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Ethambutol: Wikis


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Systematic (IUPAC) name
CAS number 74-55-5
ATC code J04AK02
PubChem 3279
DrugBank APRD00957
Chemical data
Formula C10H24N2O2 
Mol. mass 204.31 g/mol
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability Well-absorbed from GI tract
Protein binding 20 to 30%
Metabolism Liver
Half life 3-4 hr (increased in impaired renal function)
Excretion Renal
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat. B
Legal status
Routes Oral
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Ethambutol (commonly abbreviated EMB or simply E) is a bacteriostatic antimycobacterial drug prescribed to treat tuberculosis.[1] It is usually given in combination with other tuberculosis drugs, such as isoniazid, rifampicin and pyrazinamide.

It is sold under the trade names Myambutol and Servambutol.


Adverse effects

Mechanism of action

Ethambutol is bacteriostatic against actively growing TB bacilli, it works by obstructing the formation of cell wall. Mycolic acids attach to the 5'-hydroxyl groups of D-arabinose residues of arabinogalactan and form mycolyl-arabinogalactan-peptidoglycan complex in the cell wall. It disrupts arabinogalactan synthesis by inhibiting the enzyme arabinosyl transferase. Disruption of the arabinogalactan synthesis inhibits the formation of this complex and leads to increased permeability of the cell wall.


It is well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and well distributed in body tissues and fluids, 50% is excreted unchanged in urine.


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