DOTS PLUS is a drug regimen designed by World Health Organization (WHO) for patients who develop multi-drug resistance to tuberculosis (MDR-TB) drugs. It is very hard to detect the TB symptoms in people who have developed resistance against the tuberculosis drugs such as Rifampicin and Isoniazid. For such patients DOTS PLUS is the only option. As of now, DOTS-PLUS is available in the form of DOTS PLUS tablets.
It’s very important for patients suffering from MDR-TB to be educated about the DOTS PLUS treatment regimen. The treatment for such patients is very complex and it takes a long time to get over. Earlier the patients who have developed resistance against TB drugs were regarded as untreatable, and their death was certain. DOTS PLUS tablets provide a second line of tuberculosis drugs brought out by Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP).
In India, Delhi was the first place to receive this programme through RNTCP on January 2009. The treatment through DOTS PLUS can be given only by following the internationally recommended DOTS PLUS guidelines, performed in selective RNTCP DOTS-PLUS sites. These sites are well equipped with Drug Susceptibility Testing (DST) laboratories, well trained doctors and medical professionals especially trained to look after MDR-TB patients.
DOTS-PLUS service has been introduced to almost all the cities in India by now, and it is expected to reach each and every place in the country by 2015. For a successful treatment through DOTS-PLUS, it’s mandatory to have well equipped DST labs, specifically designed treatment regimen, successful management of any side effects caused, a proper record of the treatment and adequate funding. DOTS-PLUS is a costly treatment, hence to make it reachable to every Indian citizen the govt needs to make the treatment cost effective.
The DOTS-PLUS treatment regimen in India has been modified to suit the Indian conditions. In India MDR-TB has emerged as a major hindrance in the treatment of TB. With a more than 200 cases estimated to increase every year, MDR-TB can cause disaster in the country. Therefore, a strict DOTS-PLUS course is recommended for MDR-TB patients. Moreover, it is very important to educate people not to discontinue the treatment mid-way if the symptoms start disappearing. By educating people about DOTS PLUS the government can decrease the mortality rate drastically.
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