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Pentamidine (By breathing)

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

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Pentamidine is used to try to prevent Pneumocystis carinii 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… Read more
Brand names include
Nebupent
Other forms
By injection
Drug classes About this
Antiprotozoal

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Chemotherapy of second‐stage Human African trypanosomiasis

Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), or sleeping sickness, is a painful and protracted disease transmitted through the bite of infected tsetse flies and it is found in rural parts of sub‐Saharan Africa. Sleeping sickness has two clinical phases but this review focuses only on treatment of the second‐stage, which is characterized by neurological changes and almost invariably fatal without treatment. There are only a few drugs currently available for second‐stage sleeping sickness, all with considerable adverse events and variable efficacy.

Treatment of American tegumentary leishmaniasis in special populations: a summary of evidence

We aimed to assess and synthesize the information available in the literature regarding the treatment of American tegumentary leishmaniasis in special populations. We searched MEDLINE (via PubMed), EMBASE, LILACS, SciELO, Scopus, Cochrane Library and mRCT databases to identify clinical trials and observational studies that assessed the pharmacological treatment of the following groups of patients: pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, the elderly, individuals with chronic diseases and individuals with suppressed immune systems. The quality of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) approach. The available evidence suggests that the treatments of choice for each population or disease entity are as follows: nursing mothers and children (meglumine antimoniate or pentamidine), patients with renal disease (amphotericin B or miltefosine), patients with heart disease (amphotericin B, miltefosine or pentamidine), immunosuppressed patients (liposomal amphotericin), the elderly (meglumine antimoniate), pregnant women (amphotericinB) and patients with liver disease (no evidence available). The quality of evidence is low or very low for all groups. Accurate controlled studies are required to fi ll in the gaps in evidence for treatment in special populations. Post-marketing surveillance programs could also collect relevant information to guide treatment decision-making.

Treatment of mucosal leishmaniasis in Latin America: systematic review

Mucosal leishmaniasis (ML) is an important endemic disease and public-health problem in underdeveloped countries because of its significant morbidity and mortality. Increases in ecological tourism have extended this problem to developed countries. This form of leishmaniasis, caused by reactivation after primary cutaneous lesion, has a natural history of progressive destruction of the nasal septa and soft and hard palates, causing facial disfiguration and leading to respiratory disturbances. Treatment of ML, based on several therapies, depends on use of toxic compounds, and few drugs have emerged over the past 40 years. Drug resistance has increased, and the cure rate is no better than 70% in the largest studies. Despite these data, there has been no systematic review of therapies used to treat this important tropical disease. The aim of this study is to determine the best drug management for treatment of ML in Latin America based on the best studies offered by the medical literature. The MEDLINE, LILACS, EMBASE, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases were searched to identify articles related to ML and therapy. The studies were independently selected by 2 authors. Articles with sufficient data for cure and treatment failures, internal and external validity information, and > 4 patients in each treatment were included. Validation of this systematic review was based on guidelines to guarantee quality; 22 articles met our inclusion criteria. Stibogluconate achieved a 51% cure rate (76/150 patients), and 88% of patients treated with meglumine were cured (121 patients). Pentamidine and amphotericin were as effective as meglumine. Use of itraconazole and other therapies (pentoxifylline, allopurinol, or interferon-gamma) was controversial, and numbers of patients in some studies were insufficient for statistical analysis. Meglumine may be the drug of choice in the treatment of ML, as it offers similar cure rates when compared with amphotericin B and pentamidine. Cost, adverse effects, local experience, and availability of drugs to treat ML are strong points to be considered before determining the best management of this disease, especially in developing countries.

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Summaries for consumers

Chemotherapy of second‐stage Human African trypanosomiasis

Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), or sleeping sickness, is a painful and protracted disease transmitted through the bite of infected tsetse flies and it is found in rural parts of sub‐Saharan Africa. Sleeping sickness has two clinical phases but this review focuses only on treatment of the second‐stage, which is characterized by neurological changes and almost invariably fatal without treatment. There are only a few drugs currently available for second‐stage sleeping sickness, all with considerable adverse events and variable efficacy.

Interventions for American cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis.

American cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, a disfiguring and stigmatising disease affecting Central and South American regions, is caused by a parasite transmitted by sandflies. Pentavalent antimonial drugs (sodium stibogluconate (Pentostam, Stibanate, SSG) and meglumine antimoniate (Glucantime, MA)) have been used since the 1940s as first‐line therapeutic agents for cutaneous leishmaniasis worldwide. However, other treatments have been used because these are expensive, toxic and painful, and because resistance is emerging.

Adjunctive corticosteroids for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia in patients with HIV infection

Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP), formerly called Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, is the most common opportunistic infection among patients infected with HIV. In 1990, based on evidence from five randomised controlled trials, an expert panel recommended the use of corticosteroids for HIV‐infected patients with PCP and substantial hypoxaemia (low levels of oxygen in the blood).

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