Ethambutol treats tuberculosis (TB). Take this medication at least 4 hours before taking aluminum-containing antacids
Ethambutol is a prescription medication used to treat tuberculosis (TB). Ethambutol belongs to a group of drugs called antimycobacterial antibiotics. TB is caused by a certain bacteria. Ethambutol works by stopping the bacteria from forming a cell wall, which kills the bacteria.
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Uses of Ethambutol
Ethambutol is a prescription medication used for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. It is usually given in combination with other tuberculosis drugs, such as isoniazid, rifampicin and pyrazinamide.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Ethambutol Brand Names
Ethambutol may be found in some form under the following brand names:
Ethambutol Drug Class
Ethambutol is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Ethambutol
Common side effects include:
- loss of appetite
- upset stomach
- numbness and tingling in the hands or feet
Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms worsen or do not go away.
If you experience vision changes (blurred vision, decreased vision, or color blindness) contact your doctor immediately.
Other less common, but serious side effects can occur. Let your doctor know if you develop:
- symptoms of liver disease (yellowing eyes and skin, dark urine, persistent nausea and vomiting, unusual tiredness and weakness, severe stomach pain),
- numbness and tingling of arms and legs
- toe or joint pain
- mental or mood disorders (confusion, hallucinations)
- signs of a new infection (fever, sore throat)
- abnormal bleeding or bruising.
- serious allergic reaction (rash, swelling of face, tongue and throat, itching, difficult breathing)
This is not a complete list of ethambutol side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take aluminum-containing antacids. Oral absorption of ethambutol may be reduced by these products.
Do not take ethambutol if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
Because this medication may have adverse effects on vision, talk to your doctor if you have eye problems such as optic neuritis, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy.
Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease as your doctor may need to decrease the dose you take.
Ethambutol Food Interactions
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of ethambutol there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving ethambutol.
Tell your doctor if you:
- are allergic to this or any other medicine
- have vision problems
- have kidney, or liver disease
- use alcohol
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
Tell your doctor about the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Ethambutol and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
Ethambutol falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans, though. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.
Ethambutol and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Ethambutol has been detected in human breast milk. Because of the possibility for adverse reactions in nursing infants from ethambutol, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or to stop use of this medication. The importance of the drug to the mother should be considered.
Ethambutol is supplied as a tablet to be taken by mouth, usually once daily. This medication can be taken with or without food. Try to take ethambutol at the same time every day to get the most benefit. Continue taking ethambutol as directed by your doctor. Stopping the medicine too early may cause the infection to be more difficult to treat.
If you take aluminum-containing antacids, take this ethambutol at least 4 hours before the antacid.
Take ethambutol exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. The dosage must be individualized. The dosage is based on your age, weight, medical condition, and response to treatment.
If you take too much ethambutol, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.
Store at room temperature (20°to 25°C [68°to 77°F]) away from light and moisture.
Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.