Giving your child medicines to prevent tuberculosis (TB)
If your child has been diagnosed with latent tuberculosis (TB), it means that there are TB germs in the body but they are not active. Your child will need to take medicine to ensure tuberculosis does not develop.
How is TB treated?
When a child is diagnosed with latent TB, they will not show any symptoms and will not be infectious to others.
However, without treatment, there is a chance that your child could develop symptoms in the future. To stop this happening your child will need to take some medicines for about six months to get rid of the TB bacteria. These medicines are also needed if your child has been in contact with TB and is very young or already has a weak immune system.
It is important that your child takes the medicines as instructed by the doctor and TB nurse. The medicines will only treat TB if the complete course is taken. The treatment must not be stopped without advice from your doctor, as the TB will return and may be resistant to certain medicines, making treatment more difficult.
Some TB medicines may affect pregnancy or unborn babies, so we may ask your daughter (if she is 12 years old or older) about her periods and whether there is any chance that she could be pregnant.
Important information about TB prevention medication
- Keep the tablets or liquid in a safe place where children cannot reach them.
- Tablets and liquids should be stored at room temperature.
- It is important to take the dose as directed by the doctor, TB nurse or pharmacist.
- Particular foods, such as chocolate pudding or jelly, can affect how the medicine is absorbed by the body. Speak to a TB nurse or pharmacist if there are particular issues.
- While your child is having their treatment, it is also important that you tell your doctor, TB nurse or pharmacist about any other medicines your child is taking. This includes medicines on a prescription from your GP, medicines bought from a chemist or any homeopathic or herbal medicines.
- These medicines are prescribed specifically for your child. Do not give them to anyone else, even if they seem to have the same symptoms.
- Always order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time, at least one week before you need the tablets or liquids.
- The dose may change regularly as it is worked out according to your child’s weight. As your child grows, the dose will increase. If you are not sure about your child’s dose schedule, please check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
- If the doctor decides to stop TB treatment, return any remaining tablets or liquid to the pharmacist. Do not flush them away.
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) switchboard: 020 7405 9200
Pharmacy dept: 020 7829 8680
Pharmacy Medicines Information: 020 7829 8608
Last reviewed by Great Ormond Street Hospital: August 2008
Ref: 08F0269 © GOSH Trust August 2008
Compiled by the Infectious Diseases team in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Please read this information in conjunction with any patient information leaflet provided by the manufacturer. However, please note that this information explains about the use of medicines in children and young people so may differ from the manufacturer’s information.
Each person reacts differently to medicines so your child will not necessarily suffer every side effect mentioned. This information does not constitute health or medical advice and will not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. If you have any questions, please ask your doctor. No liability can be taken as a result of using this information.