The devil we know: is the use of injectable agents for the treatment of MDR-TB justified?


Published November 2017.

For decades, second-line injectable agents (IAs) have been the cornerstone of treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Although evidence on the efficacy of IAs is limited, there is an expanding body of evidence on the serious adverse events caused by these drugs. Here, we present the results of a structured literature review of the safety and efficacy of IAs. We review the continued widespread use of these agents in the context of therapeutic alternatives—most notably the newer TB drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid—and from the context of human rights, ethics and patient-centered care. We conclude that there is limited evidence of the efficacy of IAs, clear evidence of the risks of these drugs, and that persons living with MDR-TB should be informed about these risks and provided with access to alternative therapeutic options.


Reuter, A., Tisile, P., von Delft, D., Cox, H., Cox, V., Ditiu, L., Garcia-Prats, A., Koenig, S., Lessem, E., Nathavitharana, R., Seddon, J. A., Stillo, J., von Delft, A., & Furin, J. (2017). The devil we know: Is the use of injectable agents for the treatment of MDR-TB justified? The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 21(11), 1114–1126.
Geographies South Africa

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