Pyrazinamide (PZA)

What is Pyrazinamide (PZA)?

  • Pyrazinamide (PZA) is an antibiotic medicine taken with other medicines to cure tuberculosis (TB).
  • The TB germs are very strong and are hard to get rid of.
  • You will need to take this medicine for two or more months in order to kill all the TB bacteria and cure TB disease. Your doctor will decide exactly how many months you will need to take the medicine.

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How do I take this medicine?

  • It is very important that you take the medicine every day at the same time or as instructed by your doctor
  • Do not stop taking the medicine unless your doctor tells you to stop.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible, but never take two doses at one time or closely together.
  • Try to take the medicine on an empty stomach. If it upsets your stomach, take it with food.
  • Store PZA in a cool, dry place (not in the bathroom). Keep it out of the reach of children.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking this medicine. You could damage your liver.

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What are some side effects I should watch for?

  • Most people have no problems while taking PZA.
  • PZA may cause the following for the first few days while your body adjusts to the medicine:
    • headache
    • aching joints
    • acne
    • stomach upset
    • nausea
  • Call your doctor right away if any of these side effects continue or worsen.
  • In addition call your doctor right away if any of the following appear while you are taking this medicine:
    • skin rash
    • itching
    • swelling
    • severe dizziness
    • trouble breathing
    • fever for more than three days
    •  persistent nausea or vomiting
    • persistent or sudden weakness
    • tiredness
    • stomach or abdominal pain
    • yellow eyes or skin
    • loss of appetite
    • dark, pink or blood coloured urine
    • decrease in the amount of urine
    • pain or swelling of the joints
    • bruise or bleed easily
    • pale skin

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What else should I tell my doctor?

  • Tell your doctor about any health problems you may have before starting this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor about any allergies you may have before starting this medicine.
  • Let your doctor know what medicine you are already taking, including any over the counter medicine or herbal products.
  • Do not start or stop any medicine before talking to your doctor. This includes medicines you buy over the counter and herbal products.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking this medicine.

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Tips for taking your TB medicine

  • Take your medicine on the same day of the week or at the same time each day, for example:
    • Before going to bed
    • First thing in the morning
  • Use a weekly pill container.
  • Mark off each day you take your pills on a calendar.
  • Ask a family member or friend to remind you.
  • While you are taking this medicine, you will need to see your doctor regularly.
  • You will also need to have regular blood tests to check your liver function. Let the lab worker know you are taking this drug.
  • You will need to protect yourself from the sun as your skin may be more sensitive to sunlight.
  • A nurse from the Health Department will contact you on a regular basis.

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Who do I talk to if I have questions about PZA?

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