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Medicine for Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) can scar the lungs and other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, bones, or the brain. TB can even be fatal. Get medical treatment right away if you have tested positive for TB. This includes taking one or more antibiotics for as many as 3 to 12 months or more. It is vital that you follow your treatment plan as directed.


Take all of your medicine as prescribed. If you don’t, the TB may not go away and you may still be infected.

Treatment with medicine

Inactive TB (latent TB infection) and active TB disease are treated with antibiotics. You may have tests to tell which medicines are right for you. Latent TB is treated with 1 or 2 antibiotics at a time. Active TB disease is treated with 2 to 4 antibiotics at a time. Treatment takes 3 to12 months or more, depending on your condition. Many people feel better after taking their medicines for only a few weeks. But it's very important to keep taking them exactly as you are told. This should cure the disease. If you don’t finish taking all your medicine as prescribed, your symptoms may come back.

Man taking pills in kitchen.

Follow your treatment plan

Follow the instructions on your prescription. Follow any instructions your healthcare provider gives you. This is the only way to cure the TB infection fully. Take all of your medicines, even if you are not having any symptoms. If you don’t take the medicines as prescribed you can become sick again. And you can perhaps spread the disease to other people. If you don't take the medicines correctly, the germs that are still alive can become resistant to the medicines.

Go for follow-up exams

It's important to go for follow-up exams if you have latent TB infection or active TB disease, Exams help to make sure any medicine you’re given is working and that you're not having severe side effects. The only way to cure TB is to take all of your medicine as instructed.

To learn more

For more information on TB, call your local health department. Or visit the American Lung Association at or call 800-586-4872.

Online Medical Reviewer: Barry Zingman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2022
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