Heartburn Medication Can Reduce Of TB causing Bacteria Becoming Drug Resistant, Study Shows 

In Education

Scientists have established that over-the-counter drugs used to treat heartburn can shorten tuberculosis (TB) treatment. The medications can reduce the chances of the TB-causing bacteria becoming drug resistant. 

Heartburn medications could help shorten treatment time for TB

The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) implies that TB could be cured within a short time. 

Treatment for TB usually takes months and involves several medications. This makes it logistically difficult for many patients to finish their treatment. Therefore, it is generally accepted that shorter TB treatment is necessary to reduce the disease’s impact globally.

Medications for treating heartburn, such as omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole, and pantoprazole, are affordable, widely accessible, safe, and have already received approval. The researchers discovered that these medications prevent the TB-causing bacteria from developing a resistance to the drugs prescribed for the condition.

The study led by Professor Lalita Ramakrishnan and researchers from the University of Cambridge sought to find out why TB treatment involves the patient taking antibiotics for many months. When someone is infected, the TB bacteria enter the body tissue and invade cells making up part of the immune system known as macrophages. Once the bacteria get into the tissue, they turn on pumps in their membranes, pumping out antibiotics patients use against them. As a result, this leaves the bacteria resistant to antibiotics making it longer to treat TB.

Verapamil could block TB bacteria 

In the latest study, the researchers tested if blood pressure and the cardiac drug verapamil block human cell membrane pumps and could equally block the bacterial cell membrane pump. Scientists employed a clever technique in which they fluorescently marked rifampicin, a common antibiotic employed to treat tuberculosis, in order to monitor exactly the way the bacteria processed it. This allowed them to observe firsthand that verapamil does, in fact, prevent the bacteria from dislodging rifampicin.

The scientists next questioned whether other medications that are often used for a variety of illnesses and which, coincidentally, also inhibit human cellular membrane pumps would have a similar impact on Tuberculosis bacterial pumps like verapamil.

Mobile Sliding Menu