Tuberculosis (TB) - Treatment Overview
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.
Treatment for active tuberculosis
Health experts recommend:4
Treatment for latent tuberculosis
Experts recommend one of the following:
- Using one medicine to kill the TB bacteria and prevent active
- 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 is another choice. This is an acceptable
alternate treatment, especially for people who have been exposed to bacteria
that are resistant to isoniazid.1
- Taking two antibiotics once a week for 12 weeks to kill the TB bacteria.5 For this treatment, a health professional watches you take each dose of antibiotics. Taking every dose of antibiotic helps prevent the TB bacteria from getting resistant to the antibiotics. The antibiotic combinations include isoniazid and rifapentine or isoniazid and rifampin.
recommended for anyone with a skin test that shows a TB infection, and is
especially important for people who:
- Are known to or are likely to be infected
close contact with a person who has active TB.
- Have a chest X-ray
that suggests a TB infection and have not had a complete course of
- Inject illegal drugs.
- Have medical
conditions or take medicines that
weaken the immune system.
Treatment for extrapulmonary tuberculosis
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
- Severe symptoms.
- 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.