Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Tuberculosis: Treatment of Tuberculosis Infection
What is tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis (say "too-burr-cue-low-sis"), also called TB, is an infection caused by a bacteria (a germ). Tuberculosis usually affects the lungs, but it can spread to the kidneys, bones, spine, brain and other parts of the body.
What does my test show?
Your tuberculosis skin test (also called a PPD test) shows that you've been infected with the germ that causes tuberculosis. You became infected when you came in contact with someone who had tuberculosis. The kind of tuberculosis infection you have is a mild infection. It is not what is called "active tuberculosis," when people have symptoms such as a cough, fever, night sweats, loss of energy or appetite and weight loss. Even though you don't have symptoms, you will need to take medicine to get rid of the infection.
How will my doctor treat the tuberculosis infection?
Your doctor will prescribe a medicine called isoniazid (say: "eye-so-nye-ah-zid") to prevent the tuberculosis infection from developing into the active disease and making you feel sick. This medicine must be taken every day for as long as your doctor tells you. Take the medicine on an empty stomach and drink a large glass of water, tea or juice with it. It is important to take all of the medicine. If you do not take all of the pills, you will not be protected against active tuberculosis.
Don't drink alcohol or take acetaminophen (brand name: Tylenol) when you're taking isoniazid. Always check with your doctor before you take any other medicine because some drugs interact with isoniazid and cause side effects.
Make sure you always have enough pills. It is important that you take the pills every day for as long as your doctor says. You can get isoniazid for free from your local public health department.
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the symptoms listed here:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Continued loss of appetite
  • Dark (coffee-colored) urine
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Rash or itching
  • Tingling or burning feeling in your hands or feet
  • Tiredness without reason
  • Vomiting
  • Yellow color of eyes or skin