Reviewed by Dr. Michael Iseman

Some of these drugs can cause liver damage, so your doctor will monitor your liver with blood tests during the course of your treatment. You should avoid acetaminophen (Tylenol) and alcohol while having TB treatment, as these can also cause liver damage. Also, women should be aware that rifampin makes hormonal birth control methods (such as the pill, implants, and the patch) less effective. Ethambutol can affect eyesight, including visual acuity and color vision, and some patients on this drug will need regular eye tests.

If you are having trouble taking your medications for any reason—forgetfulness, uncomfortable side effects such as nausea, or anything else—talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to help.

You may be asked to take your antibiotics under the observation of your doctor or other health care professional. This method of administration is called directly observed therapy (DOT) is the preferred way to treat TB disease. Many health departments will arrange for a health care worker to meet you daily at home or at work for this purpose. This is because forgetting to take your medication, or failure to take your medication as prescribed, can lead to the life-threatening condition of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB). Treating MDR-TB requires long hospital stays and high doses of antibiotic medications that often have severe side effects.


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