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Tuberculosis

Alcohol and Smoking with TB

11/05/2010

Question:

I have been diagnosed with active Lung TB 5 months ago. I started the treatment with a cocktail of 4 types of antibiotics for 2 months and then reduced to Rimactazid since. X-rays have shown clinical improvement and the Liver Functioning taken every 3 weeks have all been normal. Sputum culture tests have gone negative(which is good) and the positive ones showed sensitivity to all antibiotics.

Now I am a casual smoker, I occasionally smoke(none to three a day). I know I should really stop and I have really improved reducing the amount from when I was diganosed. But I am human after all, and I feel so ashamed of the fact that I still smoke considering the reality. I wanted to know the risks of smoking while on treatment? Could the bacteria develop resistence because of it? Does it slow the healing process? Does it increase the chance of a relapse?

Second topic is Alcohol consumption. I am young, 21 years old. And I enjoy having a beer or two every once in a while(one a week to once a fortnight). I have read that the half-life of Rifmapin and Isoinazid (which is what I take now in the form of Rimaktazid) is about 2 and a half hours. If my liver functions are normal, my urine is red\orangish, I take the meds in the mornings and have the ocasional beer at night is it fine? Can it cause the treatment to be less effective?

Thank you very much for you valuable time reading and responding to my questions.

Answer:

There is not much known about the risks of smoking while on treatment for pulmonary TB. I don't know of any evidence that the TB bacteria could develop resistance because of smoking. However, surgeons routinely tell patients to stop smoking before they undergo operations, because smoking slows the healing process, and most physicians wouldn't be surprised to hear that smoking is bad for the lungs of patients with TB disease.

Do you think you could stop smoking until your TB is cured? And, if you can stop smoking for that long, why not quit forever!

Please refer to Dr. Shu-Hua Wang's excellent answer to the question, "How does alcohol affect my TB treatment?" posted on 09/14/2007 (see link), for her perspective on alcohol and TB. Best of luck in obtaining a cure of your TB disease. Stopping smoking and drinking during the period of your treatment is a good idea!

Related Resources:

How does alcohol affect my TB treatment?

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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