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Pentamidine (inhaled by mouth)


What is pentamidine?

Pentamidine (also called NebuPent®) is used to prevent certain infections, such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in patients who cannot take SMX/TMP (Septra® or Bactrim®). Pentamidine breathing treatments are given with a Respirgard® II nebulizer, a machine that turns the medicine into a fine spray that you breathe into your lungs.

Possible side effects of pentamidine

  • Chest pain, coughing, and wheezing
  • Short of breath
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Bad taste or metallic taste in mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizzy feeling
  • Night sweats
  • Sore throat, hoarse voice
  • Nausea and vomiting

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for pentamidine

  • PCP is a very serious infection that can be fatal. PCP is more likely to occur in patients with low blood counts. To receive the best protection against PCP, you must have a pentamidine breathing treatment every 3 to 4 weeks. Missing a breathing treatment increases your risk of having the infection.
  • A respiratory care therapist will give you the breathing treatment through a mask or a mouthpiece that is connected to the nebulizer. You will receive the breathing treatment in an isolation area. It usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • The therapist will check your heart rate during the breathing treatment.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).