Ethambutol-induced optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis: Is there an association?

Syed Faraz Kazim, Saad Shafqat

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Although the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) after idiopathic optic neuritis (ON) is well known, MS following ethambutol-induced ON is not widely recognized. We hypothesize the possible association between ethambutol-induced ON and MS based on empirical data of six patients with ethambutol-induced ON who progressed to MS. Whether there is a genuine link between ethambutol-induced ON and MS is unresolved, but our observations do raise the possibility. It is difficult to speculate on the mechanism for such a link, because the etiology of MS itself is unknown. It is possible that ethambutol or its metabolites induce an autoimmune response, through molecular mimicry or other phenomena, cross-reacting with central nervous system (CNS) myelin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-680
Number of pages2
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


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