Am J Ther. 2022 Nov-Dec 01;29(6):e625-e631. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000001575. Epub 2022 Oct 24.
BACKGROUND: Advances in drug therapy for pulmonary tuberculosis have had an extraordinary impact on the incidence of tuberculosis in the United States in the past century, which has decreased from 113/100,000 persons in 1920 to 2.2/100,000 in 2020. Modern treatments have contributed to a remarkable decrease in hospitalizations and mortality and have had a significant impact on the duration and severity of illness, quality of life, and work potential of affected persons.
STUDY QUESTION: What are the milestones of the changes in the expert approach to the pharmacological management of pulmonary tuberculosis in the past century?
STUDY DESIGN: To determine the changes in the experts' approach to the management of pulmonary tuberculosis, as presented in a widely used textbook in the United States.
DATA SOURCES: The chapters describing the management of pulmonary tuberculosis in the 26 editions of Cecil Textbook of Medicine published from 1927 through 2020.
RESULTS: In the preantibiotic era (1927-1943), the Cecil authors emphasized rest, good food, and fresh air as the treatment pillars for pulmonary tuberculosis. The modern era (1947-1971) recorded the discovery of all the drugs that are still used for the initial treatment, in the following order: streptomycin, para-aminosalicylic acid, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, ethambutol, cycloserine, kanamycin, ethionamide, capreomycin, and rifampin. In the postmodern era (1975-2020), therapeutic advances continued with trials of many drug combinations aimed at ameliorating the duration of treatment, drug resistance adverse effects, and poor the recent addition of fluoroquinolones, bedaquiline, and clofazimine.
CONCLUSIONS: The pharmacological management of tuberculosis has remained archaic until the middle of the 20th century. Fundamental progress occurred in a very short period (1947-1971) and was because of the recognition of the antituberculous effect of many antibiotics and chemotherapy agents. The challenges created by mycobacterial infections resistant to multiple drugs remain and have prompted the addition of new drugs in the past decade.