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and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5527
Pentamidine (pen-TAM-i-deen) is a liquid
antibiotic breathed into the lungs to prevent
or treat a lung infection called Pneumocystis
jiroveci Pneumonia (PJP). People whose
immune systems are weak because of
disease, organ transplant or medicines they
take are at higher risk for PJP.
Note: P. jiroveci was formerly named P.
How long do I have to take Pentamidine?
Some people take Pentamidine once a month
for six months. Others need to do a
treatment once a month for a longer time. If
you are not sure how long you have to take
Pentamidine, please talk with your provider.
What are the side effects?
Pentamidine has fewer side effects when it
is inhaled. Some of the common side effects
ξ Bitter taste in the mouth
ξ Dry throat
ξ Chest tightness
How is the Pentamidine given?
ξ Before you receive it, the respiratory
therapist (RT) will give you a
medicine called albuterol. This
medicine helps to open up the
airways in your lungs so you don’t
have a hard time breathing or
coughing during the Pentamidine
ξ The RT will use a small cup called a
nebulizer to give the Pentamidine.
When air is attached to the cup, it
will cause the liquid Pentamidine to
become a mist you can breathe in.
ξ You will be asked to lie back, so
your head is raised no more than 6
inches while you receive this
treatment. This is done so when you
inhale, most of the medicine will end
up in the top of your lungs, where
PJP often starts.
ξ You must put the mouthpiece in your
mouth, seal your lips tight around it,
and take deep breaths during the
treatment. It will take 20-30 minutes
for the treatment. When there is no
more mist formed, the treatment is
ξ Anyone who is in the room with you
while you are taking the treatment
will need to wear a special mask.
This is to protect them from
breathing in the medicine too.
Otherwise, they could have the same
side effects listed above. Be sure to
tell the RT if you or anyone with you
might be pregnant. Pregnant or
possibly pregnant women should not
be in the room when Pentamidine is
ξ If you have trouble breathing,
shortness of breath, or chest tightness
during or after the treatment, tell the
RT right away.
ξ When the treatment is done, you may
take a drink of water, juice, or suck
on a piece of candy to get the bitter
taste out of your mouth.