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    Ethambutol

    Information about Ethambutol

    Ethambutol uses

    Ethambutol is used in the treatment of tuberculosis.

    How ethambutol works

    Ethambutol is an antibiotic. It works by slowing the growth of bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

    Common side effects of ethambutol

    Visual impairment, Color blindness
    Content Details
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    Written By
    Dr. Sakshi Sharma
    BDS
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    Reviewed By
    Dr. Lalit Kanodia
    MBBS, MD (Pharma.), MBA (Hospital Management)
    Last updated on:
    18 Jan 2019 | 05:30 PM (IST)
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    Expert advice for Ethambutol

    • Ethambutol is effective at treating tuberculosis when taken together with other antibacterial drugs.
    • It has to be taken for several months in order for it work properly (usually 6 months).
    • Take it with food to avoid stomach upset.
    • It can lower your blood sugar. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar regularly.
    • Your doctor may monitor your liver function, vision and thyroid function while on treatment with this medicine.
    • Avoid consuming alcohol while taking this medication.
    • Do not stop taking Ethambutol even if you start to feel better. Stopping early can  can result in treatment failure and in the development of drug-resistant tuberculosis. This can be life-threatening and lead to other serious health risks.

    Frequently asked questions for Ethambutol

    Ethambutol

    Q. Does Ethambutol cause blindness?

    Optic neuritis (inflammation of nerve fibers that transmit visual information from your eye to the brain) is one of the side effects of Ethambutol which causes several forms of eye defect. Although these conditions are reversible upon discontinuation of the drug, rare cases of irreversible blindness have also been reported. Please contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms: decreased clearness of vision, loss of vision, disturbed vision due to blind spots, color blindness, visual field defect and eye pain

    Q. Does Ethambutol induce hyperuricemia/how does Ethambutol induce hyperuricemia?

    Yes. Increase in blood levels of uric acid is a side effect of Ethambutol. It increases the retention of uric acid in the body by decreasing the excretion of urates (uric acid) by the kidneys

    Q. How does Ethambutol work in the body?

    Ethambutol is an antibiotic effective against tuberculosis causing bacteria. It suppresses the growth of the bacteria by interfering with the formation of the outer protective covering (cell wall) of the bacteria, thereby weakening the bacteria

    Q. What is Ethambutol toxicity/How does Ethambutol cause optic neuritis/how does Ethambutol affect vision?

    Ethambutol toxicity involves toxic effects on the eyes (optic neuritis/optic neuropathy) which are related to the dose and duration of Ethambutol treatment. It causes optic neuritis (inflammation of nerve fibers in the eye) by interfering with important cellular activities (mitochondrial toxicity) in the nerve cells and inducing nerve damage (neuropathy) thereby affecting the transmission of visual information from the eye to brain. The symptoms of Ethambutol induced optic neuritis include: decreased clearness of vision, loss of vision, disturbed vision due to blind spots, color blindness, visual field defect and eye pain

    Q. What does Ethambutol treat?

    Ethambutol is an antibiotic effective against tuberculosis causing bacteria. It is used in the prevention, treatment and second time treatment of tuberculosis (a serious infection caused by bacteria that affects the lungs and in certain cases other parts of the body)

    Q. Is Ethambutol bacteriostatic or bactericidal?

    Ethambutol is both a bacteriostatic and a bactericidal antibiotic. It suppresses the growth of bacteria (bacteriostatic) by interfering with the formation of the outer protective covering (cell wall) of the bacteria, thereby weakening it and causing cell death in certain cases (bactericidal)

    Q. Is Ethambutol hepatotoxic?

    Liver toxicities are among the known side effects of Ethambutol. Inflammation of liver (hepatitis), abnormal liver function causing yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice), abnormal liver function tests (blood tests to assess health of liver) and very rarely liver failure have been noted in patients receiving multi drug (including Ethambutol) treatment for tuberculosis. Please contact your doctor before taking Ethambutol if you have any liver problems

    Q. Is Ethambutol toxicity reversible?

    In most cases Ethambutol toxicities are related to dose (depends upon the quantity of Ethambutol you take) and duration of treatment and are reversible upon discontinuation. However, serious irreversible damage to eye and liver has been reported in rare cases

    Q. Is Ethambutol chemotherapy?

    Ethambutol is an antibiotic used in the treatment of tuberculosis. Do not confuse it with chemotherapy or chemo drugs used for the treatment of cancer

    Q. Ethambutol is effective against?

    Ethambutol is effective against most tuberculosis causing bacteria belonging to Mycobacterium family (M. tuberculosis, M. avium complex, M. kansasii, M. marinum).

    Content on this page was last updated on 18 January, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)