Skip to Content
Treatment of active
tuberculosis (TB) in children is usually different
from treatment of TB in adults. In children younger than 4 years, TB is more
likely to spread beyond the lungs (extrapulmonary TB). It is also harder to get from children a
sputum sample that grows TB bacteria.footnote 1 So the doctor may assume that a child is infected with the
same type of TB bacteria as the person who most likely infected him or
In general, TB treatment in children usually begins with 3 medicines
instead of 4 because:
Children with TB usually take isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide
for 2 months. Treatment then continues for at least 4 more months with
isoniazid and rifampin. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) also may be recommended during
TB treatment if the child is not eating a good diet or isn't getting enough
Directly observed therapy (DOT) is usually done to
make sure that the child takes all of the medicine.
Additional medicines taken for a longer time may be needed for
A child taking ethambutol to treat a TB infection should have his or
her vision checked every month.
American Thoracic Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Infectious Diseases Society of America (2003). Treatment of tuberculosis. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 167(4): 603–662.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerR. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
Current as ofMay 24, 2016
Current as of:
May 24, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2017 Rush-Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)