Treatment of TB is necessary in order to reduce the risk that a TB infection will progress to active disease, or to cure a person with active disease and eliminate the risk of spreading the illness. Treatment of tuberculosis is accomplished with the use of antibiotics.
Treatment for a Latent TB Infection:
Persons with a latent TB infection are not sick, have no symptoms and cannot spread tuberculosis to others. However, they may develop active TB disease in the future. Treatment is recommended to cure the infection and assure that TB does not progress to an active contagious illness.
A latent TB infection is most often treated with one antibiotic call Isoniazid
or INH for short. The medication is usually taken daily for a period of 9 months. Although most individuals tolerate this medication well, vitamin B6 may also be recommended to minimize side effects. These prescriptions are available through your local health department at no cost. In addition, health department staff will monitor your progress on a monthly basis for the duration of the treatment.
Treatment of Active TB Disease:
Individuals with active tuberculosis are sick, have symptoms, and can spread the disease to others. Treatment lasts between 6 and 12 months and performed utilizing Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) whereby a public health clinician will observe the patient taking the medication daily.
Treatment of active TB is accomplished using a combination of antibiotics. Currently there are 10 drugs approved by the FDA for treatment of tuberculosis. The most common of these antibiotics are:
- Isoniazid (INH)
- Ethambutol, and
- Pyrazinamide (PZA)
Regimens for treating active tuberculosis have an initial phase of 2 months followed by a continuation phase of 4 to 7 months. All medications are available through the local health department at no cost and a public health clinician monitors the status of the patient.
Treatment for active TB is mandatory and can be ordered by the local Health Officer or Administrator according to K.S.A. 65-129