How is tuberculosis (TB) infection treated?
  • If a person has a TB infection (a positive skin test reaction, without the presence of TB disease ) and they are in one of these high-risk groups, they need to take medicine to keep from developing TB disease. This kind of treatment is called preventive therapy. Also, if they are younger than 35 and have TB infection without disease, they may benefit from preventive therapy even if they are not in a high-risk group.
  • People who have TB infection but do not receive preventive therapy need to know the symptoms of TB. If they develop symptoms of TB disease, later on, they should see a doctor right away.
  • A single medication is usually used for preventive therapy. It kills the TB bacteria that are inactive in the body. If a person takes their medicine as prescribed, preventive therapy will keep them from developing TB disease.
  • Most people must take preventive therapy between four and nine months, depending on the medication prescribed. Children and people with HIV infection need to take preventive therapy for a longer time.
  • Sometimes people are given preventive therapy even if their skin test reaction is not positive. This is often done with infants, children, and HIV-infected people who have recently spent time with someone with infectious TB disease. This is because they are at very high risk of developing serious TB disease soon after they become infected with TB bacteria.
  • It is important that people take all the pills prescribed for them so that their preventive therapy is effective. Persons starting on preventive therapy need to see their doctor or nurse on a regular schedule. He or she will check on how they are doing. Very few people have serious side effects on the medication. However, patients should report side effects to their doctor or nurse right away.

Show All Answers

1. What is tuberculosis?
2. What are the symptoms of tuberculosis (TB)?
3. How is tuberculosis (TB) spread?
4. What happens if I have a positive skin test?
5. What will happen on my first visit?
6. What if I am diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB)?
7. How Is tuberculosis (TB) disease treated?
8. What is Directly Observed Therapy (DOT)?
9. What Is Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB)?
10. What is tuberculosis (TB) infection?
11. How can a person get tested for tuberculosis (TB)?
12. What if a person has been vaccinated with BCG?
13. What people with tuberculosis (TB) infection are at risk of developing TB disease?
14. How is tuberculosis (TB) infection treated?
15. What if a person has HIV infection?