Arch Dis Child 97:1097-1101 doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-301925
  • Drug therapy

Drug therapy for children with tuberculosis

  1. L Peter Ormerod1,2,3
  1. 1Chest Clinic, Royal Blackburn Hospital, Blackburn, UK
  2. 2Lancashire Postgraduate School of Medicine, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK
  3. 3University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspond toProfessor L Peter Ormerod, Chest Clinic, Royal Blackburn Hospital, Blackburn, Lancs, BBE 3HH; Lawrencve.Ormerod{at}
  • Accepted 17 September 2012
  • Published Online First 27 October 2012


The scientific basis of drug treatment for both active tuberculosis (TB) disease and TB infection, has been established, with treatment in children being largely extrapolated from adult active disease trials. It is essential that active TB disease is excluded before asymptomatic TB infection is diagnosed and treated. Nearly half of all children with active TB disease are found as asymptomatic tuberculin, or interferon gamma release assay (IGRA), positive contacts on screening by local TB services, usually of sputum TB microscopy positive adult relatives or other index cases, but with evidence of lung infiltrate or mediastinal lymphadenopathy on the child's chest x-ray. New drug regimens for both active disease and latent infection are in development, and also some novel drugs. However, none of these have yet been tested in children, and so again data will need to be extrapolated from adult results. In addition, there are issues regarding pharmacokinetics and dosing for current drugs, particularly isoniazid.