Revised: Nov 2016

Medication Information

Ethambutol (EMB) is an antibiotic medicine. It is used to cure active tuberculosis (TB) in combination with other medicines.

The TB germs are very strong and are hard to get rid of. You will need to take this medicine for 2 or more months in order to kill the TB bacteria. Your doctor will decide how many months you will need to take the medicine.

Taking the Medication

  • Take this medicine as directed by your doctor.
  • Even if you start to feel better, it is important to keep taking this medicine until the doctor tells you to stop.
  • This medicine should be taken with food.

Possible Side Effects

Most people do not experience problems while taking EMB. You will need to be monitored regularly by your doctor while taking EMB.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Skin rash
  • Problems with your eyes: vision changes, blurring, colour blindness, trouble seeing or eye pain

*If you have any of these side effects speak with your doctor immediately. If you are unable to reach your doctor, stop taking the medicine until you do speak with your doctor.


  • If you take this medicine for longer than 2 months, you will need to have your eyes checked.

Special Populations

  • Safe for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

  • Remember to tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking or any new medicines that you start taking.

Missed Doses

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time to take your next dose, do not take the missed dose. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.


  • Store the medicine at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Do not put it in the refrigerator.

This information is also available in the following languages. To request a copy, email us at or call 416-338-7600 and ask for the TB program.

አማርኛ / Amheric
العربية / Arabic
বাংলা / Bengali
中文 / Chinese
فارسی / Farsi
Tagalog / Filipino
Français / French
ગુજરાતી / Gujarati
हिन्दी / Hindi
Magyar nyelv / Hungarian
한국어 / Korean
پښتو / Pashto
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ / Punjabi
русский / Russian

Afsoomaali / Somali
Español / Spanish
தமிழ் / Tamil

བོད་སྐད་ / Tibetan
اردو / Urdu
Tiếng Việt / Vietnamese