Oct 27, 2012 Volume 380 Number 9852 p1445 – 1530
Perspectives: The art of medicine
Riding the waves: optimism and realism in the treatment of TB
The history of treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis can be divided into two eras: before and after the advent of antibiotics. What had been treated but had proven incurable for millennia became curable in the early 1950s, when the combination of streptomycin, para-aminosalicylic acid (PAS), and isoniazid effectively cleansed the body of invading mycobacteria. Subsequently more easily administered, better-tolerated drugs advanced treatment protocols and brought greater benefits. It would be wrong to suggest that drugs were the only solution; education, screening, vaccination, and prevention measures were essential.