Coartem (Generic Artemether and Lumefantrine)
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Why is this medication prescribed?
Some types of malaria infections are treated using the drug combination of artemether and lumefantrine (a serious infection that is spread by mosquitoes in certain parts of the world and can cause death). Malaria prevention does not require the use of artemether or lumefantrine. Artemether and lumefantrine are members of the antimalarial drug class. It functions by eradicating the malaria-causing germs.
How should this medicine be used?
Artemether and lumefantrine are available as a tablet that should be swallowed. Normally, it is taken twice daily for three days as prescribed by your doctor. Artemether and lumefantrine should always be taken with food. Call your doctor if you are unable to eat. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Use lumefantrine and artemether precisely as prescribed. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.
The tablets can be broken up and combined with one or two teaspoons of water in a clean container if you have problems swallowing them. Consume the concoction immediately. Drink everything from the glass while rinsing it with more water.
Soon after taking the medicine, you might vomit. After taking artemether and lumefantrine, if you vomit within 1 to 2 hours, you should take another full dose of both medications. Call your doctor if, after taking the additional dose, you vomit once more.
During the first few days of artemether and lumefantrine therapy, you should start to feel better. See your doctor if your symptoms do not disappear or worsen. As soon as your treatment is over, call your doctor if you experience a fever, chills, headache, or muscle pain. This can indicate that your malaria infection is still active.
Even if you feel better, continue taking lumefantrine and artemether until the prescription is finished. Your illness could not be entirely healed if you stop taking artemether and lumefantrine too soon or skip doses, and the bacteria might develop resistance to antimalarial medications.
For a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient, ask your pharmacist or doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking artemether and lumefantrine,
- If you have any allergies, including to any of the substances in artemether and lumefantrine tablets, tell your doctor and pharmacist right away. Get a list of the components from your pharmacist.
- Inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following medications: rifampin (Rifadin, in Rifamate, in Rifater, Rimactane); phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol); or St. John’s wort. If you are currently on one or more of these drugs, your doctor will probably advise you to avoid using lumefantrine and artemether.
- Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Incorporate any of the following: several antifungals like fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), and ketoconazole (Nizoral); antimalarials like mefloquine (Lariam) and quinine (Qualaquin); cisapride (Propulsid) (not available in the U.S.); antidepressants like amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil);Fluoroquinolone antibiotics include levofloxacin (Levaquin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin) (not available in the U.S.), moxifloxacin (Avelox), gatifloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), and nalidixic acid (NegGram), macrolide antibiotics including clarithromycin (Biaxin, in PrevPac), erythromycin (E.E.S., Ery-tab, Eryc), and telithromycin (Ketek); the fluoroquinolones norfloxacin (Noroxin), ofloxacin (Floxin), and sparfloxacin (Zagam), none of which are accessible in the United States; atazanavir (Reyataz), darunavir (Prezista), delavirdine (Rescriptor), efavirenz (Sustiva, in Atripla), and etravirine are some of the drugs used to treat HIV infection and AIDS (Intelence), rilpivirine (Edurant, in Complera), indinavir (Crixivan), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), lopinavir (in Kaletra), nelfinavir (Viracept), nevirapine (Viramune), ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra), saquinavir (Invirase), and tipranavir (Aptivus); medications for mental illness, such as pimozide (Orap), and ziprasidone; medications for irregular heartbeat, such as amiodarone (Cordarone), disopyramide (Norpace), flecainide (Tambocor), procainamide (Procanbid), quinidine, and sotalol (Betapace, Betapace AF, Sorine); and medications for irregular heartbeat (Geodon). Additionally let your doctor or pharmacist know if you’ve recently quit taking halofantrine (Halfan), which isn’t sold in the United States. Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects. Artemether and lumefantrine may also interact with a variety of other drugs, so be sure to let your doctor know about every drug you’re taking even those that aren’t on this list.
- Inform your doctor if you or anyone in your family has ever experienced a prolonged QT interval, a rare heart condition that can result in an irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death. Also mention any slow, fast, or irregular heartbeats you currently experience or have ever experienced, recent heart attacks, low blood levels of magnesium or potassium, or kidney, heart, or liver disease.
- Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking lumefantrine and artemether.
- You should be aware that hormonal contraceptive effectiveness may be lowered by artemether and lumefantrine (birth control pills, patches, rings, implants, and injections). Discuss birth control options with your doctor to ensure that they will be effective for you while you are on lumefantrine and artemether.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
If you are on this medicine, avoid drinking grapefruit juice.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you miss a dosage, take it as soon as you recall. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Lumefantrine with atemether may have negative effects. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:
- Joint or muscle ache
- Having trouble falling or staying asleep
- Reduced appetite
Some adverse effects may be severe. Call your doctor right away or seek emergency medical attention if you have any of these symptoms:
- Rapid or abnormal heartbeat
- Breathing or swallowing challenges
- Lips, tongue, face, or throat swelling
- Speaking is challenging
Lumefantrine and atemether may also have other adverse effects. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.
You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Keep it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).
Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medications website at http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p for additional information.
Although many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Moreover, information can be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.
What other information should I know?
Keep all of your doctor’s appointments.
No one else should take your medication. It’s likely that your prescription cannot be renewed. Call your doctor if you continue to experience infection symptoms after taking the last of the lumefantrine and artemether.
You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.