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Tuberculosis

Female Woman Over 50 with TB Infection

04/01/2009

Question:

I am 50 year old and take medication for highblood pressure. I took a skin TB test and I was recently dignosed with Laten TB, There were no signs of TB found on my chest x-ray but I was offered to go on a 9 month 300 mg isoniazid (INH) treatment program because I am a new converter. Which treatment would be safer for my age? What are the most important factors to consider regarding welbeing during this stage?

Answer:

New TB skin test converters are highly likely to be recently infected, and have a 5-7% chance of progressing to active TB disease within the next 2 years, even with good health and a normal immune system (the risk of progressing to disease is higher if the person's immune system is weak). Because of this risk, new TB skin test converters are advised to take treatment of latent TB infection (TLTBI), regardless of age, once active TB has been ruled out by medical evaluation and chest x-ray.

There are two different drugs currently used for TLTBI in the US: Isoniazid (which has been used since 1950), and Rifampin (which has been around since the early 1970's). You will need to talk with your doctor about the safety of either agent in the context of your particular situation, including interactions with any medications you take.

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Response by:

Lisa A Haglund, MD Lisa A Haglund, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati