What is pentamidine used for?
Pentamidine is a prescription medicine that is used to prevent Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia.
Pentamidine isethionate, 4,4′-[1,5-pentane-diylbis(oxy)]bis-benzenecarboximidamid, is a white crystalline powder soluble in water and glycerin and insoluble in ether, acetone, and chloroform.
Each vial contains 300 mg pentamidine isethionate.
Before taking pentamidine, tell your doctor:
- If you are allergic to pentamidine; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you are taking any drugs that can raise the chance of kidney problems. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with pentamidine.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take pentamidine with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take pentamidine?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take pentamidine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- People using pentamidine to prevent Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia can still get it. Call your doctor right away if you have a cough, fever, or shortness of breath.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using pentamidine while you are pregnant.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is pentamidine best taken?
Use pentamidine as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Keep taking pentamidine as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- For breathing in only as a liquid (solution) by a special machine (nebulizer) into the lungs.
- Your doctor may teach you how to give pentamidine.
- Follow how to take pentamidine as you have been told by your doctor. Do not use more than you were told to use.
- This medicine needs to be mixed before use. Follow how to mix as you were told by the doctor.
- Do not mix other drugs in nebulizer.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
What are the side effects of pentamidine that I need to call my doctor about immediately?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of low calcium levels like muscle cramps or spasms, numbness and tingling, or seizures.
- Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of high potassium levels like a heartbeat that does not feel normal; feeling confused; feeling weak, lightheaded, or dizzy; feeling like passing out; numbness or tingling; or shortness of breath.
- Signs of a very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in the mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
- A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Tell your doctor if you have signs of high or low blood sugar like breath that smells like fruit, dizziness, fast breathing, fast heartbeat, feeling confused, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, flushing, headache, more thirsty or hungry, passing urine more often, shaking, or sweating.
- Low white blood cell counts have rarely happened with pentamidine. This may lead to a higher chance of getting an infection. Tell your doctor if you have ever had a low white blood cell count. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat.
What are some other side effects of pentamidine?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Cough right after using.
- Not hungry.
- Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If overdose is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out pentamidine?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from light.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- After mixing, be sure you know how long the product is good for and how to store it. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
SRC: NLM .