Child-friendly medicines

No child should die of TB. TB Alliance and partners are developing medicines to improve treatment and child surival from TB.

Each year, 1 million children get sick with TB and 140,000 needlessly die. That's nearly 400 children dying each and every day.

TB Alliance and partners are working to solve this problem. Around the world, most children don’t have access to TB medicines in the proper doses or formulations. Care providers and parents have to crush or chop adult pills to approximate the correct dose for children. This is a daily struggle—for six long months-- and creates a guessing game of whether children receive the right dose. Ultimately, these medicines can negatively impact adherence, outcomes, and fuel the development of drug-resistant TB.

TB Alliance is solving this problem. We have introduced new TB cures for children in the correct dose and child-friendly forms, and are working to ensure they are available widely.

Watch the video to learn about our new solutions.

Simple Treatments, Designed for Children

Quickly dispersible in liquid. Easy for parents to give and for children of all ages to take.

Improved medicines for children with drug-sensitive TB means tablets in the correct fixed dose combinations of the three most commonly used anti-TB drugs, rifampicin + isoniazid + pyrazinamide, used for the initial two months of treatment, followed by four months of rifampicin + Isoniazid. These products offer significant advantages over previous drugs including:

  • Fixed dose combinations in the correct, WHO-recommended dose – no need for crushing or chopping
  • Quickly dispersible in liquid - Easy to for parents to give and for children of all ages to take
  • Palatable fruit flavors
  • Expected to improve treatment adherence and outcomes
  1. 1

    The Right Medicines

    The right medicines in the right doses will improve adherence and save more lives. This is an important step in improving treatment and child survival from TB, and slowing the spread of drug-resistant TB.

  2. 2

    Simple Medicines

    Simple TB medicines for children eases the TB burden on healthcare systems. Simpler TB medicines for children can allow healthcare systems to scale up treatment. Fewer pills will simplify ordering and storage.

  3. 3

    Child-Friendly Medicines

    Child-friendly medicines improve the daily lives of children and their families struggling with TB. Six months is a long time to take medicine. But the availability of treatment that tastes good and is simple to provide will ease the daily struggles of children, parents, and caregivers alike.

For more information about the products from Macleods, please contact the following people: Ms. Rohini Karde or Mr.Vipul Patil.

Resources

Visit our Pediatric TB Resource Center for more information about the childhood TB burden and improved cures for children. Correctly-dosed medicines are now available. Children, their families, communities, and countries must use their voices to advocate for improved diagnosis and care of children with TB.

Learn more

Next Challenges

MDR-TB + Kids

For many children, MDR-TB and its treatment is so difficult that it requires hospitalization. Treatment for MDR-TB is typically 18 months, but could last as long as 30 months. Almost none of the existing “second-line” TB drugs used to treat MDR-TB are available in child-friendly formulations. Drugs for MDR-TB need to be put together into complicated regimens, which can include as many as 20 pills a day, plus injections. Pills are often hard to swallow, taste bad, and have many side effects. Injectable drugs are known to cause deafness in a large number of children. In HIV-infected children, the pill burden is even higher since they need to take antiretroviral therapy. MDR-TB treatment designed for children that is safe, humane, and affordable is a global health and moral imperative.

TB and Babies

Pregnant women in settings with high TB burden are very susceptible to developing TB, especially if they have HIV. In turn, their newborn babies can be infected and contract the disease when they are most vulnerable, in the first weeks of life. That was the case with Ayanda, who was diagnosed with TB shortly after birth and spent five months in hospital on daily treatment. But just how much drug the baby should receive was a guessing game, as the appropriate doses of TB drugs have not been established in very small infants. “We often have to split existing formulations and getting the right dose for small children is challenging,” says Dr. Anneke Hesseling, from the Desmond Tutu TB Centre. “For babies, not only can it be difficult to administer the drugs, but we don’t actually know if the recommended dose of TB drugs is safe in very small babies. We urgently need more information on dosing and drug formulations that can also be used in infants.”

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