Should ethambutol be recommended for routine treatment of tuberculosis in children? A review of the literature

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 1997 Feb;1(1):12-5.


Setting: Review of the literature referenced from Medline and other sources on the use of ethambutol in children.

Objective: The most well-known side effect of ethambutol is its ocular toxicity. Its use among children is thus generally discouraged. The present article summarizes the studies published on this subject.

Results: No authors have reported major ocular side effects among children treated with ethambutol.

Conclusion: For children aged 5 years or more, ethambutol can be recommended at a dosage of 15 mg/kg/day for routine treatment, without taking more precautions than for adults; this should be included in official recommendations. For younger children, ethambutol can also be used without undue fear of side-effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Antitubercular Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Ethambutol / adverse effects*
  • Ethambutol / therapeutic use
  • Eye Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Ethambutol