Can TB be completely cured?
TB can usually be completely cured by the person with TB taking a combination of TB drugs.
The only time that TB may not be curable is when the person has drug resistant TB. Even then the person may still be permanently cured by changing the drugs that the person is taking in order that they can have a complete cure for their TB. These different drugs are called second line drugs.
TB is still very serious because if people don't take their drugs correctly or they don't take the correct drugs they may not be cured. This is why so many people still die from TB because their TB is not completely cured.
Is TB contagious?
Something being contagious is the same as something being infectious. TB is contagious which means that it can be passed on, or that TB can be spread, from one person to another. But if a person is taking TB drugs then it is likely that they are only contagious for the first two weeks that they are taking TB drugs.
The length of treatment to cure TB
If a patient is going to be cured of TB, they need to take their TB drugs for at least six months. It is very important not to skip days or some people will even skip several weeks of treatment. If this is done, this is when a person may not be cured.
What drugs does a person with TB need to take?
If a person with tuberculosis (active TB) has never taken drugs for TB before, then the drugs which are likely to be effective are:
- & Ethambutol
There is more about this on the page on TB treatment.
What does drug resistant TB mean?
TB is caused by bacteria in a persons body. If a person has drug sensitive TB it means that if the person takes first line drugs which are some of the most effective TB drugs, then the bacteria will be completely killed by the drugs. It is still necessary to take several drugs.
If a person has drug resistant TB it means that the TB bacteria that the person is infected with, will not respond to, and are therefore resistant to, at least one of the main TB drugs. Having drug sensitive TB is the opposite to having drug resistant TB. If a person has drug sensitive TB then if they take first line drugs, they will probably be cured. They still need to take all their drugs correctly. If a person has drug resistant TB then they can probably still be cured but they need to take second line drugs.
This page was last updated in July 2022.
Author Annabel Kanabus
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