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Pyrimethamine

Generic Name: pyrimethamine (peer-i-METH-a-meen)
Brand Name: Daraprim

Pyrimethamine is used for:

Treating or preventing malaria and treating toxoplasmosis when used with other medicines (eg, folinic acid).

Pyrimethamine is an antiparasitic. It works by killing the parasites or preventing their growth.

Do NOT use pyrimethamine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in pyrimethamine
  • you have megaloblastic anemia due to folate deficiency

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

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Before using pyrimethamine:

Some medical conditions may interact with pyrimethamine. 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 a history of depression, seizures, kidney or liver problems, bone marrow problems, stomach or bowel problems (eg, malabsorption syndrome), phenylketonuria, or alcoholism

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

  • Phenytoin because side effects of pyrimethamine may be increased
  • Methotrexate, proguanil, quinine, sulfonamides (eg, sulfamethoxazole), or zidovudine because the risk of bone marrow suppression may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if pyrimethamine 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 pyrimethamine:

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

  • Pyrimethamine may be taken with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe another medicine called folinic acid (leucovorin calcium) to take along with pyrimethamine.
  • To clear up your infection completely, continue using pyrimethamine for the full course of treatment even if you feel better in a few days.
  • If you miss a dose of pyrimethamine, take 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 take 2 doses at once.

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

Important safety information:

  • It is important to use pyrimethamine for the full course of treatment. Failure to do so may decrease the effectiveness of pyrimethamine and may increase the risk that the organisms will no longer be sensitive to pyrimethamine and will not be able to be treated by this or certain other antibiotics in the future.
  • LAB TESTS, including blood cell counts and platelet counts, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use pyrimethamine with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is unknown if pyrimethamine can cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while taking pyrimethamine. If you become pregnant while taking pyrimethamine, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using pyrimethamine during pregnancy. Pyrimethamine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking pyrimethamine.

Possible side effects of pyrimethamine:

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:

Loss of appetite; nausea; vomiting.

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); blood in the urine; irregular heartbeat; pale skin; red, swollen, or blistered skin; severe or persistent vomiting; sore throat or fever; unusual bleeding or bruising.

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 abdominal pain; difficulty breathing; fast heartbeat; fever; nausea; seizures; severe or persistent vomiting; stomach pain; vomiting of blood.

Proper storage of pyrimethamine:

Store pyrimethamine at room temperature, between 59 and 77 degrees F (15 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep pyrimethamine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about pyrimethamine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Pyrimethamine 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 pyrimethamine 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 pyrimethamine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to pyrimethamine. 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 pyrimethamine.

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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