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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Skin rash, fever. Call your doctor immediately.
Common

Insomnia, diarrhea, cough, headache, nausea or vomiting.
Less Common

Lack of energy, fatigue, itching, stomach upset or abdominal pain, constipation, dizziness.
Atovaquone


Drug Class:
Anti-infective/antiprotozoal

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Oral suspension, tablets

Why Prescribed
To treat mild to moderately severe Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in patients who cannot take the antibiotic trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (the standard therapy for PCP). This serious type of pneumonia is prevalent among patients with AIDS.

How It Works
Atovaquone prevents infecting cells from manufacturing DNA and other substances necessary for growth and reproduction.

Range and Frequency
Adults and teenagers-- Oral suspension: 750 mg twice a day, with meals, for 21 days. Tablets: 750 mg, 3 times a day, with meals, for 21 days.

Onset of Effect
Unknown.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
Take it with meals high in fat content to help the body absorb the medication.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not allow to freeze. Keep away from extreme temperatures.

Missed Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. This will help keep a constant level of medication in your system. However, if it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Take it as prescribed for the full treatment period, even if you begin to feel better before the scheduled end of therapy. The decision to stop taking the drug should be made in consultation with your doctor. Stopping the drug prematurely may slow your recovery or lead to a rebound infection.

Prolonged Use
Therapy with atovaquone requires 21 days. Prolonged use of atovaquone beyond this period may be associated with an increased chance of side effects.

Over 60
No studies have been done specifically on older patients; adverse reactions may be more likely or more severe.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Do not drive or engage in hazardous work until you determine how the medicine affects you.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Adequate human studies on the use of this drug in pregnant women have not been done. Before taking atovaquone, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Discuss with your doctor the relative risks and benefits of using this drug while pregnant.

Breast Feeding
Atovaquone may pass into breast milk; caution is advised. Consult your doctor for advice.

Infants and Children
Adequate studies of the use of atovaquone in children have not been done. Consult your pediatrician for advice.

Special Concerns
A regular teaspoon may not hold the correct amount of medication. Use a specially marked measuring spoon or other device to dispense each dose.

Overdose Symptoms
No cases of atovaquone overdose have been reported.

What to Do
If someone takes a much larger dose than prescribed, call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center as soon as possible.

Drug Interactions
Other drugs may interact with atovaquone. Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking rifampin, rifabutin, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim combination, or zidovudine.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Atovaquone may not work properly in patients with a stomach or an intestinal condition (such as colitis) that limits drug absorption. Consult your doctor for more information.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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