New drugs for tuberculosis

C. Grassi, V. Peona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the late 1960s, tuberculosis has been successfully cured with antibiotics. With the introduction of rifampin, 'short course' regimens using isoniazid and rifampin together with either streptomycin, ethambutol or pyrazinamide, for 6-9 months, have been successfully adopted. The spread of drug resistant M. tuberculosis strains in large urban areas has made this armamentarium of drugs insufficient, calling for the development of new drugs. Among rifamycin derivatives, rifabutin is more active than rifampin in vitro and in experimental animals, and allows sputum conversion rates of 95-100%. It is effective in treating multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Rifapentine is more active than rifampin in vitro and has a longer half-life, but it is not active against rifampin-resistant strains. Fluoroquinolones concentrate within macrophages, are effective against M. tuberculosis and act synergistically with rifampin and isoniazid. Ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, sparfloxacin and lomefloxacin have been evaluated as antimycobacterial agents, and no cross-resistance with major antituberculous drugs has been found. Several other drugs, including new inhibitors of beta-lactamase and new beta-lactamase-resistant antibiotics, the aminoglycoside antibiotic, paromomycin, and the new nitroimidazole, 2-ethyl-5-intro-2.3-dihydro imidazo-oxazole, have been found to be active in vitro against M. tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal, Supplement
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Antimycobacterial drugs
  • Antituberculous drugs
  • Mycobacteriosis
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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