TREATMENT TUBERCULOSIS (TB): Medical Treatment of Tuberculosis

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 Today, doctors treat most people with TB outside the hospital. Gone are the days of going to the mountains for long periods of bed rest. Doctors seldom use surgery.

 Doctors will prescribe several special medications that you must take for 6-9 months.

 Standard therapy for active TB consists of a 6-month regimen:

 2 months with Rifater (isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide)

 4 months of isoniazid and rifampin (Rifamate, Rimactane)

 Ethambutol (Myambutol) or streptomycin added until your drug sensitivity is known

 Treatment takes that long because the disease organisms grow very slowly and, unfortunately, also die very slowly.

 Doctors use multiple drugs to reduce the likelihood of resistant organisms emerging.

 Often the drugs will be changed or chosen based on the laboratory results.

 If doctors doubt that you are taking your medicine, they may have you come to the office for doses. Prescribing doses twice a week helps assure compliance.

 The most common cause of treatment failure is people's failure to comply with the medical regimen. This may lead to the emergence of drug-resistant organisms. You must take your medications as directed, even if you are feeling better.

 Another important aspect of tuberculosis treatment is public health.

 Doctors likely will contact or trace your relatives and friends.

 Your relatives and friends may need to undergo appropriate skin tests and chest x-rays. ©2016.