I Was On 10 Painkillers a Day To Survive TB: Amitabh Bachchan

Health News
3 min read
I Was On 10 Painkillers a Day To Survive TB: Amitabh Bachchan

“I am a tuberculosis survivor” and that is why “I took up” the cause of spreading awareness about the disease, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan said ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day (March 24).

The superstar revealed that he was diagnosed with the disease on the day he started shooting for his hit show, Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Many people ask me why I contribute my services to a medical cause. I have had a complicated medical history. One of the reasons I took up tuberculosis (TB) is because I am a survivor. In (the year) 2000, I was detected with TB and went through a very rigorous treatment for almost a year. I contracted TB of the spine on the day I was going to start TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati. 
Amitabh Bachchan, Actor

Most of the times the superstar was on more than eight to nine painkillers a day just to sit through while anchoring the show.


Amitabh Bachchan’s Battle With Tuberculosis

Amitabh Bachchan and US Ambassador to India Richard Verma during a press briefing on the US government’s commitment to end tuberculosis (Photo: PTI)

Bachchan said because of his condition around the launch of the first edition of Kaun Banega Crorepati, he was continuously in touch with his doctors.

It was diagnosed in a routine MRI of my spine. The reason I disclosed it is that I felt that the word survivor is somehow a very powerful word. When I say I am a TB survivor, it seems like I survived a plane crash or boat sinking. If you survive that, it lends a lot of power and strength to what you are saying deeper. It’s like saying that I have survived it because I went through a process.
Amitabh Bachchan, Actor

The megastar was not new to medical hiccups. The treatment of his near fatal accident more than three decades ago on the sets of Manmohan Desai’s Coolie, gave him hepatitis B, a chronic liver disease. The ailment destroyed more than 75% of his liver.

It took a year of hardcore treatment for Bachchan to completely get rid of tuberculosis.

Related Read: Are We Losing the Battle Against Tuberculosis?

The Burden Of TB In India

In 2011, Dr Zarir Udwadia of Hinduja Hospital, reported in a medical journal that he had four TB patients that were resistant to all types of treatment. In a couple of months, there were 15 such cases (Photo: Hinduja Hospital)

India has the highest burden of TB in the world, followed by China and South Africa. More than 80 million people tested have been tested for this deadly disease with only a fourth of these patients getting cured in the last decade.

The disease reflects the silent plague that urban India is waking up to. The ancient scourge tamed by modern drugs has evolved into a new, indestructible disease which kills more than a thousand Indians every day.

The situation is dire: over the next three decades, 75 million people in the world are likely to lose their lives to drug-resistant TB, and by 2050, the infection could cost the global economy as much as $17 trillion.

An easily treatable, curable disease which was on the verge of decline in the 70s, has metamorphosed into a deadly, drug-resistant killer, which infects more than two million Indians annually.

Yet, according to the 2015 Report of Joint Monitoring Mission of the RNTCP, over a million undiagnosed cases of TB slip through the cracks. The same report puts the economic burden of TB to the Indian economy between 2006 - 2014 at a staggering $340 billion.

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