of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC/Dr. Ray Butler, Janice Carr.Illustration Credit: This illustration is in the public domain. Please credit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).Illustrator: Krista Townsend
Last Updated April 19, 2016