Antiprotozoal drugs are medicines that treat infections caused by protozoa.
Antiprotozoal drugs are used to treat a variety of diseases caused by protozoa. Protozoa are animal-like, onecelled animals, such as amoebas. Some are parasites that cause infections in the body. African sleeping sickness, giardiasis, amebiasis, Pneumocystis cariniipneumonia (PCP), and malaria are examples of diseases caused by protozoa.
The recommended dosage depends on the type of antiprotozoal drug, its strength, and the medical problem for which it is being used. Check with the physician who prescribed the drug or the pharmacist who filled the prescription for the correct dosage. Always take antiprotozoal drugs exactly as directed.
Some people feel dizzy, confused, lightheaded, or less alert when using these drugs. The drugs may also cause blurred vision and other vision problems. For these reasons, anyone who takes these drugs should not drive, use machines or do anything else that might be dangerous until they have found out how the drugs affect them.
The antiprotozoal drug furazolidone may cause very dangerous side effects when taken with certain foods or beverages. Likewise, metronidazole (Flagyl) can cause serious liver damage if taken with alcohol. Check with the physician who prescribed the drug or the pharmacist who filled the prescription for a list of products to avoid while taking these medicines.
Anyone who has ever had unusual reactions to antiprotozoal drugs or related medicines should let his or her physician know before taking the drugs again. The physician should also be told about any allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, or other substances.
Some antiprotozoal drugs may cause problems with the blood. This can increase the risk of infection or excessive bleeding. Patients taking these drugs shouldbe careful not to injure their gums when brushing or flossing their teeth or using a toothpick. They shouldcheck with the physician before having any dentalwork done. Care should also be taken to avoidcuts from razors, nail clippers, or kitchen knives, orhousehold tools. Anyone who has any of these symptoms while taking antiprotozoal drugs should call the physician immediately:
fever or chills
signs of cold or flu
signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or inflammation
numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in the hands or feet
decrease in urination
Children are especially sensitive to the effects of some antiprotozoal drugs. Never give this medicine to a child unless directed to do so by a physician, and always keep this medicine out of the reach of children. Use safety vials.
The effects of antiprotozoal drugs on pregnant women have not been studied. However, in experiments with pregnant laboratory animals, some antiprotozoal drugs cause birth defects or death of the fetus. Women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant should check with their physicians before taking antiprotozoal drugs. Mothers who are breastfeeding should also check with their physicians about the safety of taking these drugs.
Before using antiprotozoal drugs, people with any of these medical problems should make sure their physicians are aware of their conditions: