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Tuberculous pleural effusion

  • Treatment

    Treatment of tuberculous pleural effusion will always involve a combination of many drugs (usually four drugs). The medicines are continued until lab tests show which medicines work best.

    The most commonly used medications include:

    • Isoniazid (INH)
    • Rifampin
    • Pyrazinamide
    • Ethambutol

    Other medications that may be used to treat TB include:

    • Amikacin
    • Ethionamide
    • Moxifloxacin
    • Para-aminosalicylic acid (PAS)
    • Streptomycin

    You must take the medicines every day by mouth for 6 months or longer. Directly observed therapy, in which a health care provider watches the patient take the prescribed antituberculous drugs, is the most effective strategy for some patients. In this case, drugs may be given 2 or 3 times per week, as prescribed by a doctor.

    You may need to be admitted to a hospital for 2 to 4 weeks to avoid spreading the disease to others until you are no longer contagious.

    Your doctor or nurse is required by law to report your TB illness to the local health department. Your health care team will be sure that you receive the best care for your TB.

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    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outlook is excellent if tuberculous pleural effusion is diagnosed early and treatment is begun quickly.


    Tuberculous pleural effusion can cause permanent lung damage if not treated early.

    Medicines used to treat TB may cause side effects, including liver problems and:

    • Changes in vision
    • Orange- or brown-colored tears and urine
    • Rash

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • You have been exposed to TB
    • You develop symptoms of TB
    • Your symptoms continue despite treatment
    • New symptoms develop