Tuberculosis (TB) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Active tuberculosis (TB)
Several antibiotics are used at the same time to treat active tuberculosis (TB) disease. For people who have multidrug-resistant TB, treatment may continue for as long as 24 months. These antibiotics are given as pills or injections.
For active TB, there are different treatment recommendations for people who have HIV and TB, people who have drug-resistant TB, children, and pregnant women.
TB disease that occurs in parts of your body other than the lungs (extrapulmonary TB) usually is treated with the same medicines and for the same length of time as active TB in the lungs (pulmonary TB). But TB throughout the body (miliary TB) or TB that affects the brain or the bones and joints in children may be treated for at least 12 months.
Corticosteroid medicines also may be given in some severe cases to reduce inflammation. They may be helpful for children at risk of central nervous system problems caused by TB and for people who have conditions such as high fever, TB throughout the body (miliary TB), pericarditis, or peritonitis.
One antibiotic usually is used to treat latent TB infection, which cannot be spread to others but can develop into active TB disease. The antibiotic usually is taken for 4 to 9 months.1 Or more than one antibiotic may be taken once a week for 12 weeks.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.
Multiple-drug therapy to treat TB usually involves taking four antibiotics at the same time. This is the standard treatment for active TB.
What to think about
If you miss doses of medicine or you stop treatment too soon, your treatment may go on longer or you may have to start over. This can also cause the infection to get worse or lead to antibiotic-resistant infections that are much harder to treat.
Taking all of the medicines is especially important for people who have an impaired immune system. They may be at an increased risk for a relapse because the original TB infection was never cured.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.