What is pentamidine used for?
Pentamidine is a prescription medicine that is used to treat Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia. Pentamidine may be given to you for other reasons.
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.
- High or low blood sugar may happen in some patients after pentamidine is given. Talk with the doctor.
- Check your blood sugar as you have been told by your doctor.
- Check your blood pressure as you have been told.
- To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down. Be careful going up and down stairs.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- You will need an ECG before starting pentamidine and during treatment. Talk with your doctor.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly side effects like a heartbeat that does not feel normal, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and pancreatitis have happened with pentamidine. Talk with the doctor.
- Low white blood cell counts have happened with pentamidine. This may lead to a higher chance of getting an infection. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat.
- 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.
- It is given as a shot into a muscle or as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
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:
For all uses of pentamidine:
- 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 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 a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- 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 low calcium levels like muscle cramps or spasms, numbness and tingling, or seizures.
- 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.
Injection (if given in the vein):
- This medicine may cause tissue damage if the drug leaks from the vein. Tell your nurse if you have any redness, burning, pain, swelling, blisters, skin sores, or leaking of fluid where the drug is going into your body.
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:
- Not hungry.
- Upset stomach.
- Irritation where the shot is given.
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?
- If you need to store pentamidine at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
SRC: NLM .