Also known as:
Ethambutol (EMB, E) is a medication primarily used to treat tuberculosis. It is usually given in
combination with other tuberculosis medications, such as isoniazid, rifampicin and pyrazinamide. It
may also be used to treat Mycobacterium avium complex, and Mycobacterium kansasii. It is taken by mouth.
Common side effects include problems with vision, joint pain, nausea, headaches, and feeling tired.
Other side effects include liver problems and allergic reactions. It is not recommended in people
with optic neuritis, significant kidney problems, or under the age of five. Use during pregnancy or
breastfeeding has not been found to cause harm. In the United States the FDA has raised concerns
about eye issues in the baby if used during pregnancy. Ethambutol is believed to work by interfering
with the bacteria's metabolism.
Ethambutol should not be used alone, in initial treatment or in retreatment. Ethambutol should be
administered on a once every 24-hour basis only. Absorption is not significantly altered by
administration with food. Therapy, in general, should be continued until bacteriological conversion has
become permanent and maximal clinical improvement has occurred.
Ethambutol is not recommended for use in pediatric patients under thirteen years of age since safe
conditions for use have not been established.
If you take too much Ethambutol, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical
attention right away.
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.