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Ethambutol (By mouth)

Treats tuberculosis (TB).

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Ethambutol is used to treat tuberculosis (TB). It is used with other medicines for TB. This medicine may also be used for other problems as determined by your doctor. To help clear up your tuberculosis (TB) infection completely, you must keep taking this medicine for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better. This is very important. It is also important that you do not miss any… Read more
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What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Value of diagnostic tests for the ethambutol resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Zhang ZM, Zhang ZJ, Li PJ, Yang KH, Zhu BD.  Value of diagnostic tests for the ethambutol resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2010; 10(12): 1456-1460

Nitrate reductase assay for rapid detection of isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol and streptomycin resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Colorimetric phenotypic tests recently gained interest because traditional primary drug susceptibility testing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates takes a long time. We used meta-analysis techniques to review the reliability and accuracy of the nitrate reductase assay (NRA), which is one of the most popular colorimetric methods to detect resistance to first-line drugs. Medline, PubMed, ISI Web, Web of Science, and Google Scholar were used to search for studies enrolled in the meta-analysis. The analysis included 35 studies for isoniazid (INH), 38 for rifampin (RIF), and 22 for ethambutol (EMB) and streptomycin (STR). Summary receiver operating characteristic (SROC) curves were applied to summarize diagnostic accuracy. The meta-analyses were performed by the use of Meta-DiSc software (version 1.4) and were focused on sensitivity and specificity values for measurements of accuracy. The pooled sensitivities were 96% for INH, 97% for RIF, 90% for EMB, and 82% for STR. The pooled specificities for INH, RIF, EMB, and STR were 99%, 100%, 98%, and 96%, respectively. The times required to obtain results were between 5 and 28 days by the direct NRA and between 5 and 14 days by the indirect test. In conclusion, the present meta-analysis showed that the NRA is a reliable low-cost rapid colorimetric susceptibility test that can be used for the detection of multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis, including detection of EMB resistance. However, the test appears to have a relatively low sensitivity for STR and needs further improvement.

Diagnostic accuracy of a molecular drug susceptibility testing method for the anti-tuberculosis drug ethambutol: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Ethambutol (EMB) is a first-line antituberculosis drug; however, drug resistance to EMB has been increasing. Molecular drug susceptibility testing (DST), based on the embB gene, has recently been used for rapid identification of EMB resistance. The aim of this meta-analysis was to establish the accuracy of molecular assay for detecting drug resistance to EMB. PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science were searched according to a written protocol and explicit study selection criteria. Measures of diagnostic accuracy were pooled using a random effects model. A total of 34 studies were included in the meta-analysis. The respective pooled sensitivities and specificities were 0.57 and 0.93 for PCR-DNA sequencing that targeted the embB 306 codon, 0.76 and 0.89 for PCR-DNA sequencing that targeted the embB 306, 406, and 497 codons, 0.64 and 0.70 for detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates, 0.55 and 0.78 for detecting M. tuberculosis sputum specimens using the GenoType MTBDRsl test, 0.57 and 0.87 for pyrosequencing, and 0.35 and 0.98 for PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. The respective pooled sensitivities and specificities were 0.55 and 0.92 when using a lower EMB concentration as the reference standard, 0.67 and 0.73 when using a higher EMB concentration as the reference standard, and 0.60 and 1.0 when using multiple reference standards. PCR-DNA sequencing using multiple sites of the embB gene as detection targets, including embB 306, 406, and 497, can be a rapid method for preliminarily screening for EMB resistance, but it does not fully replace phenotypic DST. Of the reference DST methods examined, the agreement rates were the best using MGIT 960 for molecular DST and using the proportion method on Middlebrook 7H10 media.

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Summaries for consumers

Substituting or adding fluoroquinolones to established first‐line antituberculous drug regimens gives no additional benefit or risks

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. Over two billion people worldwide are believed to be latently infected with TB and approximately 10% of these people will develop active TB later in life. The World Health Organization currently only recommend treatment with fluoroquinolones for patients who cannot take standard first‐line drugs. In this review, we examined the effect of including fluoroquinolones in first‐line treatment regimens on people with presumed drug‐sensitive tuberculosis.

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