Treating Tuberculosis in Children
Treatment of active tuberculosis (TB) in children is usually different from treatment of TB in adults. In children younger than 4 years, TB is more likely to spread beyond the lungs (extrapulmonary TB). It is also harder to get from children a sputum sample that grows TB bacteria.1 So the doctor may assume that a child is infected with the same type of TB bacteria as the person who most likely infected him or her.
In general, TB treatment in children usually begins with 3 medicines instead of 4 because:
Children with TB usually take isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide for 2 months. Treatment then continues for at least 4 more months with isoniazid and rifampin. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) also may be recommended during TB treatment if the child is not eating a good diet or isn't getting enough nutrients. Directly observed therapy (DOT) is usually done to make sure that the child takes all of the medicine.
Additional medicines taken for a longer time may be needed for children:
A child taking ethambutol to treat a TB infection should have his or her vision checked every month.
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