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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
July 10, 2013

TB Drug Shortage Forces Control Programs To Make Onerous Choices

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Copyright 2013 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2013;310(2):135. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.7734

A national shortage of the first-line tuberculosis drug isoniazid has forced TB control programs to adopt strategies that could increase their costs, delay treatment, and miss opportunities to prevent latent infection from developing into active disease.

Isoniazid, along with rifampin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide, form the core of first-line TB treatment regimens. An additional 6 drugs are approved as second-line treatments. Interruptions in the second-line drug supplies have been ongoing for several years, but the continuing isoniazid shortage that began in November 2012 is the first for a first-line TB drug. The shortage is attributed to manufacturers’ problems in getting the drug’s active ingredient and to 1 of 3 US isoniazid manufacturers having dropped out of the market until next year.

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