How Anthrax is Treated?

The success of treatment of anthrax depends to a great extent on the prompt recognition (diagnosis) of the disease and initiation of appropriate antibiotic therapy. Treatment of anthrax is generally successful if promptly diagnosed and adequately treated with suitable antibiotics. United States has licensed use of penicillin, ciprofloxacin, and doxycycline for treatment of anthrax. But other antibiotics such as clindamycin and rifampin are also useful and sometimes used by some doctors.

Before antibiotic sensitivity is known, anthrax should be treated with combination of more than one antibiotic. After the antibiotic sensitivity is known, the right antibiotic treatment regimen can be selected based on the antibiotic sensitivity report and if required can be given combination therapy. The duration of treatment is long (two months treatment is required) and in case of diagnosed cases of anthrax, should be given intravenous antibiotics till patient become stable and than switched over to oral antibiotics.

For treatment of anthrax, the patients need not be isolated as the anthrax patients are not contagious, even patients of pulmonary (inhalational) anthrax.

Treatment of active or diagnosed case of anthrax:

Active anthrax is treated with ciprofloxacin 400 mg (intravenously every 12 hourly) or doxycycline 100 mg (intravenously every 12 hourly), plus clindamycin, 900 mg (intravenously every 8 hourly) or rifampin, 300 mg (intravenously every 12 hourly). Switch over to oral preparation if the patient becomes stable. Treatment should be continued a total of 60 days (including intravenous and oral preparations).

Post exposure treatment of anthrax:

For post exposure treatment of anthrax ciprofloxacin 500 mg (orally twice a day) or doxycycline 100 mg (orally twice a day) for total 60 days. If organisms are penicillin sensitive, Amoxicillin 500 mg every 8 hourly for 60 days can be added with ciprofloxacin or doxycycline.

Presently, anti-toxins to neutralize monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies are under study and results are awaited.

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