Suramin is used in the treatment of African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis) and river blindness (onchocerciasis), infections caused by parasites.
This medicine works by causing the parasites to lose energy, which causes their death. Suramin may cause serious side effects.
Before you begin treatment with this medicine, you and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of receiving it.
Suramin is administered in the hospital only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.
2 What to Know Before Using
Before using Suramin, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. This is a decision you and your doctor will make.
For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Allergies: Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Pediatric Population: Suramin can cause serious side effects in any patient. Therefore, it is especially important that you discuss with the child's doctor the good that this medicine may do as well as the risks of receiving it.
Geriatric Population: Elderly people are especially sensitive to the effects of suramin. This may increase the chance of side effects during treatment.
Breastfeeding: There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Drug Interactions: Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Other Interactions: Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems: The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine.
Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Liver disease—Patients with kidney or liver disease may have an increased chance of side effects
Proper usage of Suramin requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. To help clear up your infection completely, you must receive suramin on a regular schedule for the full time of treatment. It is also necessary for you to receive this medicine in the hospital so your doctor can check on your condition.
Dosing: The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
For injection dosage form:
For African sleeping sickness:
Adults and children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
For river blindness:
Adults—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
4 Precautions to Take
Before using Suramin, there are some precautions you must take. It is important that your doctor checks your progress at regular visits.
This is to help make sure that the infection is cleared up completely. Your doctor may also want to check for any side effects that may occur even after your treatment has ended.
5 Potential Side Effects
As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Suramin. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them.
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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