Anti-mycobacterial Drugs

Stephen Henry Gillespie, Michael Murphy

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Antimycobacterial drugs are used in the treatment of diseases caused by members of the Mycobacterium genus, including tuberculosis(TB) and leprosy, which have affected man since antiquity, and the non-tuberculous mycobacterioses (NTM) that are increasingly recognised. Combination chemotherapy is essential to kill heterogenuous populations of bacterial cells located in different conditions within the host, and to prevent drug resistance. Whilst combination therapy has been effective in controlling leprosy, the global HIV epidemic and the emergence drug resistance are undermining efforts to control tuberculosis. Currently available chemotherapeutic agents are highly effective in managing drug sensitive tuberculosis, however, the development of new antimycobacterial drugs to manage both drug sensitive and resistant disease is a global health priority. These drugs must be safe, effective and affordable in resource-limited countries most burdened by TB disease. NTMs are increasingly being identified as human pathogens in both non- and immunocompromised patients; more evidence for the most efficacious treatments is required.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Specialist publicationEncyclopaedia of Life Sciences (eLS)
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • tuberculosis
  • drug therapy
  • resistance
  • leprosy
  • non-tuberculosis mycon=bacteria


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