Coartem

Generic Name: artemether and lumefantrine (ar TEM e ther and LOO me FAN treen)
Brand Names: Coartem

What is Coartem?

Coartem contains a combination of artemether and lumefantrine. Artemether and lumefantrine are anti-malaria medications that interfere with the growth of parasites in the red blood cells of the human body. Malaria is caused by parasites that enter the body through the bite of a mosquito. Malaria is common in areas such as Africa, South America, and Southern Asia.

Coartem is used to treat non-severe malaria.

This medication is used only to treat malaria. Do not use Coartem to prevent malaria.

Coartem may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Some medicines can interact with Coartem and should not be used at the same time, especially: dexamethasone, nefazodone, rifampin, St. John's wort; certain antibiotics or antifungal medicines -- clarithromycin, erythromycin, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, rifampin, telithromycin, voriconazole; hepatitis C medication -- boceprevir, telaprevir; HIV/AIDS medication -- atazanavir, cobicistat, darunavir, delavirdine, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir; or seizure medication -- carbamazepine, fosphenytoin, phenobarbital, phenytoin.

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Before taking this medicine

You should not use Coartem if you are allergic to artemether or lumefantrine.

Some medicines can interact with artemether and lumefantrine and should not be used at the same time. Your doctor may need to change your treatment plan if you use any of the following drugs:

  • dexamethasone, nefazodone, rifampin, St. John's wort;

  • certain antibiotics or antifungal medicines -- clarithromycin, erythromycin, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, rifampin, telithromycin, voriconazole; hepatitis C medication -- boceprevir, telaprevir; HIV/AIDS medication -- atazanavir, cobicistat, darunavir, delavirdine, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir; or seizure medication -- carbamazepine, fosphenytoin, phenobarbital, phenytoin.

To make sure Coartem is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a history of heart disease or a recent heart attack;

  • heart rhythm disorder, or a personal or family history of Long QT syndrome;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood.

Tell your doctor about all other anti-malaria medications you have used recently.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Coartem will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

Use a barrier form of birth control (such as a condom or diaphragm with spermicide). Hormonal contraception (such as birth control pills, injections, implants, skin patches, and vaginal rings) may not be effective enough to prevent pregnancy during your treatment.

It is not known whether artemether and lumefantrine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Coartem should not be given to a child who weighs less than 11 pounds.

How should I take Coartem?

Take Coartem exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take Coartem with food, milk, pudding, oatmeal, or broth. The tablet may be crushed and mixed with 1 or 2 teaspoons of water for easier swallowing. You may also mix a crushed tablet with infant formula when giving Coartem to a child. Start eating normally as soon as possible to help your body better absorb the medication.

If you vomit within 1 to 2 hours after taking this medication, take another dose. If your vomiting continues or you cannot eat, call your doctor.

Coartem is usually given as a total of 6 doses over a period of 3 days. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about how many tablets to take per dose. Coartem doses are based on weight and age. The usual doses are as follows, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

For people over 16 years old who weigh at least 77 pounds:

  • Take four (4) tablets as an initial dose.

  • Take 4 more tablets 8 hours later.

  • Take 4 tablets in the morning and 4 tablets in the evening for the next 2 days.

For children younger than 16 years old who weigh between 55 and 77 pounds:

  • Take three (3) tablets as an initial dose.

  • Take 3 more tablets 8 hours later.

  • Take 3 tablets in the morning and 3 tablets in the evening for the next 2 days.

For children younger than 16 years old who weigh between 33 and 55 pounds:

  • Take two (2) tablets as an initial dose.

  • Take 2 more tablets 8 hours later.

  • Take 2 tablets in the morning and 2 tablets in the evening for the next 2 days.

For children younger than 16 years old who weigh between 11 and 33 pounds:

  • Take one (1) tablet as an initial dose.

  • Take a second tablet 8 hours later.

  • Take 1 tablet in the morning and 1 tablet in the evening for the next 2 days.

No medication is 100% effective in treating malaria. For best results, keep using the medication as directed.

Store Coartem at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid?

Avoid taking other anti-malaria medications, unless your doctor has told you to.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Coartem and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products while taking Coartem.

Coartem side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Coartem: hives; fast heart rate; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • worsening malaria symptoms;

  • severe vomiting or loss of appetite;

  • headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats; or

  • the first sign of any skin rash, no matter how mild.

Call your doctor if you develop fever, chills, body aches, severe headache, or flu symptoms after you have finished taking all your doses of Coartem.

Common Coartem side effects may include:

  • mild weakness or dizziness, mild headache;

  • joint or muscle pain; or

  • cough.

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Coartem?

Many drugs can interact with Coartem. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your medications and any you start or stop using during treatment with Coartem, especially:

  • antibiotics or medicine to treat tuberculosis;

  • an antidepressant;

  • antipsychotic medication;

  • heart rhythm medication;

  • HIV/AIDS medication; or

  • seizure medication or medicine for nerve pain in your face.

This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with Coartem. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Coartem.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Coartem only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.02. Revision Date: 2013-12-09, 3:27:16 PM.

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