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article imageBlood pressure drug helps TB treatment

By Tim Sandle     Sep 5, 2013 in Health
Scientists have discovered that drug better known as a treatment for high blood pressure and headaches effectively speeds up treatment of tuberculosis when added to the standard medication.
The blood-pressure-lowering drug verapamil (a calcium channel blocker) has been successful combined with two drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) called isoniazid and rifampin. The use of the blood pressure drug functions to make the infective bacteria more vulnerable to the TB medications. The effectiveness could be as much as ten-fold.
Tuberculosis or 'TB' is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria. Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air.
Globally, tuberculosis is the second most common cause of death from infectious disease (after those due to HIV/AIDS).
By adding the blood pressure drug to studies carried out using mice infected with tuberculosis, the researchers found that the test animals were cured in four months instead of the six months normally required for such treatments so be effective. This was demonstrated by dividing infected micro into two groups and adding the blood pressure drug to one group and not to the other group, and then comparing the speed of the treatment.
After the successful trial in mice, the research group plan to carry out clinical trials in India on people.
The research was carried out at Johns Hopkins University. The research outcomes have been published in the journal American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The paper is titled “Acceleration of Tuberculosis Treatment by Adjunctive Therapy with Verapamil as an Efflux Inhibitor.”
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