Q. My father suffers with yellowing of eyes after taking medicines for tuberculosis. Is it normal?

Answered by
Dr. Nasir
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 25, 2020 and last reviewed on: Jan 28, 2021

Hi doctor,

My father was diagnosed with PTB (pulmonary tuberculosis) last month. He is 64 years old. When I was a kid, my father used to smoke cigarettes a lot and got addicted to alcohol. He had these habits until 4 months. Now, he has stopped these habits. Now, he is under a treatment called "DOTS" in the nearby clinic.

He is taking medicines for a month now. But this month, his eyes had become yellow and the right eye's vision has got blurred. I know about my father's eye vision which is found to be clear crystal even if he is old. I asked about the problems faced by the father to the nurse in the clinic. She advised stopping the medicines taken by my father and advised us to go for a check-up with a gastroenterologist. The doctor advised my father to get admitted for understanding the problem more.

Because of the COVID pandemic, it is necessary to have a swab test. Before a month, my father did a swab test and it was negative. Today, he did the swab test again and it was negative. Currently, my father is not taking antitubercular medicines. Now, we are taking care of my father by giving him vitamins.

He is taking enough sleep and rest now. Vitamin D is given from the sunlight every morning, with milk. He is taking lots of green veggies, and fruits with tons of water. My question is to know whether it is good to stop these medicines taken for tuberculosis. It is a week now that my father stopped taking medicines for tuberculosis.



Welcome to

I completely understand your question. Your father is facing a common side effect due to antitubercular drugs. The yellowing of the eyes occurs due to jaundice. It is caused due to three of the four medications that are prescribed for tuberculosis. There is nothing to worry and it is seen in a lot of patients who started taking these medicines.

The blurring of vision is very common and a documented side effect of the drug taken for tuberculosis. It is necessary to reintroduce the medications slowly and in steps to find the drug causing jaundice. Once we find the drug causing jaundice, then it is easy to substitute them with another one.

The blurring of eyes cannot be neglected and we need to stop taking medicines altogether and consider taking some other drug. Ethambutol is the one that has the least chance to cause jaundice. These problems can be analyzed by the doctor and he will prescribe the alternative drug for the same. Kindly let me know if you have more queries.

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