The Union health ministry has launched daily regimen for tuberculosis (TB) patients across the country under The Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP). The ministry has been providing the thrice weekly regimen for the treatment of TB. However it has now decided to change the treatment strategy for TB patients from thrice weekly to daily drug regimen using fixed dose combinations (FDC) for treatment. This change will bring transformation in the approach and the intensity to deal with this disease which accounts for about 4.2 lakh deaths every year.
According to the plan devised by the ministry, the daily FDC anti-TB drugs will be made available to private pharmacy or at private practitioners to dispense to TB patients who seek care in private sector, depending upon the convenience of patient and practitioner free of cost. The ministry will take this forward with all major hospitals, IMA, IAP and other professional medical associations to expand the access to daily FDC to all TB patients.
The salient features of this treatment strategy are use of Ethambutol in continuation phase for all patients, drugs to be given daily (as against only 3 times weekly previously), fixed dose combination tablets to be used which will reduce pill burden (as against separate 7 tablets previously), for children, child friendly formulations as dispersible tablets and use of Information Technology (IT) enabled treatment adherence support system.
Current WHO Global TB Report, 2017 has reported that incidence of TB has reduced from 28.2 lakh to 27 lakh and mortality by 60,000 over the last one year, which is a testimony of anti TB drive by government of India, the ministry said in a release.