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If I Have LTBI, How Can I Keep from Developing TB Disease?

Many people who have Latent TB Infection(LTBI) never develop TB disease. But some people who have LTBI are more likely to develop TB disease than others. These people are at high risk for TB disease. They include:

* people with HIV infection
* people in close contact with a person who has infectious TB
* people who became infected with TB bacteria in the last 2 years
* immune system
* elderly people
* babies and young children
* people who inject drugs

If you have LTBI (a positive skin test reaction or positive reaction to QuantiFeron ot Elispot) and you are in one of these high-risk groups, you need to take medicine to treat your LTBI and keep from developing TB disease. People who have LTBI but do not get the treatment need to know the symptoms of TB. If they develop symptoms of TB disease later on, they should see a doctor right away.

The medicine usually used for LTBI is a drug called isoniazid or INH. INH kills the TB bacteria that are inactive in the body. If you take your medicine as prescribed, LTBI treatment will keep you from ever developing TB disease. Standard INH treatment lasts for 9 months.

Sometimes people are given LTBI treatment even if their TB test reaction is not positive. This is often done with infants, children, and HIV-infected people who have recently spent time with someone with infectious TB disease. This is because they are at very high risk of developing serious TB disease soon after they become infected with TB bacteria. It is important that you take all the pills prescribed for you so that your LTBI treatment is effective. If you start taking INH, you will need to see your doctor or nurse on a regular schedule. He or she will check on how you are doing. Very few people have serious side effects to INH. However, if you have any of the following side effects, stop taking INH and call your doctor or nurse right away:

* no appetite
* nausea
* vomiting
* yellowish skin or eyes
* fever for more 3 days
* abdominal pain
* tingling in the fingers and toes

Warning: Drinking alcoholic beverages (wine, beer, and liquor) while taking INH can be dangerous. Check with your doctor or nurse for more information.