tuberculosis (TB) with
antibiotics to kill the TB bacteria. These medicines
are given to everyone who has TB, including infants, children, pregnant women,
and people who have a
weakened immune system.
When treating active TB, health experts recommend:4
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Using more than one medicine to prevent
multidrug-resistant TB. The standard treatment begins
with four medicines given for 2 months.
Continuing treatment for 4
to 9 months or longer if needed. The number of medicines used during this
time depends on the results of
directly observed therapy (DOT). This means visits
with a health professional who watches you every time you take your medicine. A
cure for TB requires you to take all doses of the antibiotics. These visits
ensure that people follow medicine instructions, which is helpful because of
the long treatment course for TB.
Trying a different combination of
medicines if the treatment is not working because of
drug resistance (when tests show that TB-causing
bacteria are still active).
Using one medicine to kill the TB bacteria and prevent active
TB. The standard treatment is isoniazid taken for 9 months. For people who
cannot take isoniazid for 9 months, sometimes a 6-month treatment program is
Treatment with rifampin for 4 months. This is an acceptable
alternate treatment, especially for people who have been exposed to bacteria
that is resistant to isoniazid.
recommended for anyone with a skin test that shows a TB infection, and is
especially important for people who:
Treatment for tuberculosis in parts of the body other than the lungs
(extrapulmonary TB) usually is the same as for
pulmonary TB. You may need other medicines or forms of treatment depending on
where the infection is in the body and whether complications develop.
You may need treatment in a hospital if you
TB that is
resistant to multiple-drug therapy.
What to think about
If treatment is not successful, the TB infection can flare up again (relapse). People who have relapses usually have them within 6 to 12 months after treatment. Treatment for relapse is based on the severity of the disease and
which medicines were used during the first treatment.