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Meds and you

27 September 2013

Atovaquone

Atovaquone is both an antibiotic and an anti-malarial. Anti-malarials are drugs that are used to prevent or treat malaria caused by susceptible strains of the parasite.

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Atovaquone is the active ingredient of Wellvone suspension (Nappi code: 864587-007).

General information
Atovaquone is both an antibiotic and an anti-malarial. Anti-malarials are drugs that are used to prevent or treat malaria caused by susceptible strains of the parasite.

In South Africa atovaquone is registered for the treatment of mild to moderate chest infections and pneumonia caused by the fungus Pneymocystis carinnii. It is prescribed in those who cannot take the antibiotic co-trimoxaxole for the treatment of these airway infections.

Atovaquone it is not of much use when applied on its own for the treatment of malaria. However, if it is combined with proguanil it proves very effective in treating and preventing malaria.

This medication does not cure the underlying condition, but simply keeps the symptoms under control. For it to be effective, it has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice an immediate effect. It is furthermore advised to take additional precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, such as using mosquito repellants, protective clothing and sleeping under mosquito nets.

Atovaquone can be used as a treatment on its own, or in combination with other medications used to treat the same condition.

It is advised not to discontinue treatment before the recommended course has been completed.

If you develop diarrhoea right at the start of your treatment, you should contact your doctor at once, as this may render your treatment ineffective.

How does atovaquone work?
Atovaquone blocks multiplication of both malaria parasites and the pneymocystis cells thereby preventing it from spreading in the body.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4
Available as: atovaquone is available as suspension.
What does it do? Atovaquone kills certain types of protozoa, a group of one-celled animals, which can cause disease in humans.
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: low
Is atovaquone available as a generic? no
Is atovaquone available on prescription only? yes

<>User information

 

Onset of effect: the full effect may only be seen after 24 hours.
Dietary advice: this medication should best be taken with a meal.
Stopping this medicine: it is advised not to discontinue treatment before the recommended course has been completed.
Prolonged use: this medication is generally not prescribed for prolonged periods of times.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug:

  • if you have diarrhoea
  • if you have liver or kidney disease
  • if you are over the age of 60
  • if you are taking other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children.
The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as side effects are more likely to occur.
Driving and hazardous work: no special precautions need to be taken.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects

 

 

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor
 
Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
diarrhoea
X
 
 
X
nausea/vomiting
X
 
X
 
headache
 
X
X
 
fever
 
X
 
X
skin rash
 
X
 
X

Interactions

Drug interactions

 

rifampicin reduced effect of atovaquone
metoclopramide reduced effect of atovaquone
tetracycline reduced effect of atovaquone with risk of treatment failure

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
Adults, oral. Take with food: 5ml twice daily for 21 days.

 

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

 

 

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