ISONIAZID- isoniazid solution
A-S Medication Solutions

CMP Pharma, Inc.

Rx only


Severe and sometimes fatal hepatitis associated with isoniazid therapy has been reported and may occur or may develop even after many months of treatment. The risk of developing hepatitis is age related. Approximate case rates by age are: less than 1 per 1,000 for persons under 20 years of age, 3 per 1,000 for persons in the 20 to 34 year age group, 12 per 1,000 for persons in the 35 to 49 year age group, 23 per 1,000 for persons in the 50 to 64 year age group and 8 per 1,000 for persons over 65 years of age. The risk of hepatitis is increased with daily consumption of alcohol. Precise data to provide a fatality rate for isoniazid-related hepatitis is not available; however, in a U.S. Public Health Service Surveillance Study of 13,838 persons taking isoniazid, there were 8 deaths among 174 cases of hepatitis.

Therefore, patients given isoniazid should be carefully monitored and interviewed at monthly intervals. For persons 35 and older, in addition to monthly symptom reviews, hepatic enzymes (specifically, AST and ALT [formerly SGOT and SGPT, respectively]) should be measured prior to starting isoniazid therapy and periodically throughout treatment. Isoniazid-associated hepatitis usually occurs during the first three months of treatment. Usually, enzyme levels return to normal despite continuance of drug, but in some cases progressive liver dysfunction occurs. Other factors associated with an increased risk of hepatitis include daily use of alcohol, chronic liver disease and injection drug use. A recent report suggests an increased risk of fatal hepatitis associated with isoniazid among women, particularly black and Hispanic women. The risk may also be increased during the post-partum period. More careful monitoring should be considered in these groups, possibly including more frequent laboratory monitoring. If abnormalities of liver function exceed three to five times the upper limit of normal, discontinuation of isoniazid should be strongly considered. Liver function tests are not a substitute for a clinical evaluation at monthly intervals or for the prompt assessment of signs or symptoms of adverse reactions occurring between regularly scheduled evaluations. Patients should be instructed to immediately report signs or symptoms consistent with liver damage or other adverse effects. These include any of the following: unexplained anorexia, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, icterus, rash, persistent paresthesias of the hands and feet, persistent fatigue, weakness or fever of greater than 3 days duration and/or abdominal tenderness, especially right upper quadrant discomfort. If these symptoms appear or if signs suggestive of hepatic damage are detected, isoniazid should be discontinued promptly, since continued use of the drug in these cases has been reported to cause a more severe form of liver damage.

Patients with tuberculosis who have hepatitis attributed to isoniazid should be given appropriate treatment with alternative drugs. If isoniazid must be reinstituted, it should be reinstituted only after symptoms and laboratory abnormalities have cleared. The drug should be restarted in very small and gradually increasing doses and should be withdrawn immediately if there is any indication of recurrent liver involvement.

Preventive treatment should be deferred in persons with acute hepatic diseases.


Isoniazid is an antibacterial available as an orange-flavored solution for oral administration containing 50 mg of Isoniazid USP per 5 mL of oral solution. Sorbitol solution USP (containing 70% Sorbitol) is used as the vehicle. This product also contains citric acid USP and potassium sorbate NF.

Isoniazid is chemically known as isonicotinyl hydrazine or isonicotinic acid hydrazide. It has a molecular formula of C6 H7 N3 O and a molecular weight of 137.14. It has the following structural formula:

Chemical Structure

Isoniazid is odorless and occurs as a colorless or white crystalline powder or as white crystals. It is freely soluble in water, sparingly soluble in alcohol and slightly soluble in chloroform and in ether. Isoniazid is slowly affected by exposure to air and light.


Within 1 to 2 hours after oral administration, isoniazid produces peak blood levels which decline to 50 percent or less within 6 hours. It diffuses readily into all body fluids (cerebrospinal, pleural and ascitic fluids), tissues, organs and excreta (saliva, sputum and feces). The drug also passes through the placental barrier and into milk in concentrations comparable to those in the plasma. From 50 to 70 percent of a dose of isoniazid is excreted in the urine in 24 hours.

Isoniazid is metabolized primarily by acetylation and dehydrazination. The rate of acetylation is genetically determined. Approximately 50 percent of Blacks and Caucasians are “slow inactivators” and the rest are “rapid inactivators”; the majority of Eskimos and Orientals are “rapid inactivators.”

The rate of acetylation does not significantly alter the effectiveness of isoniazid. However, slow acetylation may lead to higher blood levels of the drug and, thus, to an increase in toxic reactions.

Pyridoxine (vitamin B6 ) deficiency is sometimes observed in adults with high doses of isoniazid and is considered probably due to its competition with pyridoxal phosphate for the enzyme apotryptophanase.

