TB disease is always treated at first with a combination of four medicines. The basic TB drugs are rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, ethambutol and streptomycin. The last one is an antibiotic which is injected in the muscle.
The drug doses are prescribed according to the patient’s weight. TB medication must be taken regularly every day in an empty stomach. It is not always easy. That is why, in Finland, a qualified worker is present to support the patient when taking the medication. At the same time, the worker makes sure the patient swallows every dosage and observes possible adverse effects of medication. Every person who has contracted TB disease has the right for such observed treatment. If a patient interrupts treatment on his own or stops taking some medicine every now and then it can lead to development of a TB strain which is resistant to TB medication.
Treatment of ordinary TB which is sensitive to basic TB drugs lasts at least six months. The treatment can last longer if the disease is severe. In normal cases 4 drugs are used during the first two months then two drugs.