Treating Tuberculosis in Children
Treatment of active Reference tuberculosis Opens New Window (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 (Reference extrapulmonary TB Opens New Window). It is also harder to get from children a Reference sputum Opens New Window sample that grows TB bacteria.Reference 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 her.
In general, TB treatment in children usually begins with 3 medicines instead of 4 because:
- The number of bacteria usually is small.
- It may be hard to determine if a child is having vision problems, which can be caused by ethambutol.
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 nutrients. Reference Directly observed therapy (DOT) Opens New Window 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 children:
- With extrapulmonary TB.
- Who are infected with TB and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- Who are infected with TB bacteria that cannot be killed by 1 or more antibiotics.
A child taking ethambutol to treat a TB infection should have his or her vision checked every month.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 15, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology