What is ethambutol used for?
- Ethambutol is used to treat TB (tuberculosis).
Before taking ethambutol, tell your doctor:
For all patients taking ethambutol:
- If you are allergic to ethambutol; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have swelling in the eye.
- If you cannot tell if you have changes in eyesight or you are not able to tell your doctor if you have changes in eyesight.
- If your child is younger than 13 years of age. Do not give ethambutol to a child younger than 13 years of age.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with ethambutol.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take ethambutol with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take ethambutol?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take ethambutol. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Do not use longer than you have been told. A second infection may happen.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Have an eye exam as you have been told by your doctor.
- If you have gout, talk with your doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using ethambutol while you are pregnant.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is ethambutol best taken?
Use ethambutol as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- This medicine is used with other drugs. Talk with your doctor.
- Take with or without food.
- Take ethambutol at the same time of day.
- Keep taking ethambutol as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- Do not take aluminum products within 4 hours of ethambutol.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
What are the side effects of ethambutol that I need to call my doctor about immediately?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Feeling confused.
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
- Joint pain or swelling.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Fever or chills.
- Sore throat.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with ethambutol. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- This medicine may cause change in eyesight like loss of eyesight. Most of the time this goes away when ethambutol is stopped. However, loss of eyesight that does not go away has happened. Call your doctor right away if you have any change in eyesight.
What are some other side effects of ethambutol?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Not hungry.
- Belly pain.
- Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If overdose is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out ethambutol?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from light.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use and disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about ethambutol, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take ethambutol or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. 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 ethambutol. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.