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A New Tuberculosis Treatment

By: Chelsea Slyker, PharmD, MPH


Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria that affects millions annually across the globe.

It usually attacks the lungs of those infected and can be fatal if not treated. While TB rates have been decreasing in the US over the last few decades, the threat of drug resistant TB has become more prevalent. Drug resistance can occur when a typical TB therapy is used incorrectly, allowing the bacteria to become resistant to therapy. This new resistant strain of bacteria can then spread through the air and cause new infections that are incredibly difficult to treat.


The newly approved medication, called Pretomanid, is used as part of a three-drug, six-month oral regimen for those who have TB infections classified as extensively drug-resistant or multidrug-resistant. TB is always treated with combination drug regimens due to the nature of the bacteria and its ability to become resistant when only one medication is used. Studies have shown a high cure rate with the use of Pretomanid when used in combination with bedaquiline and linezolid, two common TB treatments.



Pretomanid is a nitroimidazole, a class of antibiotics used to treat a number of infections.

It works by inhibiting cell wall synthesis in the bacteria that causes TB, which is a common mechanism of action of antibiotics. Reported side effects during clinical trials with Pretomanid include peripheral neuropathy, acne, anemia, nausea, vomiting, headache, rash, cough, and diarrhea. More serious reactions include liver injury and a weakened immune system.


Pretomanid should be available in the US by the end of 2019 and may be life-saving for those with a drug resistant form of TB.


For more information on tuberculosis please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/default.htm

For information and updates on Pretomanid, visit the manufacturers website at: https://www.tballiance.org/




About Dr. Chelsea Slyker

Dr. Chelsea Slyker received her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and her Master of Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health. Her interests include addiction medicine, behavioral health, and healthcare policy. She looks forward to combining her clinical pharmacy background with her passion for public health to improve access to affordable health care.