This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.
Brand Names: US
- This drug is not for use for any reason other than treating smallpox. In a study for another health problem, a larger number of deaths happened in people taking this drug compared to people not taking it. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
What is this drug used for?
- It is used to treat smallpox.
What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?
- If your child is allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had.
- If your child is taking any of these drugs: Cidofovir, clarithromycin, cyclosporine, erythromycin, gemfibrozil, rifampin, or drugs to treat HIV or hepatitis C.
If your child is breast-feeding a baby:
- Talk with the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby or plans to breast-feed a baby.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe to give this drug with all of your child’s other drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?
- Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- If your child has a weak immune system, talk with the doctor. This drug may not work.
- Diarrhea is common with this drug and can be severe. Call the doctor to find out what to do if your child has diarrhea or stomach cramps. Your child will need to take care not to become dehydrated. Do not try to treat diarrhea without first checking with the doctor.
- Some types of cancers have happened in animals. Do not touch broken or crushed tablets or the liquid (suspension). If anyone touches this drug, wash well with soap and water. If this drug gets in the eyes, rinse well with water.
- This drug may lower sperm counts. This may affect being able to father a child. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
- If your child is of childbearing age, a pregnancy test will need to be done before starting this drug to make sure your child is not pregnant.
If your child is or may be sexually active:
- If your child’s sex partner may get pregnant, your child must use a condom while taking this drug and for some time after the last dose. Ask the doctor how long your child must use a condom. If your child’s partner gets pregnant, call the doctor right away.
- This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if your child takes it during pregnancy.
- Have your child use birth control while taking this drug and for some time after the last dose. Ask the doctor how long your child must use birth control. If your child becomes pregnant, call the doctor right away.
What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, tiredness, decreased appetite, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:
- Diarrhea, upset stomach, or throwing up.
- Stomach pain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.
How is this drug best given?
Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Give this drug on an empty stomach or with a low-fat meal (about 400 calories and 25% fat).
- Have your child swallow whole. Do not let your child chew, break, or crush.
- Give on an empty stomach.
- Shake well before use.
- Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, ask the pharmacist for a device to measure this drug.
- After 2 doses are taken, throw away any part not used.
- Those who have feeding tubes may use this drug. Use as you have been told. Flush the feeding tube after this drug is given.
What do I do if my child misses a dose?
- Call your child’s doctor to find out what to do.
How do I store and/or throw out this drug?
- Store in the original container at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- Do not freeze.
General drug facts
- If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
- Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
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