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How can I keep from developing TB disease

If you have latent TB infection (a positive TB skin test reaction or positive TB blood test) and you are in one of these high-risk groups, you need to take medicine to keep from developing TB disease.

This is called treatment for latent TB infection. There are several treatment options:

  1. One treatment option for latent TB infection is isoniazid (INH). Taken for 6 to 9 months, INH kills the TB bacteria that are in the body. If you take your medicine as instructed by your doctor or nurse, it can keep you from developing TB disease. Children, adolescents, and people infected with HIV who have latent TB infection need to take INH for 9 months. The preferred regimen for children 2-11 years old is 9 months of daily INH.

  2. Another effective treatment option for people with latent TB infection is the 12-dose regimen. This regimen of INH and rifapentine (RPT) is taken once a week for 3 months under directly observed therapy (DOT). This means the patient will meet with a health worker at a place they both agree on, and the health worker will observe the patient taking the medicine.

You and your health care provider must decide which treatment option is best for you.

Because there is fewer bacteria, treatment for latent TB infection is much easier than treatment for TB disease. A person with TB disease has a large amount of TB bacteria in the body. Several drugs are needed to treat TB disease.