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Diagnosis and Treatment |

Pentamidine for the Treatment of Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia and Other Protozoal Diseases

RICHARD D. PEARSON, M.D.; and ERIK L. HEWLETT, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: in part by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Richard D. Pearson, M.D.; Box 485, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia School of Medicine; Charlottesville, VA 22908.


Charlottesville, Virginia


©1985 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1985;103(5):782-786. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-103-5-782
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Pentamidine isethionate, discovered to have antiprotozoal activity in 1938, has recently been approved in the United States for the treatment of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Despite frequent adverse reactions, which are at times life-threatening, pentamidine remains an important alternative to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole for the treatment of P. carinii pneumonia in patients with a history of allergy to sulfonamides or who have severe reactions or a lack of response to treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Although not approved for other indications, pentamidine has been shown to be effective when used prophylactically against Trypanosoma bruceigambiense, the cause of West African sleeping sickness, as well as for treatment of the early hemolymphatic stage of that disease, and for treatment of some forms of leishmaniasis.

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