Tuberculosis medication and side effects, please help!!!
by Pillu, Dec 29, 2007
In Jan 06 I was ill with cough, cold and irregular fever (no sweat and no weight loss) for almost 2 months. Later in April 06, I got a small lymph node at the neck. After the blood test doctor diagnosed it as Tuberculosis but the chest x-ray was clear. They started my treatment for TB related to lymph node.  Starting from 25th July 06 for the first 3 months medicine was as follows:
Rifampin 7 a day, Ethambutol 2 a day and pyridoxin 1 a week

After continuing medication for 3 weeks I felt severe pain in my right leg (in between  my knee and heels). Doctor done the bone scan on it. I don't know the exact report for it but doctor suggested that the pain might be the medicine side effect and it will go away eventually. After 3 months (during which pain in leg was continued) my medicine was changed as follows:
Rifinah 2 a day and pyridoxin 1 a week

After changing the medicine, the pain in leg was slowly disappeared. Just to make sure doctor done one more bone scan on my leg in Jan 07. They found a spot (near the  
bone) and suggested that it might be related to bone TB. Since I was already on the TB medication they asked me to continue it for longer time. I continued the medicine for almost 10 months till August 07.  By this time the lymph node at the neck was vanished completely.

After 2 months of finishing the medicine the pain similar to right leg re-appeared but in left leg. It was not severe and disappeared in a month’s time. Doctor still done an MRI scan and it reveled 3 small spots (again near the bone) and referred back me to the TB doctor.

I've already taken the medicine for 13 months and now I'm afraid that TB doctor may ask me to continue it for few more months. I'm not sure if it's really a proper diagnosis and taking the TB medicine for such a long time may cause any other side effects.
I'm not sure what to do now? Please help!!! Thanks for your help.
by National Jewish HealthBlank, Jan 30, 2008
Your case sounds rather complicated so it is difficult to provide specific recommendations.  However, prolonging the duration of therapy for tuberculosis would not be useful.  You have received a sufficient duration of therapy for all forms of tuberculosis except drug-resistant disease.  Continuing the standard treatment would not be effective for drug-resistant disease so we would recommend that the tuberculosis therapy be stopped and a diagnostic evaluation be conducted to determine the cause of the lesions seen on MRI.
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