Tuberculosis and illicit drug use: review and update

Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Jan 1;48(1):72-82. doi: 10.1086/594126.


Illicit drug users continue to be a group at high risk for tuberculosis (TB). Here, we present an updated review of the relationship between TB and illicit drug use, and we summarize more than a decade of new research. Drug users, and injection drug users in particular, have driven TB epidemics in a number of countries. The successful identification and treatment of TB among illicit drug users remain important components of a comprehensive TB strategy, but illicit drug users present a unique set of challenges for TB diagnosis and control. New diagnostic modalities, including interferon-gamma-release assays, offer potential for improved diagnosis and surveillance among this group, along with proven treatment strategies that incorporate the use of directly observed therapy with treatment for drug abuse. Special considerations, including coinfection with viral hepatitis and the rifampin-methadone drug interaction, warrant clinical attention and are also updated here.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Users
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / epidemiology*