Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow

What is the treatment for tuberculosis?

The treatment for TB depends on the type of TB infection and drug sensitivity of the mycobacteria. For latent TB, three anti-TB drugs are used in four different recommended schedules. The drugs are isoniazid (INH), rifampin (RIF; Rifadin), and rifapentine (RPT; Priftin) and the CDC's four recommended schedules are below and are chosen by the treating doctor based on the patients overall health and type of TB the patient was likely exposed to.

Latent TB Infection Treatment Regimens
DrugsDurationIntervalMinimum Doses
Table reproduced and modified from the CDC;
Isoniazid9 monthsDaily
Twice weekly
Isoniazid6 monthsDaily
Twice weekly
Isoniazid and Rifapentine3 monthsOnce weekly12
Rifampin4 monthsDaily120

First-line drugs used to treat active TB are INH, RIF, ethambutol (EMB; Myambutol), and pyrazinamide. The CDC offers a guide for the basic treatment schedules for active TB as follows:

Basic TB Disease Treatment Regimens
Preferred RegimenAlternative RegimenAlternative Regimen
*EMB can be discontinued if drug susceptibility studies demonstrate susceptibility to first-line drugs; Table reproduced and modified from
Initial Phase
Daily INH, RIF, PZA, and EMB* for 56 doses (8 weeks)
Initial Phase
Daily INH, RIF, PZA, and EMB* for 14 doses (2 weeks), then twice weekly for 12 doses (6 weeks)
Initial Phase
Thrice-weekly INH, RIF, PZA, and EMB* for 24 doses (8 weeks)
Continuation Phase
Daily INH and RIF for 126 doses (18 weeks)
twice-weekly INH and RIF for 36 doses (18 weeks)
Continuation Phase
Twice-weekly INH and RIF for 36 doses (18 weeks)
Continuation Phase
Thrice-weekly INH and RIF for 54 doses (18 weeks)

The most current treatment guidelines need to be reviewed and correlated to the patient's specific condition and circumstances before any treatment is started.

Treatment of drug-resistant TB can be difficult. Patients with these infections are recommended by the CDC to involve infectious-disease specialists as there are multiple approaches that involve other anti-TB drugs and variable treatment schedules that can be used. In addition, there are new drugs and treatment schedules being developed and approved by the FDA. The infectious-disease consultant may be aware of these newest treatments that may benefit specific patients. For example, bedaquiline (Sirturo) has been approved for treatment of MDR TB.

Some side effects of treatment may include the following:

Patients are urged to see their doctor if any side effects occur.

In some patients, the lung destruction may be severe and the only treatment left may be surgical resection of the diseased lung tissue.

Medications are needed for TB treatment; at best, home remedies may help reduce symptoms but will not treat TB. Home remedies may include milk, pineapple, Indian gooseberry, bananas, and many others. Patients should discuss these remedies with their doctors before use.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/2/2016
Is It Contagious? Test Your Medical IQ

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

  • Tuberculosis (TB) - Treatment

    What was the treatment for your TB?

    Post View 11 Comments
  • Tuberculosis (TB) - Symptoms

    What were the symptoms of your TB?

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Tuberculosis (TB) - Prognosis

    What is your TB prognosis?

  • Tuberculosis (TB) - Cause

    What caused your TB?

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Tuberculosis - Diagnosis

    How was the diagnosis of your tuberculosis established?

    Post View 21 Comments
  • Tuberculosis - Experience

    If known, how did you or a loved one contract TB?

    Post View 4 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors