Medication Guide App

ethambutol

Pronunciation

Generic Name: ethambutol (eth AM bue tol)
Brand Name: Myambutol

What is ethambutol?

Ethambutol is an antibiotic. It prevents growth of the tuberculous bacteria in the body.

Ethambutol is used to treat tuberculosis (TB).

Ethambutol may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about ethambutol?

Take all of the ethambutol that has been prescribed for you even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may begin to improve before the infection is completely treated.

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Call your doctor immediately if you experience changes in vision (e.g., blurring, red-green color blindness) or a rash.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking ethambutol?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have

  • ever had an allergic reaction to ethambutol;

  • cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, or optic neuritis; or

  • kidney disease.

You may not be able to take ethambutol, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

It is not known whether ethambutol will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.

It is also not known whether ethambutol will be harmful to a nursing baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take ethambutol?

Take ethambutol exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.

Ethambutol can be taken with or without food. Taking ethambutol with food may decrease stomach upset.

Take all of the ethambutol that has been prescribed for you even if you begin to feel better. Your symptoms may begin to improve before the infection is completely treated.

Ethambutol is usually combined with one or more other tuberculosis medicines.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one as directed. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of an ethambutol overdose are unknown.

What should I avoid while taking ethambutol?

There are no restrictions on foods, beverages, or activities during treatment with ethambutol unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Ethambutol side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking ethambutol and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);

  • vision changes (e.g., blurring, red-green color blindness);

  • a rash;

  • numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, hands, or feet;

  • confusion, disorientation, or hallucinations; or

  • fever.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take ethambutol and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or decreased appetite;

  • headache;

  • mild dizziness;

  • worsening gout; or

  • joint pain.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Ethambutol Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose for Tuberculosis -- Active:

Initial treatment: 15 mg/kg orally once a day for 6 to 8 weeks with concurrent isoniazid therapy.
Retreatment: 25 mg/kg orally once a day for 60 days concurrently with at least one other anti-TB drug. After 60 days, decrease dose to 15 mg/kg orally once a day.
As an alternative to single daily dose, a dose of 40 mg/kg orally twice a week or 30 mg/kg orally 3 times a week can be administered. This generally follows 2 weeks of daily therapy. This regimen allows directly observed therapy (DOT).

Usual Adult Dose for Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare -- Treatment:

900 mg orally once a day. Pulmonary AVI treatment consists of clarithromycin and 2 to 4 other drugs such as ethambutol, rifampin, clofazimine, and/or other agents. The duration of treatment is 18 to 24 months.
Disseminated MAI treatment consists of clarithromycin or azithromycin and 1 to 3 other drugs such as ethambutol, clofazamine, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, rifampin, rifabutin, or amikacin. As long as clinical and microbiological response is documented, therapy should be continued for life.

Usual Adult Dose for Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare -- Prophylaxis:

15 mg/kg orally once a day. Used in combination therapy with clarithromycin or azithromycin. Therapy should be continued for life.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Tuberculosis -- Active:

Greater than 13 years:
Initial treatment: 15 mg/kg orally once a day for 6 to 8 weeks with concurrent isoniazid therapy.
Retreatment: 25 mg/kg orally once a day for 60 days concurrently with at least one other anti-TB drug. After 60 days, decrease dose to 15 mg/kg orally once a day.
As an alternative to single daily dose, a dose of 40 mg/kg orally twice a week or 30 mg/kg orally 3 times a week can be administered. This generally follows 2 weeks of daily therapy. This regimen allows directly observed therapy (DOT).

Usual Pediatric Dose for Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare -- Treatment:

Greater than 13 years:
900 mg orally once a day. Pulmonary AVI treatment consists of clarithromycin and 2 to 4 other drugs such as ethambutol, rifampin, clofazimine, and/or other agents. The duration of treatment is 18 to 24 months.
Disseminated MAI treatment consists of clarithromycin or azithromycin and 1 to 3 other drugs such as ethambutol, clofazamine, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, rifampin, rifabutin, or amikacin. As long as clinical and microbiological response is documented, therapy should be continued for life.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare -- Prophylaxis:

Greater than 13 years:
15 mg/kg orally once a day. Used in combination therapy with clarithromycin or azithromycin. Therapy should be continued for life.

What other drugs will affect ethambutol?

Do not take antacids that contain aluminum within several hours of taking a dose of ethambutol. Aluminum will decrease the amount of ethambutol that is absorbed by the body. If you need an antacid, ask your doctor or pharmacist to recommend one that is aluminum free.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with ethambutol. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about ethambutol.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.06. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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