Alberta Can Now Benefit from a Tuberculosis Drug that Cuts Down on Treatment Time


Although this tuberculosis drug isn’t licensed for use in Canada, Alberta has gained easier access. It is believed that this is an option that works better than conventional medicine, according to what the health ministry had to say.

What is it?

The drug, called Rifapentine (or Priftin – its brand name), works wonders with latent tuberculosis, preventing people with an elevated risk of progression to reach an active stage of the disease. The antibiotic has to be taken once a week for 12 straight weeks. This is great news because usually, a course of tuberculosis antibiotic includes daily doses and has to last nine months.

How did Alberta get it?

The drug is licensed in the United States but Canada doesn’t obtain approval for its use. That’s why individual provinces and territories have to apply to Health Canada to get it. It’s not the first time that this drug was used in Alberta. Previously, rifapentine was acquired and used for individual patients, although this process is to slow to deal with new diagnoses of latent TBC.

That’s why, earlier this year Alberta applied and was approved to import the medication. You might wonder how is it possible for a province to be able to use it although the country hasn’t approved the drug. Well, if a jurisdiction notifies the public health officials while claiming an urgent public health need for a drug, it is more than likely to obtain that drug.

It may sound like you are proclaiming a crisis, although the provincial health ministry says that it’s just a legal mechanism. In the end, what’s most important is the fact that until now almost 720 drug doses were prescribed and administered to Albertans in June alone and the prognosis is positive.


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