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Atovaquone (Oral Route)


Description and Brand Names of Atovaquone (Oral Route)

US Brand Name

  1. Mepron


Atovaquone is used to treat and to prevent Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), a very serious kind of pneumonia. This particular kind of pneumonia occurs commonly in patients whose immune systems are not working normally, such as cancer patients, transplant patients, and patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

This medicine is available only with your doctor’s prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet
  • Suspension

Before Using Atovaquone (Oral Route)

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of atovaquone in children 1 month to 13 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established .


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatrics-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of atovaquone in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems which may require an adjustment of dosage in patients receiving atovaquone .



There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Rifampin

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Indinavir
  • Rifabutin
  • Tetracycline
  • Warfarin

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Liver disease, severe or
  • Stomach or intestinal disorders – Atovaquone may not work properly in patients with these conditions .

Proper Use of Atovaquone (Oral Route)

Make certain your doctor knows if you are on any special diet. This medicine must be taken with balanced meals so that it can work properly.

It is important that you take atovaquone with a balanced meal. This is to make sure the medicine is fully absorbed into the body and will work properly.

Atovaquone tablets may be crushed if necessary to make it easier to swallow.

Because atovaquone tablets and oral suspension do not produce the same amount of medicine in the blood, the tablets and the suspension cannot be switched and used in place of each other.

For patients taking the oral liquid form of this medicine:

  • Shake the bottle gently before using atovaquone.
  • This medicine is to be taken by mouth. Use a specially marked measuring spoon or other device to measure each dose accurately. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.
  • Do not use after the expiration date on the label since the medicine may not work properly after that date. Check with your pharmacist if you have any questions about this .

To help clear up your infection completely, keep taking your medicine for the full time of treatment, even if you begin to feel better after a few days. If you stop taking this medicine too soon, your symptoms may return.

Atovaquone works best when there is a constant amount in the blood. To help keep the amount constant, do not miss any doses.


The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For prevention of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP):

    • For oral dosage form (suspension):

      • Adults and teenagers – 1,500 milligrams (mg) or 10 milliliters (mL) once a day with a meal.
      • Children – Use and dose must be determined by your doctor .
  • For treatment of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP):

    • For oral dosage form (suspension):

      • Adults and teenagers – 750 milligrams (mg) or 5 milliliters (mL) taken with a meal two times a day for 21 days.
      • Children – Use and dose must be determined by your doctor .
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):

      • Adults and teenagers – 750 milligrams (mg) taken with a meal three times a day for 21 days.
      • Children – Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.


Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.


It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects .

If your symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Side Effects of Atovaquone (Oral Route)

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  1. Cough or hoarseness
  2. difficult or labored breathing
  3. fever or chills
  4. lower back or side pain
  5. painful or difficult urination
  6. shortness of breath
  7. tightness in chest
  8. wheezing

Incidence not known

  1. Black, tarry stools
  2. bleeding gums
  3. bloating
  4. blood in urine or stools
  5. bluish-colored lips, fingernails, or palms
  6. constipation
  7. dark urine
  8. dizziness or lightheadedness
  9. fast heartbeat
  10. headache
  11. indigestion
  12. large, hive-like swelling on face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  13. light-colored stools
  14. loss of appetite
  15. nausea
  16. noisy breathing
  17. pains in stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  18. pale skin
  19. pinpoint red spots on skin
  20. rapid heart rate
  21. sore throat
  22. unusual bleeding or bruising
  23. unusual tiredness or weakness
  24. vomiting
  25. yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  1. Abdominal or stomach pain
  2. diarrhea
  3. lack or loss of strength
  4. runny nose
  5. skin rash
  6. sleeplessness
  7. sneezing
  8. sore mouth or tongue
  9. stuffy nose
  10. sweating
  11. trouble in sleeping
  12. unable to sleep
  13. white patches in mouth, tongue, or throat

Incidence not known

  1. Blistering, peeling, or loosening of skin
  2. eye irritation or redness
  3. itching
  4. joint or muscle pain
  5. red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  6. skin rash

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.