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Can an Old Anti-Parasite Drug Fight TB?

December 11, 2000

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Treating tuberculosis (TB) has become more difficult since the appearance of TB bacteria that can resist more than one antibiotic. Such forms of TB are called MDR-TB or multidrug resistant. In the past 30 years, no new antibiotic has been specifically developed to fight TB. As a result, some researchers have turned to testing existing compounds to assess their anti-TB activity.

One drug that has such potential is the antibiotic paromomycin. An oral form of this drug called Humatin is used to treat parasitic infections of the intestine in humans. Humatin is not well absorbed, so for parasitic infections in the rest of the body doctors use the injectable form of paromomycin called aminosidine.

Researchers in South Africa conducted a short study of aminosidine in humans with TB. The researchers found that at a dose of 15 mg/kg of body weight per day, aminosidine significantly reduced levels of TB-causing bacteria. Their preliminary findings suggest the possibility that when used in combination with other antibiotics, aminosidine may be as useful as standard anti-TB regimens. The fact that aminosidine has to be injected daily may limit its use. However, this mode of administration certainly has not stopped aminosidine from being used to treat another parasitic infection -- leishmaniasis -- in India.

These preliminary findings from South Africa are exciting and need to be confirmed in larger studies of combination anti-TB therapy before doctors can be certain about the role of aminosidine in the treatment of TB.

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For More Information

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 2000;44(12):3288-3287.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
See Also
Tuberculosis (TB) Fact Sheet
Questions and Answers About Tuberculosis
More Research on Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS

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