Use of TB drugs in children

The treatment regimens and drug dosages in mg/kg of body weight are the same for children as for adults. Children usually tolerate TB drugs very well and serious side-effects are unusual. Do not give thioacetazone to HIV-infected children. Ethambutol is safe even in children too young to report early visual side-effects provided that the recommended dose is not exceeded. Since TB drugs are often not available in syrup form, give children portions of tablets according to weight.

Health service staff must identify a guardian responsible for the child's treatment.This is usually but not always the child's mother. If a child has HIV infection, often the parent is also sick. If the parent dies before the child has completed treatment, this commonly causes some social dislocation. For example, the family may send a child from the town to stay with other family members in a rural village.This may lead to poor compliance and an adverse treatment outcome. Health service staff need to be aware of a child's family and social circumstances and arrange transfer of TB treatment as necessary.

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