TB and Treatment Answers

Who is required to have a TB (tuberculosis) skin test?
International Students from countries determined to be at risk by the Center for Disease Control are required to be tested.

How is the test given?
A simple blood test, quantiferon-gold (QTF-G) is given. Results are available within a week.

When is the test done?
The test is administered within the first week of arrival to campus through the Health Center.

What does a positive GTF-G mean?
A positive reaction means that you have been exposed to TB. It does not mean that you have TB or that you are contagious. TB bacteria are airborne, and spread through droplets from breathing and coughing. The only way to determine exposure is by the TB test.

If my test is positive, why do I have to have a chest x-ray?
The only way to determine if the positive test is a case of active TB or inactive TB (also called latent TB) is by a chest x-ray.

If my blood test is positive but the chest x-ray is negative, why do I need to take medication?
The CDC strongly recommends the medication to prevent the latent or inactive TB from developing into an active case of TB in the future.

What medication must I take?
Isoniazid (INH) is an antibiotic specifically prescribed to combat the TB bacteria.

What if I choose not to take the medication?
A refusal of treatment form must be signed if you do not wish to take the medication. Additionally a yearly reassessment screening will be required to determine your health status.

What if I am pregnant or become pregnant during the treatment period?
Notify Health Services immediately. After consultation, the course of treatment may be adjusted.

How long must I take the medication?
The usual course of treatment takes nine months for optimum benefits.

How do I take the medication?
You take the medication once a day by mouth, with a meal if necessary.

What are the side effects of the medication?
Few side effects of this medication have been noted with our student population. Tingling in the hands is the most common. A B6 vitamin will be given to you to take daily with the INH to avoid this side effect. Health services staff will check monthly on your health status and any concerns that you may have.

Why can’t I drink alcohol while I take the medication?
Alcohol and isoniazid are both metabolized in the liver. Anyone taking any long-term medication should limit alcohol ingestion so as not to put unnecessary strain on the liver.

What does the medication cost?
It will be filed with insurance.

What if I forget to take the medication?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Resume your daily schedule. Do not take two tablets on the same day. Try to take it at the same time every day, so that it can become a habit.

What if the medication makes me sick?
Take the medication with a large meal. If that does not help or you have other problems, notify us at the Health Center, and we will discuss your symptoms and determine if the INH medication is the cause.

Where do I get the medication?
The ND Pharmacy will have your monthly medication supply ready to pick up every month. Health Services is open 24 hours a day during the academic year, please contact the pharmacy prior to picking up your supply.

Why must I pick up the medication every month?
The staff at the Health Services must monitor your progress, check for side effects, and answer any questions that you may have.

Can I have a friend or family member pick up the medication for me?
You must call us first so that we can monitor your progress. Give us the name of the person who will pick up your prescriptions; they must present your Notre Dame ID during business hours.

What happens after I finish the course of medication?
A certificate from the Health Department will be issued to you stating that you have completed the course of treatment; no further skin tests are necessary. This certification of treatment should be kept with your important personal documents for proof in the future when asked for a TB test. You should not get any more TB skin tests.