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New Drugs To Combat Mutant Bugs

A newly approved drug to battle super bugs, including MRSA, has found its way to the markets of Scotland.//

Clinicians welcomed the news as Tygacil, is one of the few new antibiotics to come on to the market in the past 15 years.

Micro organisms have undergone mutations that enabled them to develop resistance to the existing antibiotics, leading to widespread infections, such as MRSA, in hospitals.

The new drug Tygacil is said to be very effective against bacteria.

Restrictions on its use, put in place by the Scottish Medicines Consortium, indicates that it can be used only as the second or third line of attack under directions from microbiologist or a specialist in infectious diseases.

These measures are in place to help prevent bugs developing resistance to the new drug.

Consultant physician and honorary professor of infection at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Professor Dilip Nathwani praised the drug as a "welcome addition to our therapeutic arsenal".

Antibiotics- resistant hospital infections are a major issue for the Scottish health service. Research revealed that at the end of last year, 17.5% of patients who died following a surgery in Scotland in the year 2004, had developed an infection in hospital.

Professor Dilip Nathwani said, Tygacil offered an "important opportunity" to manage difficult infections although the treatment, costing up to £937 for a course, is reported to have some side effects, including nausea and vomiting.

Another drug, Erbitux, described as the first new treatment in more than 20 years, for head and neck cancer, won the approval for use in Scotland, prior to its approval in England.

Trials found that when patients received the drug along with radiotherapy, their chances of survival improved significantly to about 20 months.

It is hoped that these drugs will provide the much-needed face-lift to the hea lth services in Scotland.


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