Also known as:
Ethambutol (EMB, E) is a medication primarily used to treat tuberculosis. It is usually given in
combination with other tuberculosis medications, such as isoniazid, rifampicin and pyrazinamide. It
may also be used to treat Mycobacterium avium complex, and Mycobacterium kansasii. It is taken by mouth.
Common side effects include problems with vision, joint pain, nausea, headaches, and feeling tired.
Other side effects include liver problems and allergic reactions. It is not recommended in people
with optic neuritis, significant kidney problems, or under the age of five. Use during pregnancy or
breastfeeding has not been found to cause harm. In the United States the FDA has raised concerns
about eye issues in the baby if used during pregnancy. Ethambutol is believed to work by interfering
with the bacteria's metabolism.
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 degrees C [68 to 77 degrees F]) away from light and moisture. Keep
this and all medicines out of the reach of children.