How to Manage TB

  • Tuberculosis is completely curable by administering anti-tuberculosis therapy (ATT) provided the treatment regime includes :
    • Adequate combination of drugs (according to severity)
    • Adequate dose of drugs (according to weight)
    • Adequate duration (no premature stopping of drugs)
    • Adequate compliance / regularity of drug intake (under your physician’s supervision)
  • If the patient is not treated properly (for whatever reason) the TB germs get resistant to the inadequate and irregularly administered drugs causing the more dangerous form of TB, called the Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). It has a low cure rate in spite of requiring very expensive medicines for a long duration.
  • Tuberculosis is a very serious disease which can even result in death of the patient. The organ affected by TB can be damaged permanently, therefore the patient needs to remain on anti-TB drugs even after he starts feeling better (within 2-3 weeks), for it takes a long time to eliminate all the bacilli in the body. TB germs remain in the patient’s body even after the patient stops feeling sick.
  • A combination of drugs is used because of the following advantages :
    • The tubercle bacilli can be attacked at the various stages during their lifecycle.
    • To decrease risk of drug resistance.
    • To cut short the duration of treatment.
  • The duration of therapy depends on the regimen employed by the physician :
    • Conventional Chemotherapy – which is given for 12 months or more.
    • Short Course Chemotherapy (SCC) – which is usually given for 6 – 9 months.
    • Treatment of Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) which is usually given for 20 – 24 months.
  • The goals of treatment is to :
    • cure the patient with minimum side-effects.
    • prevent death from TB.
    • prevent relapse of TB.
    • prevent emergence of drug resistance TB (MDR-TB).
    • destroy all TB germs present in the infected person and decrease spread to others (protect the community).
  • Occasionally anti-TB drugs can cause some side-effects which prompts the patient to discontinue them. This practice should be discouraged as it may result in the patient getting MDR-TB. All side effects should be reported to your physician.