Ethambutol is used in the prevention, treatment and recurrence (second time treatment) of tuberculosis (a serious infection caused by bacteria that affects the lungs and in certain cases other parts of the body). It is always given in combination with other antituberculosis drugs.
Ethambutol belongs to a class of anti-tuberculosis drugs. It suppresses the growth of tuberculosis causing bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis). Ethambutol enters the growing bacteria and kills the bacteria by inhibiting an important enzyme arabinosyl tranferases involved in the formation of the outer protective covering of the bacteria called cell wall.