Ethambutol is an anti-mycobacterium drug which, in combination with other anti-TB drugs is used to cure pulmonary tuberculosis and controls spread to the susceptible population around the diseased. Other uses of Ethambutol are as per the physician"s preference. NB: Ethambutol should be stored away from the children"s grasp as unprecedented consumption may be fatal.
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Ethambutol, like other antimycobacterial drugs, is used during the intensive and continuous phase of pulmonary tuberculosis treatment alongside isoniazid, pyrazinamide and rifampicin which has become a constant problem with the arising HIV/AIDs incidence. Ethambutol can also be indicated for other forms of Mycobacterium infections including Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium kansasii. Ethambutol can be used by pregnant women and even breastfeeding ones if there need be but should be avoided in cases of gouty arthritis either dormant or during an attack.
- Pulmonary tuberculosis
- Mycobacterium infections
Doses of Ethambutol mainly rely on the severity of the infection, weight and the past medical history of the patient. Caution should be taken when using Ethambutol with a failing liver. Below are some of the regimes used when managing different conditions with Ethambutol.
Active Pulmonary Tuberculosis:
- Adults: Initial therapy 15mg/kg P.O every 24 + Rifampicin, Isoniazid and pyrazinamide for 6-8 weeks
- Continuous phase: 30mg/kg 3 times every week OR 40mg/kg P.O 2 times every week
- Retreatment, 25mg/kg P.O every 24 hours for 60 days + 1 anti-mycobacterium drug
- Children >13 years: Initial treatment, 15mg/kg every 24 hours for 6-8 weeks + isoniazid
- Continuous phase, 30mg /kg P.O 3 times every week OR 40mg/kg P.O every 2 times every week
- Retreatment, 25mg/kg P.O every 24 hours for 60 days + an anti-TB
Mycobacterium avium Intracellulare:
- Adults: 900mg P.O every 24 hours. This dose of Ethambutol is combined with other drugs e.g. clarithromycin, clofazimine and rifampicin.
- Children >13 years: 900mg every 24 hours + clarithromycin, rifampicin and clofazimine
Prophylaxis of Mycobacterium avium Intracellulare complex:
- Adults: 15mg/kg P.O every 24 hours + azithromycin/clarithromycin. This therapy is sustained for life.
- Children >13 years: 15mg/kg P.O every 24 hours
NB: If you suspect renal pathology you may prolong the interval of the normal dose up to 36 hours
Ethambutol Side Effects
Ethambutol takes care of pulmonary TB tremendously but it does not elude side effects that accompany any other drug. These side effects do not normally occur but if they do be alarmed and a visit to the doctor might be helpful. Some of these adverse effects are mentioned below.
- Painful joints
- Joint swelling and inflammation of the overlying skin
- Blurred vision
- Color blindness especially green and red color
- Permanent loss of vision
- Skin rashes
- Peripheral neuritis with poor muscle tone
- Abdominal pain
- Altered state of consciousness
- Nausea and vomiting
Below you will find a list of drugs that counteract with Ethambutol. It is of paramount importance to consult with your physician when taken any drug outside your medication as side effects may develop or the potency of Ethambutol may be reduced significantly.