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Molecule Description

Ethambutol belongs to a group of antitubercular medicine used to prevent infectious tuberculosis disease which mainly affects the lungs.

Uses of Ethambutol

It is used to treat tuberculosis infections along with other medicines.

Contraindications of Ethambutol

When should one not use Ethambutol

Do not take this medicine if you have any allergic reaction to this medicine, also if you have any eye problems do not take this medicine unless your doctor suggest you.

Side effects of Ethambutol

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Blurred vision, eye pain
  • Swelling of face, eyes, lips
  • Skin rash, itching
  • Wheezing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Lower back pain

Precautions and Warnings of Ethambutol


Can I take Ethambutol during pregnancy?
It is not safe to take this medicine if you are pregnant or planning for pregnancy. Consult with your doctor before taking this medicine.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Ethambutol while breastfeeding?
It is not safe to use during breastfeeding as the studies suggest that this medication poses a risk to infants when used during breastfeeding.


Can I drive if I have consumed Ethambutol?
This medicine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Do not drive until you feel well.


Can I consume alcohol with Ethambutol?
Avoid consumption of alcohol while taking this medicine as it may increase the risk of liver infection.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • You have problems with your eyesight
  • You have any kidney problems

Mode of Action of Ethambutol

How Does It Work?

This medicine inhibits Arabinosyl Transferase which is involved in cell wall biosynthesis. By inhibiting this enzyme, the bacterial cell wall complex production of tuberculosis bacterium is inhibited. This leads to an increase in cell wall permeability and makes the bacterium easily prone to damage. It thus works by stopping new growth of TB cells which results in cell death.
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Interactions of Ethambutol

Interactions with other medicines

It has significant interactions with medicines such as Leflunomide, Teriflunomide, BCG and Cholera Vaccine, Lomitapide, Mipomersen, Vigabatrin, etc. It has moderate interactions with numerous medicines too. Do not take this medicine without doctor’s advice.
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Interactions with food items

No specific food interactions have been reported yet.

Dietary Restrictions of Ethambutol

No information is available on dietary restrictions while you are taking Ethambutol, consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information.

Dosage of Ethambutol


Overdose is associated with liver toxicity and exaggeration of the known side effects on the eye. If you think you have taken too much of this medicine, seek emergency medical attention.

Missed a Dose

Take the missed dose as early as possible. Skip the missed dose & do not take extra medicine to compensate for the missed dose.

Content Details


Dr. Nikita Toshi

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: What should I discuss with my healthcare expert before taking this medicine?

  • You should not use this medication if you are allergic to it. Inform the doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
  • Gouty arthritis—Ethambutol may cause or worsen the gout attacks
  • Kidney disease—Patients with kidney problems are more likely to have side effects
  • Optic neuritis (eye nerve damage)
  • Ethambutol may cause or worsen eye disease

Q: When and how to consume this medicine?

A: Take this medicine after having food at the same time each day along with a glass of water (preferably taken with breakfast every morning).
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts. Please click here for detailed T&C.
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