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Brand names:


Often used for:

Fungal infections

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What is atovaquone?

Atovaquone is a medication used to prevent or treat Pneumocystis pneumonia (also known as PCP or PJP pneumonia). PCP/PJP pneumonia is a lung infection caused by the fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii. Patients with weak immune systems are at highest risk. Atovaquone is usually given to patients who cannot take Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (SMX/TMP, Bactrim®, Septra®).

Patients receiving atovaquone may have regular blood draws to check blood counts and electrolyte levels and monitor liver and kidney function.

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Given as a liquid by mouth

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Possible Side Effects

  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Rhinitis (postnasal drip, runny nose, sneezing, stuffy nose)
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Sinusitis (facial pain or pressure, "stuffed-up" nose, runny nose, loss of smell, cough, or congestion)
  • Itching
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Muscle pain

Not all patients who take atovaquone will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Take all doses as prescribed.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Atovaquone at home:

  • Take medicine at the same time each day.
  • Take with food, preferably a high-fat meal.
  • Bottled medicine: Shake well, and use the measuring device that comes with the medicine.
  • Single-dose packet: Pour in spoon or cup, or drink directly from packet.
  • Store at room temperature.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.