What is the most important information I should know about pentamidine?
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
What is pentamidine?
Pentamidine is an antifungal medication that fights infections caused by fungus.
Pentamidine is used to prevent and treat pneumonia caused by Pneumocystis jiroveci (carinii).
Pentamidine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using pentamidine?
You should not use pentamidine if you are allergic to it.
To make sure pentamidine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- high or low blood pressure;
- a heart rhythm disorder;
- diabetes, or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia);
- a pancreas disorder;
- a severe skin rash called Stevens-Johnson syndrome;
- anemia (low red blood cells);
- low white blood cells or low platelets in your blood;
- low levels of calcium or high levels of potassium in your blood;
- liver or kidney disease; or
- a history of smoking or asthma.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether pentamidine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
It is not known whether pentamidine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Inhaled pentamidine should not be given to a child without the advice of a doctor.
How is pentamidine given?
Pentamidine is given either as an injection, or as in inhaled medicine using a nebulizer. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Pentamidine is a powder medicine that must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it as an injection or with a nebulizer. If you are using this medicine at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine. Use only the diluent provided with your medication.
To use pentamidine as an injection:
- Pentamidine is injected into a muscle, or into a vein through an IV. You may be shown how to use an IV at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.
- Do not use pentamidine if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medication.
- Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when pentamidine is injected.
- Use a disposable needle only once, then throw away in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
To use pentamidine with a nebulizer:
- After mixing your medicine with the diluent, pour all of the mixture into the chamber of the nebulizer. Attach the mouthpiece or face mask, then attach the drug chamber to the compressor.
- Do not mix any other medicines in the nebulizer with pentamidine.
- Sit upright in a comfortable position. Place the mouthpiece into your mouth or put on the face mask, covering your nose and mouth. Turn on the compressor.
- Breathe in slowly and evenly until no more mist is formed by the nebulizer and the drug chamber is empty.
- Clean the nebulizer after each use. Follow the cleaning directions that came with your nebulizer.
If you are diabetic, check your blood sugar carefully while you are receiving pentamidine. This medicine can raise or lower your blood sugar.
While using pentamidine, you may need frequent blood tests. Your heart function may need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG).
Store unmixed medicine at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Mixed medicine must be used within a certain number of hours, depending on the diluent. Carefully follow the mixing and storage instructions provided with your medicine. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions.
Pentamidine contains no preservative. Throw away any unused medicine.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of pentamidine.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using pentamidine?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
What are the possible side effects of pentamidine?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using this medication with a nebulizer;
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- fast or uneven heart rate;
- painful or difficult urination;
- confusion, hallucinations;
- pain, burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given;
- worsening symptoms, or signs of a new infection (fever, cough, trouble breathing, night sweats);
- a blood cell disorder --pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
- pancreatitis --severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting;
- low blood sugar --headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, confusion, irritability, dizziness, or feeling jittery; or
- severe skin reaction --fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common side effects may include:
- loss of appetite; or
- unusual or unpleasant taste in the mouth.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect pentamidine?
Other drugs may interact with pentamidine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Where can I get more information?
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about pentamidine.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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