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All about: guanidine

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Generic Name: guanidine (GWAN ih deen)
Brand Names: Guanidine HCl

What is guanidine?

Guanidine improves the action of a chemical in the body that regulates muscle cells.

Guanidine is used to treat muscle weakness caused by Eaton-Lambert syndrome. Guanidine will not treat myasthenia gravis.

Guanidine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about guanidine?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have bone marrow depression or a weak immune system.

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Guanidine can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your urine may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking guanidine?

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have:

  • bone marrow depression; or

  • a weak immune system.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use guanidine, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Guanidine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take guanidine?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Guanidine can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. To be sure your blood cells do not get too low, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your urine may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store guanidine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of a guanidine overdose may include loss of appetite, diarrhea, numbness or tingling of the lips and fingers, nervousness, tremors, severe muscle spasms or twitching, diarrhea, and vomiting.

What should I avoid while taking guanidine?

Avoid contact with people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a vaccine while you are being treated with guanidine. Vaccines may not work as well during your treatment with guanidine.

Guanidine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • unusual thoughts, changes in behavior;

  • feeling light-headed, fainting;

  • confusion, hallucinations (seeing things that are not there);

  • weakness, lack of coordination;

  • numbness, coldness, or tingling in your face, lips, hands, or feet; or

  • fast or pounding heartbeats.

Other less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, stomach pain;

  • skin rash;

  • increased sweating; or

  • dry mouth, dry flaky skin.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect guanidine?

Before taking guanidine, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • a steroid medicine;

  • cancer chemotherapy or radiation;

  • cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf);

  • etanercept (Enbrel), efalizumab (Raptiva), tacrolimus (Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune); or

  • any other medicines that can weaken your immune system.

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use guanidine, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect guanidine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has more information about guanidine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Guanidine is available with a prescription under the generic name Guanidine Hydrochloride (HCl). Other brand or generic forms may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • 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 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.02. Revision Date: 7/25/06 10:13:33 AM.

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