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Docs study high TB treatment resistance among Indians

City-based spine surgeons are building a database of spine tuberculosis patients to understand why Indians seem to be more resistant to Standard Four drug treatment for typical spine-tuberculosis.

Written by Ranjani Raghavan | Mumbai |
March 25, 2011 2:56:11 am

City-based spine surgeons are building a database of spine tuberculosis patients to understand why Indians seem to be more resistant to Standard Four drug treatment for typical spine-tuberculosis.

For the last four years,city-based spine surgeons have been building a registry of spine tuberculosis patients. They have collected a data base of 500 patients and have found that around 15-20 per cent are cases of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB.

“We are analysing why multi-drug resistant patients are higher in India. The world average of multi-drug resistant patients is five per cent. In our study on Mumbai patients,we have found that the incidence of patients who are multi-drug resistant is around 15-20 per cent” said Dr Ram Chaddha,spine surgeon,Lilavati Hospital. He is also the secretary of the Association of Spine Surgeons of India.

A typical tuberculosis case can be cured with a treatment of Standard Four drugs over a period of six to nine months. When patients are resistant to this cocktail of drugs,they are put through a longer MDR treatment which is also more expensive. “In such scenarios,patients are given an additional four to five drugs and the patient as a result takes around nine medicines in all. The entire treatment lasts 24 months,” Chaddha said.

According to doctors,the primary reason for higher incidence of MDR among Indians is because of their tendency to default on medical treatment.

“If a patient has defaulted on medicines the first time,he has a higher chance of developing drug resistance. Also patients with HIV/Aids have a greater risk of developing this syndrome,” Chaddha said. The Association of Spine Surgeons of India is applying to get this study published in medical journals.

Doctors say that around 1.5 lakh patients have spine TB in India. Patients with spine TB may end up with paralysis of both legs,neck or the whole body. It could also lead to a collapse of vertebrae and bone fractures. Some of the minor symptoms are back pain,low grade fever and a hump in the back.

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