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Pentamidine

Generic Name: pentamidine (pen-TAM-i-deen)
Brand Name: Pentam

Pentamidine is used for:

Treating Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP). It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Pentamidine is an antiprotozoal agent. Exactly how pentamidine works in unknown.

Do NOT use pentamidine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in pentamidine
  • you are taking cisapride, dofetilide, an H1 antagonist (eg, astemizole, terfenadine), ibutilide, sparfloxacin, zalcitabine, or ziprasidone

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using pentamidine:

Some medical conditions may interact with pentamidine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have heart problems (eg, irregular heartbeat), high or low blood pressure, blood problems (eg, anemia, low levels of white blood cells or platelets), low level of calcium in the blood, or liver, kidney, or pancreas problems
  • if you have diabetes or high or low blood sugar
  • if you are dehydrated
  • if you have a history of breathing or lung problems (eg, asthma), smoking, or PCP
  • if you have a history of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (red, swollen, blistered, peeling skin)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with pentamidine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Arsenic, cisapride, dofetilide, H1 antagonists (eg, astemizole, terfenadine), ibutilide, ketolides (eg, telithromycin), macrolides (eg, erythromycin), sparfloxacin, or ziprasidone because the risk of side effects such as irregular heartbeat may be increased
  • Zalcitabine because the risk of pancreas side effects may be increased
  • Medicines that may harm the kidney (eg, aminoglycoside antibiotics [eg, gentamicin], amphotericin B, cisplatin, cyclosporine, foscarnet, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] [eg, ibuprofen], tacrolimus, vancomycin) because the risk of kidney side effects may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if pentamidine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use pentamidine:

Use pentamidine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Pentamidine is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using pentamidine at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • Lie down while using pentamidine because of the risk of severe dizziness.
  • If pentamidine contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • To clear up your infection completely, continue using pentamidine for the full course of treatment even if you feel better in a few days.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of pentamidine, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use pentamidine.

Important safety information:

  • Pentamidine may cause dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to pentamidine. Using pentamidine alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Pentamidine may cause low blood sugar (eg, increased heartbeat, headache, chills, sweating, tremor, increased hunger, changes in vision, nervousness, weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, fainting) or high blood sugar (eg, thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, fruity breath odor). If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor immediately.
  • LAB TESTS, including blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and complete blood counts, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Make sure you keep all doctor and laboratory appointments.
  • Use pentamidine with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 4 months of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is unknown if pentamidine can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant while taking pentamidine, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using pentamidine during pregnancy. It is unknown if pentamidine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while you are using pentamidine.

Possible side effects of pentamidine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Bad taste in mouth; cough; decreased appetite; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; nausea; night sweats; sinus inflammation.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision; chest pain; dark urine; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or sore throat; herpes infection (eg, shingles); increased or decreased urination; increased thirst; mental or mood changes; one-sided weakness; pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; pounding in the chest; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness, nausea, or cough; shortness of breath; slurred speech; stomach pain; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; wheezing; white patches in the mouth or throat; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include chest pain; decreased urination; severe or persistent dizziness; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Proper storage of pentamidine:

Pentamidine is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using pentamidine at home, store pentamidine as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep pentamidine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about pentamidine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Pentamidine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take pentamidine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about pentamidine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to pentamidine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using pentamidine.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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