Ethambutol is an antibiotic that kills bacteria. It will not work for viral infections, like the common cold.
Ethambutol is used:
- When you have active tuberculosis (TB) infection with symptoms.
- When you have TB, and you do not show any symptoms of the infection. It is used to prevent you from passing on the infection to others.
Ethambutol is an antibiotic drug used in the treatment of tuberculosis. It works by killing the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. It can have serious side-effects like vision changes such as blurred vision and colour blindness.
Ethambutol is a prescription-only medicine. The dose is based on your age, weight, condition and how well you respond to treatment.
- Ethambutol comes as a tablet to be taken by mouth. It is usually taken once a day, usually in the morning. Ensure that you follow the advice given to you by your healthcare provider.
- Try to take ethambutol at the same time every day to get the most benefit. Do not take more or less of this drug than your doctor prescribes.
- The dosage of ethambutol differs per person, as it is based on your age, weight, medical condition, and response to treatment. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any weight changes. Your dose may need to be changed.
- You may take ethambutol with or without food. You can take it with food if it upsets your stomach.
- If you take aluminium-containing antacids, take the ethambutol at least 4 hours before the antacid.
- Your vision will need to be checked often while you are taking ethambutol. If you wear glasses, take them with you to your vision examination.
- Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared. Skipping doses may increase your risk of further infection that may become difficult to treat.
- Ethambutol is usually given together with at least one other tuberculosis medicine. Use all medications as directed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or medication schedule without getting your healthcare provider’s advice.
- If you skip a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose then take only that dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.
Ethambutol may cause side-effects. The following are some of the side-effects you may experience:
- You may lose your appetite.
- You may have stomach disturbances.
- You may vomit.
- You may feel some numbness and sensation in your hands or feet.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, inform your healthcare provider immediately:
- If you notice sudden changes in your sight. Blurry vision or other changes that affect your eyesight must be reported immediately.
- When you notice that you are unable to see red and/or green colours (colour blindness).
- If you notice a skin rash or when your skin starts itching.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you have been or are being treated for tuberculosis. Your dose may be adjusted if this is the case.
- Inform your healthcare provider if you have any vision problems.
- Do not take this medicine if you have kidney or liver disease.
- Do not use ethambutol in children and unconscious persons who cannot communicate when they have a problem with their vision.