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Pentamidine (By breathing)

Pentamidine (pen-TAM-i-deen)

Helps treat and prevent Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to pentamidine.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use and how often.
  • A machine called a nebulizer turns the medicine into a fine spray that you breathe into your lungs. You will need to use the nebulizer for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the medicine in the dose chamber is gone.
  • A nurse or other caregiver trained to use the nebulizer will give your medicine. Sometimes you, someone in your family, or a friend can be taught to give your treatment.

If a dose is missed:

  • Use the missed dose as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for your next dose.
  • Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next regular dose.
  • You should not use two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • If you have your treatments at home, you may need to store your medicine. The medicine comes as a powder that needs to be mixed with sterile water before it is given. The powder can be kept at room temperature away from heat, moisture, or light.
  • After the powder is mixed with sterile water, you can keep it at room temperature for 2 days (48 hours). Keep the medicine out of direct light. After 2 days, throw the mixed medicine away.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not mix any other medicine with pentamidine in the nebulizer. You should not use the nebulizer to give any other medicines, unless your doctor tells you to.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Talk with your doctor before using the medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have diabetes, high or low blood pressure, anemia, asthma, or heart, liver, or kidney disease.
  • When you breathe in the medicine, you may cough or have trouble breathing, especially if you smoke or have asthma. Your doctor may give you a medicine to use before your pentamidine treatment to help you breathe easier.
  • Fever, chills, night sweats, tiredness, or appetite loss may mean that your infection is getting worse or you have a new infection. Call your doctor as soon as possible if you have the symptoms listed above.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Coughing, wheezing, or trouble breathing
  • Skin rash, itching, or hives
  • Sharp chest pains

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Change in taste or a metallic taste in your mouth
  • Nausea, appetite loss
  • Sore throat or hoarseness
  • Dizziness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 3/19/2020

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