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Shorter TB treatment regimens will reduce cost for patients and their families
Date:6/5/2014

Shorter TB treatment regimens will reduce the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by both patients and their family members, who often act as the patients' guardians. In addition, shorter TB regimens may allow an earlier return to productive activities for patients and their families.

These conclusions come from an international alliance of researchers, led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), who carried out a comparative study in Tanzania and Bangladesh looking at the out-of-pocket costs incurred by TB patients in both countries. These patients were taking the currently recommended six month TB treatment regimen. The outcomes of this study have been published in this month's International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

The main objective of the study was to quantify the potential savings of a 4 month regimen to patients. This is because a number of new drugs in the current development pipeline have the potential to shorten standard first-line TB therapy from 6 months to 4 months. When these drugs become available, national health programmes will have to make decisions about whether it is worth purchasing these drugs, so it is important to understand the potential benefits to patients.

Previous studies have looked at the cost of the currently available, effective treatment regimens for TB, none of which is shorter than 6 months, but have mainly focussed on the costs incurred by the health system, not the patient themselves. "This study goes even further", says Health Economist Elena Gospodarevskaya of LSTM and the first author. "We have been looking at the cost for the family of the patient, taking into account loss of earnings for the family member taking the patient to appointments or staying at home to nurse them. Determining the exact magnitude of likely savings of a 4-month regimen is not straightforward, but a shorter regimen would certainly reduce the out-of-pocket travel expenses incurred by
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Contact: Clare Bebb
c.bebb@liv.ac.uk
01-517-053-135
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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