What Is Ethambutol Hydrochloride?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

Ethambutol hydrochloride is a prescription medication that is used in combination with other drugs to treat a condition known as pulmonary tuberculosis. Visual disturbances are often caused by this drug, and it is not recommended for those with conditions such as optic neuritis. Additional side effects of ethambutol hydrochloride may include headaches, nausea, or joint pain. Some patients have shown a resistance to this type of medication, so periodic blood tests may be ordered throughout the course of treatment. Specific questions or concerns about the use of ethambutol hydrochloride or its possible side effects should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist.

Pulmonary tuberculosis is a contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria known as mycobacterium tuberculosis. Symptoms of this respiratory disease may include persistent coughing, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. A person who is infected with this bacteria may be contagious long before symptoms begin to develop, as the initial stages of the disease do not usually cause any negative symptoms. Treatment often involves the use of several different medications, including ethambutol hydrochloride.

Available in a variety of dosages, ethambutol hydrochloride is taken by mouth in the form of a tablet once per day or as prescribed by a physician. While this medication may be taken on an empty stomach, those who experience nausea or vomiting may benefit from taking ethambutol hydrochloride with food or milk. It is important to take this drug exactly as prescribed by a doctor, even if symptoms seem to improve before the course of treatment has ended.

Vision problems have been reported as possible side effects of this tuberculosis medication and should not be used by those who have been diagnosed with conditions such as optic neuritis. Resistance to this drug is possible, so the supervising physician may order periodic blood tests to make sure that the medication is still working to fight the lung infection. Headaches, joint pain, or fever are potential symptoms that should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation.

Allergic reactions to ethambutol hydrochloride are possible and may include hives, facial swelling, or difficulty breathing. Emergency medical treatment should be obtained if an allergy is suspected, as sudden death is a possible complication, especially if the throat swells so much that breathing becomes impossible. Other side effects are possible, so any new or bothersome symptoms that develop after beginning treatment with ethambutol hydrochloride should be reported to a doctor.

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