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Ethambutol

Pronunciation

Generic Name: ethambutol (e-THAM-byoo-tole)
Brand Name: Myambutol

Ethambutol is used for:

Treating tuberculosis (TB) infections of the lung along with other medicines. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Ethambutol is an antibacterial agent. It works by stopping the growth of TB cells, which results in cell death.

Do NOT use ethambutol if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in ethambutol
  • you have inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis), you cannot determine if you are having vision changes, or you are unable to report vision changes to your doctor or health care provider

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using ethambutol:

Some medical conditions may interact with ethambutol. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have gouty arthritis or are having a gout attack
  • if you have cataracts, recurrent eye inflammation, or eye problems caused by diabetes (diabetic retinopathy)
  • if you have kidney or liver problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with ethambutol. However, no specific interactions with ethambutol are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if ethambutol may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use ethambutol:

Use ethambutol as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take ethambutol by mouth with or without food at the same time each day.
  • Do not take an antacid that has aluminum hydroxide in it within 4 hours after you take ethambutol.
  • If you miss a dose of ethambutol, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use ethambutol.

Important safety information:

  • Ethambutol may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use ethambutol with caution. Do not drive, operate machinery, or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Ethambutol may cause decreased vision clearness, including vision loss. This effect may be related to the dose that you take and how long you take ethambutol. It is usually reversible when ethambutol is stopped. However, permanent blindness has been reported. Contact your doctor right away if you experience vision changes (eg, decreased vision clearness). Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Be sure to use ethambutol for the full course of treatment. If you do not, the medicine may not clear up your infection completely. The bacteria could also become less sensitive to this or other medicines. This could make the infection harder to treat in the future.
  • Ethambutol only works against bacteria; it does not treat viral infections (eg, the common cold).
  • Long-term or repeated use of ethambutol may cause a second infection. Tell your doctor if signs of a second infection occur. Your medicine may need to be changed to treat this.
  • Lab tests, including liver and kidney function, complete blood cell counts, and vision, may be performed while you use ethambutol. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Ethambutol should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 13 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using ethambutol while you are pregnant. Ethambutol is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use ethambutol, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of ethambutol:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Appetite loss; dizziness; general body discomfort; headache; nausea; stomach upset or pain; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain or tightness; confusion; dark urine; fever, chills, or sore throat; hallucinations; joint pain, swelling, or severe tenderness; lower back pain; numbness or tingling of the hands, legs, or feet; pale stools; persistent loss of appetite; redness or scaling of the skin; severe stomach pain; swollen glands in the neck or armpit; unusual bruising or bleeding; vision loss or other vision changes (eg, blurred vision, decreased vision clearness); yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of ethambutol:

Store ethambutol at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep ethambutol out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about ethambutol, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Ethambutol is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take ethambutol or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about ethambutol. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to ethambutol. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using ethambutol.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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