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All about: Pentacarinat Inhalation

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • NebuPent

In Canada—

  • Pentacarinat
  • Pneumopent

Category

  • Antiprotozoal

Description

Pentamidine (pen-TAM-i-deen) is used to try to prevent Pneumocystis carinii (noo-moe-SISS-tis) pneumonia (PCP), a very serious type of pneumonia. This type of pneumonia occurs commonly in patients whose immune systems are not working normally, such as patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Inhaled pentamidine does not prevent illness in parts of the body outside the lungs. This medicine may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Pentamidine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form:

  • Inhalation
  • Inhalation solution (U.S. and Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For pentamidine inhalation, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to pentamidine inhalation. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Studies on birth defects have not been done in humans. However, studies in rabbits, given doses by injection much larger than humans would absorb into their bloodstream through the lungs, have shown an increase in miscarriages and bone defects in the fetus.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether pentamidine passes into breast milk. However, pentamidine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children—Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of pentamidine inhalation in children with use in other age groups. However, pentamidine inhalation is recommended in children 5 years of age and older who cannot tolerate other medicines.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of pentamidine inhalation in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of pentamidine inhalation. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Asthma—Patients with asthma may have an increase in coughing or difficulty in breathing while receiving pentamidine inhalation

Proper Use of This Medicine

To help prevent the development or return of pneumocystis pneumonia, you must receive pentamidine inhalation on a regular basis, even if you are feeling well.

Dosing—The dose of pentamidine inhalation will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of pentamidine inhalation. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For the inhalation dosage form:
    • For the prevention of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP):
      • Adults and children 5 years of age and older—300 milligrams (mg) by oral inhalation once every four weeks.
      • Children younger than 5 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, receive your treatment as soon as possible.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

If you are also using the inhalation form of a bronchodilator (medicine used to help relieve breathing problems), use the pentamidine inhalation at least 5 to 10 minutes after the bronchodilator, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. This will help to reduce the possibility of side effects. Do not use the bronchodilator or any medicine other than pentamidine in the nebulizer.

A bitter or metallic taste may occur during use of this medicine. Sucking on a hard candy after each treatment can help reduce this problem.

Cigarette smoking can increase the chance of coughing and difficulty in breathing during pentamidine inhalation therapy.

Side Effects of This Medicine

On rare occasions, pneumocystis infections have occurred in parts of the body outside the lungs in patients receiving pentamidine inhalation therapy. You should discuss this possible problem with your doctor.

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your health care professional immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Burning pain, dryness, or sensation of lump in throat; chest pain or congestion; coughing; difficulty in breathing; difficulty in swallowing; skin rash; wheezing

Rare

Nausea and vomiting; pain in upper abdomen, possibly radiating to the back; pain in side of chest (severe); shortness of breath (sudden and severe)

Rare—with daily treatment doses only

Anxiety; chills; cold sweats; cool, pale skin; decreased urination; headache; increased hunger; loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting; nervousness; shakiness; stomach pain; unusual tiredness

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Revised: 03/03/1992

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