GUWAHATI, June 6 - Assam has become the first state of the country to launch the miracle drug Bedaquiline � the first new medicine for TB in more than 40 years � for treatment of drug-resistant TB.
The drug (tablet) would be given free of cost to drug-resistant TB patients in the State.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 28, 2012 formally approved the use of Bedaquiline in TB treatment as part of a fast-track approval for use only in cases of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, and the more resistant extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Dr R Bhuyan, Director of Health Services, Assam, officially rolled out the service by administering the first dose of Bedaquiline on a drug-resistant TB patient at LGB Chest Hospital in Guwahati today.
Dr Bhuyan appealed to the people to come out and avail the free diagnostic and treatment services under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP).
�Suffering from cough for more than two weeks, loss of weight, evening rise of temperature and night sweats are the main signs and symptoms of TB. People having these symptoms should come forward and get themselves screened for TB in the government health-care facilities,� he said.
Bedaquiline is the first new medicine for TB in more than 40 years, and is specifically approved to treat multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. It is on the World Health Organization�s List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system.
Assam is among the only six �Drug Resistant TB Centres� set up in five states in the country identified as initial sites for introduction of Bedaquiline under the RNTCP. The other states are Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and New Delhi (two centres).