Tuberculosis and Chest Service Department of Health - What is the treatment for TB?
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What is the treatment for TB?

Nowadays, the treatment for TB is very effective. The great majority of TB patients can be cured with drug treatment. The TB & Chest Service of the Department of Health provides treatment to patients free of charge. The usual course of drug treatment lasts 6 months:

  • - Four drugs in the first 2 months: isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol

  • - Two drugs in the subsequent 4 months: isoniazid, rifampicin
The drugs are taken either daily or three times per week. They have to be given under direct observation (DOT, directly observed treatment) by health-care staff. Regular drug treatment is a pre-requisite for treatment success. In certain circumstances, the doctor may have to modify the drug treatment to suit the particular needs of individual patients. The great majority of patients can be considered as non-infectious after 2 weeks of effective drug treatment.

If the treatment is taken irregularly, there may be serious consequences:
  • - the TB germs become resistant to the drugs
  • - the disease cannot be cured
  • - the disease can be spread to others
  • - death


1) Anti-TB chemotherapy: patients will usually take 3 to 4 kinds of drug; They may take the drugs once per day or 3 times per week. 2) Directly observed treatment, short course (DOTS): The TB patient takes every dose of the medication under the direct observation of health personnel or a designated person. Length of treatment: Six months treatment; Occasionally 9 months to 1 year; infectivity drops to minimal after 2 weeks of treatment. Chemotherapy is very effective, success rate is very high. 3) Non-compliance in chemotherapy: it will lead to drug resistance; infecting other people; disease progression; death