ARTEMETHER - Watsons Health

ARTEMETHER

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Coartem

GENERIC NAME(S): ARTEMETHER/LUMEFANTRINE

 

Description: Artemether is a blood schizontocide for treating chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria, and complicated falciparum malaria including cerebral malaria.

Artemether is an antimalarial drug for adults and children.

How to use Artemether-Lumefantrine

Take this medication by mouth, with food, usually taken twice a day with a meal for 3 days (6 doses) or as directed by your doctor. On your first day of treatment, take your first dose with food, followed by your second dose 8 hours later. Then each day for the next 2 days, take one dose in the morning and one dose in the evening.  Food helps this medication work better. Tell your doctor if you are unable to eat.

The tablets may be crushed and mixed with one or two teaspoons (5 to 10 milliliters) of water in a clean container at the time your dose is due, but do not crush tablets or mix with water in advance.

If you vomit within 1 to 2 hours of taking this drug, repeat this dose and contact your doctor immediately. Full course therapy is important for best treatment outcome.

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of this drug than prescribed. Do not skip any doses. Continue to take this medication until the full prescribed amount is finished, even if symptoms disappear after a few doses.

Avoid grapefruit as it may lengthen the time the drug stays in your bloodstream.

If your symptoms of malaria (such as fever, chills, headache, other flu-like symptoms), persist or worsen after 1 to 2 days of taking this medication, seek immediate medical attention.

Headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, weakness, fever, chills, tiredness, muscle/joint pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cough, and trouble sleeping may occur.

Serious side effects occur: chest pain, severe dizziness, fainting, fast/irregular/pounding heartbeat.

Contact your doctor if you experience allergic reactions or symptoms mentioned above.

Precautions

Inform your doctor or pharmacist your allergies, medical history, especially of: recent use (within the past month) of any medication to prevent or treat malaria (such as halofantrine, quinine, or quinidine), kidney problems, liver problems.

There may also be a risk of QT prolongation which manifests as irregular heartbeat.  Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation.

Avoid activities that require alertness as this drug can make you dizzy.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women must consult their doctor first before using this medication.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially QT prolongation.

 

Interactions

Other drugs that may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), including other antimalarial drugs (such as quinine, quinidine), antiarrhythmic drugs (such as amiodarone, sotalol, procainamide, disopyramide), antipsychotics (such as pimozide, ziprasidone), macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), quinolone antibiotics (such as ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin), among others.

Medications that can affect the removal of artemether/lumefantrine from your body include some anti-seizure drugs (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin), azole antifungals (such as ketoconazole, itraconazole), mefloquine, HIV NNRTIs (such as delavirdine, efavirenz), HIV protease inhibitors (such as nelfinavir, ritonavir), rifamycins (such as rifabutin, rifampin), St. John’s wort, among others.  Also, this medication can speed up or slow down the removal of other medications such as flecainide, certain beta blockers such as metoprolol, certain tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline and imipramine), among others.

This medication may decrease the effectiveness of hormonal birth control such as pills, patch, or ring. This could cause pregnancy.

Overdose

Get emergency medical help when overdose is suspected.

Missed Dose: As soon as you remember, take a regular dose or if the time of the next does is near, wait for it before taking another dose and resume your usual schedule.  Do not increase the dose to compensate for the missed dose.

Storage: Store medication in room temperature.  Do not expose to light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from pets and children.  Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour into a drain.

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