Drugs

Ethambutol Hydrochloride

Ethambutol Hydrochloride

Other Names: EMB, Myambutol, ethambutol Drug Class: Opportunistic Infections and Coinfections
What is ethambutol hydrochloride?

What is ethambutol hydrochloride?

Ethambutol hydrochloride is an antituberculous (anti-TB) prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of active tuberculosis (TB) of the lungs. (Active TB is also called TB disease.) Ethambutol hydrochloride is used in combination with at least one other anti-TB medicine.

TB is an opportunistic infection (OI) of HIV. An OI is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as people with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the AIDSinfo What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.

To learn how HIV and TB are connected, read the AIDSinfo HIV and Tuberculosis fact sheet. The fact sheet includes information on TB treatment in people with HIV/TB coinfection.

How is ethambutol hydrochloride used in people with HIV?

How is ethambutol hydrochloride used in people with HIV?

The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV include recommendations on the uses of ethambutol hydrochloride in people with HIV.

Using a medicine as indicated on the medicine label is called on-label use; using the medicine in a different way is called off-label use. Off-label use, for example, can include using a drug for a different disease or medical condition. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used off-label.

The guidelines include recommendations on the following uses of ethambutol hydrochloride:

On-label use:

  • Treat TB disease
Off-label uses:
  • Treat disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection
  • Prevent disseminated MAC infection from recurring

The above list may not include all of the HIV-related uses of ethambutol hydrochloride recommended in the guidelines. Some recommended uses, such as uses in certain rare circumstances, may have been omitted.

What should I tell my health care provider before taking ethambutol hydrochloride?

What should I tell my health care provider before taking ethambutol hydrochloride?

Before taking ethambutol hydrochloride, tell your health care provider:

  • If you are allergic to ethambutol hydrochloride or any other medicines.
  • About any medical conditions you have or have had.
  • About anything that could affect your ability to take medicines, such as difficulty swallowing or remembering to take tablets.
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Whether ethambutol hydrochloride can harm an unborn baby is unknown. Ethambutol hydrochloride should be used during pregnancy only if the benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Talk to your health care provider about possible risks with taking ethambutol hydrochloride when pregnant.
  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you have HIV.
  • About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Ethambutol hydrochloride may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how ethambutol hydrochloride works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between ethambutol hydrochloride and the other medicines you take.

Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from ethambutol hydrochloride. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.

How should I take ethambutol hydrochloride?

How should I take ethambutol hydrochloride?

Take ethambutol hydrochloride according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much ethambutol hydrochloride to take and when to take it. Before you start ethambutol hydrochloride and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.

How should ethambutol hydrochloride be stored?

How should ethambutol hydrochloride be stored?

  • Store ethambutol hydrochloride tablets at room temperature, 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Keep ethambutol hydrochloride in the container that it came in and keep the container tightly closed.
  • Do not use ethambutol hydrochloride if the original seal over the container opening is broken or missing.
  • Throw away ethambutol hydrochloride that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
  • Keep ethambutol hydrochloride and all medicines out of reach of children.

Where can I find more information about ethambutol hydrochloride?

Where can I find more information about ethambutol hydrochloride?

More information about ethambutol hydrochloride is available:

The above Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Tablet (film coated).

Last Reviewed: June 17, 2019