Treating Latent Tuberculosis
You take medicine so that you do not get sick with Tuberculosis (TB) disease.
Your doctor has found that:
- You had a positive skin test
- You had TB in the past and did not have enough treatment
This means that you may have TB germs in your body.
The medicine is called INH (isoniazid). It is available as a pill or as a liquid (syrup).
Usually a vitamin (B6) pill is also given. Sometimes another medicine (rifampin) is used instead of INH and B6.
The medicine kills the germs before they start actively growing and making you sick.
Usually you take the INH for 9 to 12 months. The TB germs are very strong and it takes many months to kill them with the medicine.
It is very important to take the medicine until your health care provider tells you to stop. If you do not take the medicine as directed then some germs might stay in your body and could make you sick or become very difficult to treat (resistant to medication.)
It is important to take the medicine every day or it may not work.
If you forget to take the medicine, take it as soon as you can, but never take two pills at the same time.
Take the medicine at the same time every day – for example, first thing in the morning or at bedtime.
Try to take the medicine on an empty stomach. If it hurts your stomach, take with food.
Keep your medicine out of reach of children.
Store it at room temperature in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Do not take your medication if it has expired.
Yes, when TB medication is taken as it is ordered it is usually safe.
It is important not to drink alcohol when you are taking the medicine.
Most people feel well, but the medicine can make some people feel sick. Call your health care provider right away if you have:
- An upset stomach or vomiting
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Very dark urine
- Loss of appetite
- Skin rash or itchy skin
- A feeling of being very tired or weak
- Painful or tingling feeling in your fingers or toes
People who take the medicine every day as ordered almost never get sick with active TB.
People who do not take the medicine every day may get sick with active TB in the future.
The medicine is free. Health care providers should contact the health unit to order.