Depending on the stage or severity of the disease, mycobacterium avium-intercellulare or MAI lung infections are typically treated with three or four medications, including macrolide antibiotics and tuberculosis drugs. The length of time patients can take these medications can vary from 15 to 18 month, notes the University of Texas Health Center. MAI also referred to as mycobacterium avium complex, or MAC..
MAI/MAC lung infections are linked to tuberculosis pathogens, but they are not contagious as is tuberculosis. The two types of bacteria associated with MAI are mycobacterium avium and mycobacterium intercellulare, states the National Institutes of Health's AIDS Info. These pathogens can also cause two types of MAC lung diseases, which are nodular and upper lobe cavitary disease.
Treatment for both of these diseases can entail taking strong macrolide antibiotics, such as clarithromycin or azithromax. Some other medications required are ethambutol and rifabutin, which are both types of drugs for tuberculosis. These three drugs are prescribed for patients who have been recently diagnosed. For more advanced or aggressive forms of these lung infections, other medications that are prescribed can include amikacin or streptomycin. Amikacin is in injectable medication that is an aminoglycoside antibiotic used for bacterial infection, notes WebMD. If these different medications fail to address these lung infections, then other drugs are possible, including ciprofloxacin or dofazamine.