Mechanism of Action

Isoniazid inhibits the synthesis of mycoloic acids, an essential component of the bacterial cell wall. At therapeutic levels isoniazid is bactericidal against actively growing intracellular and extracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis organisms.


Resistance to isoniazid occurs because of mutations in the katG, inhA, kasA and ahpC genes. Resistance in M. tuberculosis develops rapidly when isoniazid monotherapy is administered.

Susceptibility Testing

For specific information regarding susceptibility test interpretive criteria, and associated test methods and quality control standards recognized by FDA for isoniazid oral solution, please see:


Isoniazid oral solution is recommended for all forms of tuberculosis in which organisms are susceptible. However, active tuberculosis must be treated with multiple concomitant anti-tuberculosis medications to prevent the emergence of drug resistance. Single-drug treatment of active tuberculosis with isoniazid or any other medication is inadequate therapy.

Isoniazid oral solution is recommended as preventive therapy for the following groups, regardless of age. (Note: the criterion for a positive reaction to a skin test (in millimeters of induration) for each group is given in parenthesis):

  1. Persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (greater than or equal to 5 mm) and persons with risk factors for HIV infection whose HIV infection status is unknown but who are suspected of having HIV infection. Preventive therapy may be considered for HIV infected persons who are tuberculin-negative but belong to groups in which the prevalence of tuberculosis infection is high. Candidates for preventive therapy who have HIV infection should have a minimum of 12 months of therapy.
  2. Close contacts of persons with newly diagnosed infectious tuberculosis (greater than or equal to 5 mm). In addition, tuberculin-negative (less than 5 mm) children and adolescents who have been close contacts of infectious persons within the past 3 months are candidates for preventive therapy until a repeat tuberculin skin test is done 12 weeks after contact with the infectious source. If the repeat skin test is positive (greater than 5 mm), therapy should be continued.
  3. Recent converters, as indicated by a tuberculin skin test (greater than or equal to 10 mm increase within a 2-year period for those less than 35 years old; greater than or equal to 15 mm increase for those greater than or equal to 35 years of age). All infants and children younger than 4 years of age with a greater than 10 mm skin test are included in this category.
  4. Persons with abnormal chest radiographs that show fibrotic lesions likely to represent old healed tuberculosis (greater than or equal to 5 mm). Candidates for preventive therapy who have fibrotic pulmonary lesions consistent with healed tuberculosis or who have pulmonary silicosis should have 12 months of isoniazid or 4 months of isoniazid and rifampin, concomitantly.
  5. Intravenous drug users known to be HIV-seronegative (greater than 10 mm).
  6. Persons with the following medical conditions that have been reported to increase the risk of tuberculosis (greater than or equal to 10 mm): silicosis; diabetes mellitus; prolonged therapy with adrenocorticosteroids; immunosuppressive therapy; some hematologic and reticuloendothelial diseases, such as leukemia or Hodgkin’s disease; end-stage renal disease; clinical situations associated with substantial rapid weight loss or chronic undernutrition (including: intestinal bypass surgery for obesity, the postgastrectomy state [with or without weight loss], chronic peptic ulcer disease, chronic malabsorption syndromes and carcinomas of the oropharynx and upper gastrointestinal tract that prevent adequate nutritional intake). Candidates for preventive therapy who have fibrotic pulmonary lesions consistent with healed tuberculosis or who have pulmonary silicosis should have 12 months of isoniazid or 4 months of isoniazid and rifampin, concomitantly.

Additionally, in the absence of any of the above risk factors, persons under the age of 35 with a tuberculin skin test reaction of 10 mm or more are also appropriate candidates for preventive therapy if they are a member of any of the following high-incidence groups:

  1. Foreign-born persons from high-prevalence countries who never received BCG vaccine.
  2. Medically underserved low-income populations, including high-risk racial or ethnic minority populations, especially blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans.
  3. Residents of facilities for long-term care (e.g., correctional institutions, nursing homes and mental institutions).

Children who are less than 4 years old are candidates for isoniazid preventive therapy if they have greater than 10 mm induration from a PPD Mantoux tuberculin skin test.

Finally, persons under the age of 35 who a) have none of the above risk factors (1 to 6); b) belong to none of the high-incidence groups; and c) have a tuberculin skin test reaction of 15 mm or more, are appropriate candidates for preventive therapy.

The risk of hepatitis must be weighed against the risk of tuberculosis in positive tuberculin reactors over the age of 35. However, the use of isoniazid is recommended for those with the additional risk factors listed above (1 to 6) and on an individual basis in situations where there is likelihood of serious consequences to contacts who may become infected.

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