Amphotericin B Liposomal Injection : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?

Amphotericin B liposomal injection is used to treat fungal infections such as cryptococcal meningitis (a fungal infection of the lining of the spinal cord and brain) and visceral leishmaniasis (a parasitic disease that usually affects the spleen, liver, and bone marrow ) in certain people. It is also used to treat certain fungal infections in people who cannot receive conventional amphotericin B therapy. Amphotericin B liposomal injection is in a class of medications called antifungals. It works by slowing the growth of fungi that cause infections.

How should this medicine be used?

Amphotericin B liposomal injection comes as a suspension (liquid) to be injected intravenously (into a vein). It is usually infused intravenously once a day, or for the treatment of leishmaniasis on specific days, over a period of 2 hours. If older doses are tolerated, this drug can be given over a period of 1 hour. The length of your treatment depends on your general health, how you tolerate the medicine, and the type of infection you have.

You may experience a reaction while receiving an injection dose of amphotericin B liposomal complex. These reactions usually occur 1 to 3 hours after starting the infusion and are more severe with the first few doses. Your healthcare provider may prescribe other medications to lessen these side effects. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms while receiving amphotericin B liposomal complex injection: fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, redness, back pain with or without chest tightness, chest pain, lack of breath, breathing problems, or a fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat.

You can receive a liposomal injection of amphotericin B in a hospital or you can use the medicine at home. If you are using a liposomal amphotericin B injection at home, your healthcare provider will show you how to infuse the medication. Make sure you understand these instructions and consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions. Ask your healthcare provider what to do if you have a problem infusing amphotericin B liposomal injection.

If your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse while receiving amphotericin B liposomal injection, tell your doctor. If you still have symptoms of infection after you finish your amphotericin B liposomal injection, tell your doctor.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving amphotericin B liposomal injection,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amphotericin B, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in amphotericin B liposomal injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: aminoglycoside antibiotics such as amikacin, gentamicin, or tobramycin (Bethkis, Kitabis Pak, Tobi); antifungals such as clotrimazole, fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox), ketoconazole (Extina, Nizoral, Xolegel) and miconazole (Oravig, Monistat); drugs for the treatment of cancer; corticotropin (H.P. Acthar Gel); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); digoxin (Lanoxin); flucytosine (Ancobon); and oral steroids such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Rayos). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you are receiving leukocyte (white blood cell) transfusions.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while receiving amphotericin B liposomal injection, call your doctor. Do not breastfeed while receiving the amphotericin B liposomal injection.
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are receiving a liposomal injection of amphotericin B.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Amphotericin B liposomal injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • stomach pain
  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • loss of appetite
  • redness or swelling at the injection site
  • pale skin
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • coldness in the hands and feet

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • rash
  • hives
  • difficulty breathing
  • itching
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • chest pain or tightness
  • black and tarry stools
  • decreased urination
  • blood in the urine

Liposomal amphotericin B injection can cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medicine.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain laboratory tests during your treatment to check your body’s response to the liposomal injection of amphotericin B.

Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are receiving a liposomal injection of amphotericin B.

Don’t let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • AmBisome®

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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