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All about: Aztreonam

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Azactam

Not commercially available in Canada.

Category

  • Antibacterial, systemic

Description

Aztreonam (AZ-tree-oh-nam) is an antibiotic that is used to treat infections caused by bacteria. It works by killing bacteria or preventing their growth.

Aztreonam is used to treat bacterial infections in many different parts of the body. It is sometimes given with other antibiotics. This medicine will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription. It is available in the following dosage form:

  • Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S.)

Before Receiving 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 aztreonam, the following should be considered:

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

Pregnancy—Studies have not been done in humans. However, aztreonam has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in studies in rabbits and rats given up to 15 times the highest human daily dose.

Breast-feeding—Aztreonam passes into the breast milk in small amounts. However, this medicine is not absorbed when taken by mouth, and problems have not been seen in nursing babies.

Children—Studies have been done in children and have shown that aztreonam is effective in treating certain bacterial infections and that side effects in children are similar to those experienced by adults. Elevations of liver enzymes and reductions in white blood cell counts were seen in children who were given high doses of this medicine or who had more serious infections.

Older adults—Aztreonam has been tested in a limited number of patients 65 years of age or older and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

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 aztreonam. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Liver disease—Patients receiving high doses of aztreonam for a long time, who also have severe liver disease, may have an increased chance of side effects
  • Kidney disease—Patients with kidney disease may have an increased chance of side effects

Proper Use of This Medicine

To help clear up your infection completely, aztreonam must be given for the full time of treatment , even if you begin to feel better after a few days. Also, this medicine works best when there is a constant amount in the blood or urine. To help keep the amount constant, aztreonam must be given on a regular schedule.

Dosing—The dose of aztreonam 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 aztreonam. Your dose may be different if you have kidney disease. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For injection dosage form:
    • Adults and children 16 years of age and older: 1 to 2 grams injected slowly into a vein over a twenty- to sixty-minute period. This is repeated every six to twelve hours.
    • Children up to 16 years of age: Dosage is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.

Side Effects of This Medicine

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 doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common or rare

Black, tarry stools; blood in urine or stools; burning or itching of vagina; chest pain; chills; confusion; convulsions (seizures); cough; dark urine; diarrhea; difficulty in breathing; discharge from vagina; discomfort, inflammation, or swelling at the injection site; dizziness; eye pain; fever; flu-like symptoms; general feeling of illness; headache; hives; light gray-colored stools; loss of appetite; numbness of tongue; pinpoint red spots on skin; seeing double; skin rash, redness, or itching; sore throat; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness; yellow skin or eyes

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

Less common or rare

Abdominal or stomach cramps; altered sense of taste; bad breath; breast tenderness; burning or prickling feeling of skin; flushing; increased sweating; mouth ulcers; muscular aches; nasal congestion; nausea or vomiting; ringing, buzzing, or noise in ear; small, nonraised, round, purplish or red spots on skin; sneezing; trouble in sleeping

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

Revised: 03/23/1999

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