One-third of the worlds population is infected with Mycobacterium (M.) tuberculosis. Tuberculosis continues to be the most common infectious cause of death and still has a serious impact, medically, socially and financially. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), caused by tubercle bacilli that are resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampin, is among the most worrisome elements of the pandemic of antibiotic resistance because TB patients for whom treatment has failed have a high risk of death. Drugs used to treat tuberculosis are classified into first-line and second-line agents. First-line essential anti-tuberculosis agents are the most effective, and are a necessary component of any short-course therapeutic regimen. The drugs in this category are isoniazid, rifampin, ethambutol, pyrazinamide and streptomycin. Second-line anti-tuberculosis drugs are clinically much less effective than first-line agents and elicit severe reactions much more frequently. These drugs include para-aminosalicylic acid (PAS), ethionamide, cycloserine, amikacin and capreomycin. New drugs, which are yet to be assigned to the above categories, include rifapentine, levofloxacin, gatifloxacin and moxifloxacin. Recently there has been much development in the molecular pharmacology of anti-tuberculosis drugs. This review summarizes information for isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol, pyrazinamide, and fluoroquinolones, and describes their resistance mechanisms.