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Pyrazinamide is used in combination with other antibiotics for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB - a serious infection caused by bacteria that affects the lungs and in certain cases other parts of the body).

How it works

Pyrazinamide is an antibiotic. It kills or stops growth of bacteria that causes tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis).

Common side effects

Vomiting, Nausea, Increased sensitivity to light, Abnormal liver function tests, Anemia, Joint pain, Difficulty in urination, Jaundice, Loss of appetite, Skin rash


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Expert advice

  • Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking this drug.
  • Do not have any immunizations/vaccinations while using this medication without the consent of your doctor.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as persistent nausea,  vomiting, feeling of discomfort (malaise) or jaundice (abnormal liver function causing yellowing of skin and eyes) while taking pyrazinamide. It indicates that you are developing liver disease.
  • Constant monitoring of liver function (especially levels of enzymes aspartate transferase [AST] and alanine transferase [ALT]) and blood uric acid levels is advised while on treatment with pyrazinamide.
  • Do consult your doctor before taking pyrazinamide if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Do not use pyrazinamide, if you are breast-feeding.
  • Do not stop taking pyrazinamide without consulting your doctor.
  • If you forget to take a dose of pyrazinamide, take it as soon as you remember. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed dose.
  • Do consult your doctor if you are taking oral contraceptive medications (hormonal birth control pills) for birth control. Your doctor may ask you to use other means of birth control (eg. condom, diaphragm with spermicide) to prevent pregnancy while taking pyrazinamide.

Frequently asked questions


Q. What is pyrazinamide and what is it used for?
Pyrazinamide is an antibiotic. It is used in combination with other antibiotics in the treatment of tuberculosis.
Q. Is pyrazinamide bactericidal?
Pyrazinamide is both a bacteriostatic and a bactericidal antibiotic. It stops the growth of bacteria (bacteriostatic) in certain cases and kills (bactericidal) the tuberculosis causing bacteria in other cases.
Q. How does pyrazinamide work/treat tuberculosis?
Pyrazinamide kills or stops growth of bacteria that causes tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis). The exact mechanism of action for pyrazinamide is not known.
Q. How does pyrazinamide cause hyperuricemia and gout?
Following oral intake of pyrazinamide, it gets converted in the body to pyrazinoic acid (active chemical form of pyrazinamide). Pyrazinoic acid blocks the excretion of urates (salt form of uric acid) by the kidneys. This causes an increase in blood levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia). Excess uric acid accumulation between joints causes pain, swelling, redness and stiffness in joints (gout).

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)