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Free Content Incidence of toxic optic neuropathy with low-dose ethambutol

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the incidence of ethambutol (EMB) induced optic neuropathy prescribed at a relatively low dose of 15 mg/kg/day for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) or Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) lung disease.

DESIGN: Patients diagnosed with TB or MAC lung disease received multidrug regimens including EMB at a single institution from August 2003 to July 2009. Visual monitoring was performed at baseline and at regular follow-up. The incidence of EMB-induced visual disturbances was evaluated.

RESULTS: Of the 415 patients included in the study, three (0.7%) developed toxic optic neuropathy over the 6-year period. Of the 289 patients prescribed a dose of 15 mg/kg/day EMB, only one (0.3%) developed toxic optic neuropathy.

CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of EMB-induced optic neuropathy among Koreans is estimated to be 0.7%, and can be reduced with lower doses of EMB.
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Keywords: EMB; incidence; low dose; toxic optic neuropathy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Department of Ophthalmology, and 2: Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Republic of Korea

Publication date: February 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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