Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)

A course of treatment for uncomplicated tuberculosis (TB) takes a minimum of six months. When patients are resistant to the two most powerful first-line antibiotics (isoniazid and rifampicin), they are considered to have multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).

MDR-TB is not impossible to treat, but the drug regimen is arduous, taking up to two years and causing many side effects.

Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) is identified when patients show resistance to the second-line drugs administered for MDR-TB. The treatment options for XDR-TB are very limited. Two new drugs – bedaquiline and delamanid – have recently become available to some patients who have no other treatment options left.

In 2016, MSF started 18,200 patients on first-line tuberculosis treatment, and 2,700 on second-line drugs.

For more information, please see tuberculosis.