Health Encyclopedia



Anti-Tuberculosis Medicines for Multidrug-Resistant TB


Generic Name Brand Name
bedaquiline Sirturo

How It Works

Bedaquiline kills TB bacteria by preventing the bacteria from producing the energy needed to live.

Why It Is Used

Bedaquiline is used to treat TB that cannot be killed by the antibiotics usually used to treat TB. This is called multidrug-resistant TB.

How Well It Works

Bedaquiline was shown to be effective against TB bacteria resistant to the antibiotics usually used to treat TB.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • A change in your heartbeat (faster or slower than normal) or if you faint.
  • Chest pain.
  • Vomiting or stomach pain.
  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes.
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness.
  • Hives.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Nausea.
  • Joint pain.
  • Headache.
  • Skin rash.

Bedaquiline may increase the risk of some heart rhythm problems.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

You should take bedaquiline exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not taking all of the medicine as instructed could cause your treatment to fail and increase the risk of the TB bacteria becoming resistant to bedaquiline and other TB medicines.

Taking bedaquiline with food may help prevent some side effects.

You may have tests to check the health of your liver while you are taking bedaquiline. And you should not drink alcohol while taking bedaquiline because this increases the risk of liver damage.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2012). FDA approves first drug to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. FDA News Release, December 31, 2012. Available online:


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
Last Revised April 4, 2013

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