With proper tuberculosis treatment, it is almost always curable. Docs usually prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria that cause TB. But you have to take them for six to nine months. The type of medications you take and for what period you need to take them depends on which works the best for you to eradicate your TB. Some antibiotics may not work for you. Then it is drug-resistant TB. If you are suffering from this type, then you may have to take stronger medications for a long time.
Tuberculosis Treatment for Latent Type
The latent TB can become re-active and may cause an active infection depending on you risk factors. Hence your docs may still prescribe medications even if you have latent TB to kill the inactive bacteria.
Following are the tuberculosis treatment options for Latent type:
- INH (Isoniazid) – It is the most common therapy for latent type. You have to take this antibiotic for 9 months daily.
- Isoniazid & Rifapentine – You will have to take both these antibiotics for 3 months once a week under your doc’s supervision.
- Rifampin – You need to take this antibiotic for 4 months each day. This is an alternative of INH doesn’t work.
Tuberculosis Treatment for Active Type
For active TB, you may have to take a number of antibiotics for about 6 to 9 months. Below are the commonly used medications to treat active TB
The test that your doctor may order helps to show which antibiotic kills the TB strain. You may have to take 3 or 4 antibiotics for 2 months based on the test results. Later you will have to take 2 antibiotics for 4 to 7 months. After a few weeks of tuberculosis treatment, you will start to feel better. Whether you are contagious or not, only a doctor can tell. Once you get clearance from your doc, you may return to your daily routine.
TB Treatment for Drug-Resistant Type
If you are suffering from drug resistant tuberculosis, you will have to see a TB specialist. If even several types of medications doesn’t work for you, then you have what the doctors call multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. You may have to take a combination of antibiotics for about 20 to 30 months. They are:
- Injectible antibiotics like kanamycin, amikacin and capreomycin
- Antibiotics called fluoroquinolones
- Linezolid and bedauiline which are newer antibiotic treatments. You will have to take them in addition to other medications. These medicines are still under study by scientists.
In rare cases, many of the common antibiotics like isoniazid, fluoroquinolones, rifampin and at the least one of the antibiotics that are injected to you doesn’t work. Then you have a rare and a serious type of TB called extremely drug resistant tuberculosis. Certain research shows that you can get cured of this type around 30 to 50% of the time.
Side Effects of TB Treatment
It’s better to tell your doctor immediately if you have any of the below symptoms:
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Fever for more than 3 days
- Nausea, vomiting or less appetite
- Dark or brown urine
- Yellowish eyes or skin
- Tingling or burning sensation of hands and feet
- Bloody nose
- Easy bruising
You must remember that every dose of your antibiotics is important. Even if you feel better, do not stop. If you don’t kill all the germs in your body, the remaining ones will adapt and may become drug resistant.