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Adding blood pressure drug to standard antibiotics speeds up TB treatment
Date:8/29/2013

Infectious disease experts at Johns Hopkins have found, in studies in mice, that a drug better known as a treatment for high blood pressure and headaches effectively speeds up treatment of TB when added to the standard, daily antibiotic regimen. Test animals were cured in four months instead of the usual six.

Researchers say that if clinical trials starting later this year in India, a country heavily burdened by the highly contagious lung disease, prove successful, then the shortened treatment time with verapamil, a so-called calcium channel blocker, used in combination with antibiotics isoniazid and rifampin, could make it easier for infected people to complete their drug therapy as prescribed. The experts note that antibiotics for TB do not work if treatment is interrupted or if people stop taking their medication. Improved drug adherence, they say, could also prevent the buildup of drug-resistant strains of TB, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is now estimated to kill a million people each year, mostly in the developing world.

"Our results show that verapamil is a good drug candidate as an add-on therapy with antibiotics for TB, a global disease in urgent need of new treatment options," says study senior investigator and infectious disease specialist William Bishai, M.D., Ph.D. Bishai's team's latest findings are set to be published in the Sept. 1 edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Bishai, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Center for Tuberculosis Research, says that drug treatment options for TB are "too few," and limited to about a dozen older antibiotics, some with serious side effects. Bishai, who also is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Lab Head at Johns Hopkins, says verapamil has been around for some 40 years, so its side effects -- such as too-low blood pressure -- are well-known. He says the clinical trial in India, primarily a
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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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