Laser improves tuberculosis treatment

Laser therapy added to the usual TB drugs has been found to hasten bacteria clearance in patients, scientists claim.

| Updated on: Feb 01 2005, 20:11 IST

Laser therapy added to the usual TB drugs has been found to hasten the bacteria clearance in patients, scientists claim, stating the therapy may help in shortening lengthy treatment, which drives several patients away from medication.

'The study has been carried out under the Department of Science and Technology at the LRS Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases,' Dr M M Puri from the Department of TB and Respiratory Diseases at the hospital, who participated in the study, said.

Laser machine was provided by the Uzbekistan under an Indo-Uzbek programme, he said, adding similar results have also came from use of laser therapy in Uzbekistan.

'We found that clearance of bacteria from sputum occurs significantly early in patients who are given drugs and laser therapy in comparison to those given only drugs,' he said, adding that means these patients become non-infective faster.

The institute studied 60 patients in the study which is published in the Indian Journal of Chest Diseases.

However, further studies are needed to find how much time reduction is possible, he said. There are plans to carry out a multicentric study under the Department of Science and Technology in which more patients would be studied, he said.

At a later date, laser therapy may become part of treatment, he said, adding the problem with TB is that patients need to take drugs for about six months. As the treatment is long, patients stop taking medicines after symptoms disappear.

This increases the chance of drug resistance in patients who stop treatment, he said. The efforts in the scientific community are to reduce the treatment time, he said.

Puri said an 'external variation equipment is used to deliver laser to patients depending on the site of the disease. Two kinds of lasers — gallium arsenide lasers and helium neon lasers — are used for the purpose, he said.

While drugs kill the bacteria, laser therpay stimulates the body's immune system to become more efficient, he said.

Many of the people carry the TB bacteria, but not everybody gets the disease. Those who have strong immune system escape the disease, he said.

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First Published Date: 31 Jan, 19:43 IST
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