Tuberculosis can be treated with antibiotics and successfully cured in most people. Treatment may last for at least six months and sometimes for as long as a year.
It is very important that people receiving treatment for TB take their medications as prescribed. If they stop taking the drugs too soon or take them incorrectly, the TB bacteria may become resistant to the medications and harder to treat.
If a person is diagnosed with a latent TB infection, their health care provider will decide if it is appropriate to treat the infection.
People with high risk should be treated with antibiotics to prevent them from developing TB disease.
TB treatment in people with HIV
People living with HIV who have TB disease or a latent TB infection can be treated effectively. Anyone with HIV should be tested for TB. If the results indicate a TB infection, further tests must be performed to distinguish latent TB infection from TB disease.
People diagnosed with a latent TB infection who also have HIV are much more likely to develop TB disease. They should receive treatment for a latent TB infection from their health care provider.
TB treatment during pregnancy
Pregnant women who are diagnosed with TB disease should start treatment as soon as TB is detected. Although the TB drugs used in treatment cross the placenta, these drugs do not appear to have harmful effects on the baby. Babies born to women with untreated TB disease may have lower birth weight than those babies born to women without TB.
TB treatment in children
Children infected with the TB bacteria are more likely to develop TB disease than adults. If a child has been diagnosed with TB, a pediatric TB expert should be involved in their treatment. TB disease in children is treated with antibiotic medicine for six to nine months. Children should also receive treatment for a latent TB infection. Parents should ensure that the child takes the medication exactly as prescribed by a health care provider.