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Pentamidine is used to treat a serious lung infection (Pneumocystis pneumonia-PCP) in people with immune system problems, including people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Pentamidine belongs to a class of drugs known as antiprotozoals. It works by killing the organism that causes the infection.
This medication is given by injection into a vein or muscle as directed by your doctor, usually once a day. If it is given by injection into a vein, it is slowly injected over 1 to 2 hours. Tell your doctor right away if you notice leakage, redness, or pain during an injection into your vein. If this medication is given by injection into a muscle, it is usually injected into the buttock/hip area.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment.
If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, unusual taste/dryness in the mouth, dizziness, diarrhea, or redness/pain/leakage at the injection site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: easy bruising/bleeding, mental/mood changes (such as confusion, hallucinations), signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine), signs of anemia (such as severe tiredness, bluish skin/nails), signs of low blood pressure (such as severe dizziness, pale skin, fainting), signs of low blood sugar (such as sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger), signs of another infection (such as increased fever, chills, persistent sore throat), abdominal pain, fast/irregular heartbeat, signs of high blood sugar (such as unusual increase in thirst or urination).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using pentamidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: bleeding/blood disorders, heart problems, high or low blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, liver problems, pancreatitis.
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Pentamidine may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using pentamidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using pentamidine safely.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially QT prolongation (see above).
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because breast milk can transmit HIV, do not breast-feed if you have HIV infection. Consult your doctor for details.
Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: other drugs that may affect the kidneys (including aminoglycosides such as tobramycin, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen), saquinavir.
Many drugs besides pentamidine may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), including amiodarone, dofetilide, pimozide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol, macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), among others.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor right away to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as kidney/liver tests, blood pressure, blood sugar, complete blood counts, EKGs) should be performed regularly before, during, and after treatment to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
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