The different medications used to treat tuberculosis are associated with specific side effects:
Isoniazid – Side effects: tingling or pain in hands and feet (neuropathy); nausea and vomiting; skin rash; fever; may cause liver problems (hepatitis) and psychosis.
Further info: may be necessary to take vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) to reduce neuropathy; caution - do not drink alcohol to excess (increases liver problems).
Rifampicin – reduces the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill so talk to your doctor about other forms of contraception. Side effects: nausea; vomiting; diarrhoea; skin rash; anaemia; liver problems (jaundice); fever; flu-like symptoms; can turn your body fluids orange (urine, faeces, tears and sperm) and permanently stain soft contact lenses.
Interactions: patients on Methadone may need to have their methadone dose adjusted; patients taking or tuberculosis medication side effects considering oral contraceptives or implants should discuss this with their doctor.
Further info: caution - do not drink alcohol to excess, do not take with food, but can be taken after food if nausea occurs; skipping medication may cause flu-like symptoms.
Ethambutol or Myambutol – Side effects: skin rashes; may cause eye problems, such as blurred vision and disturbance in red-green colour vision, nausea; vomiting; headaches; dizziness and joint pain.
Further info: report immediately any skin rash and any change to eyesight. . Your eyesight will be checked during treatment but you should stop taking the medication if your vision is affected and call your doctor straight away.
FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE: Ethambutol and TB
Pyrazinamide – can lead to nausea and a loss of appetite. It is usually only taken for the first two to three months of treatment. Consult with your doctor if you develop unexplained rashes, fever, aches or joint pains.
Some things to note when taking TB medications
When taking tuberculosis medications, it is important to be aware of a few basic cautions:
Report any side effects to your doctor immediately.The different medications used to treat tuberculosis are associated with specific side effects:
Tell your TB doctor about any other medications you are taking.
Medication must be taken for long enough to kill all of the tuberculosis bacteria – a minimum of six months.
Take your medications regularly and do not stop taking them, even when you feel better. Irregular use can lead to the tuberculosis bacteria becoming resistant to the medications.
Alcohol can increase drug side effects and toxicity because both can affect the liver. Avoid drinking alcohol while on tuberculosis treatment.
I know only too well from personal experience the terrible side effects of tuberculosis medication. BUT YOU MUST CONTINUE MEDICATION. If like I did you feel your doctor is being unhelpful DO NOT STOP TAKING MEDICATION. GET A SECOND OPINION
Tell your doctor immediately if you experience illness or symptoms
It is important to tell your doctor or health care worker immediately if you experience any unexplained illness or the following symptoms:
Nausea or vomiting
Jaundice – yellowish skin or eyes, dark urine (orange/red urine is a normal side effect and is not harmful)
Unexplained fever or tiredness
Tingling or numbness of hands or feet, or joint pains
Skin rash, itching skin or bruising
Visual changes or change in red-green colour vision.
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What to look out for when taking TB meds
As with most powerful medications those used to treat tb can have serious side affects which should be monitored by caregivers
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