How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Aztreonam belongs to the class of medications called antibiotics. It is used by people with cystic fibrosis (CF) to manage chronic lung infections caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It works by killing the bacteria that cause the infection.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each dose of aztreonam for inhalation solution consists of a 2 mL vial of sterile, lyophilized powder that contains aztreonam 75 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: lysine and 0.17% sodium chloride as diluent.

How should I use this medication?

The usual dose of aztreonam for adults and children 6 years and older is 75 mg (the contents of 1 vial) taken by inhalation 3 times a day for 28 days. The dose is not based on weight or age, as very little of the medication is absorbed into the body. Doses should be taken at least 4 hours apart.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

Aztreonam for inhalation should be given using only the specific nebulizer device (Altera Nebulizer System) created for this medication. To prepare a dose, take 1 glass vial of the powdered medication and remove the rubber stopper to open it. Add the contents of 1 ampule of the diluent (1 mL) to the glass vial, replace the rubber stopper and gently swirl the vial until the medication dissolves.

The solution should be clear and have no particles. If it is cloudy, or there are particles in the liquid, discard the vial and use a new one. Use the dose immediately after reconstitution.

To take the dose, pour the reconstituted medication into the nebulizer handset and turn the unit on. Place the mouthpiece of the handset in your mouth and breathe normally, through your mouth only. It will take 2 or 3 minutes to complete the entire dose. Clean and disinfect the device as directed in the instructions for using the nebulizer.

Before using a dose of aztreonam, use your bronchodilator to let the aztreonam get as far into your lungs as possible. If you are using several medications, use them in the order of bronchodilator, mucolytic (medication to loosen the mucus in the lung), and aztreonam.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, use it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is within 4 hours of your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication and the diluent in the refrigerator and keep it out of the reach of children. If necessary, aztreonam may be stored at room temperature for up to 28 days. After 28 days, any remaining medication must be discarded. Do not return it to the refrigerator to reuse. Reconstituted medication should not be stored and should be used immediately after reconstitution.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to aztreonam or any ingredients of the medication.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people using this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • chest discomfort
  • cough with or without mucus
  • headache
  • hoarseness
  • runny nose
  • sinus congestion
  • throat irritation or pain

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • coughing up blood
  • crackling sound from the lungs
  • difficulty breathing
  • fever
  • joint pain
  • skin rash
  • wheezing

Stop using the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are using this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Allergy: Some people who are allergic to antibiotics such as penicillins, cephalosporins or carbapenems may also experience allergic reactions to aztreonam. Before you use aztreonam, inform your doctor about any previous adverse reactions you have had to medications, especially cephalosporins and penicillins.

Severe allergic reactions have been known to happen after receiving a dose of aztreonam by inhalation. Contact your doctor at once if you experience signs of an allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face and throat.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk in very small amounts when given by other methods. Less than 1% of the aztreonam for inhalation dose is absorbed into the body where it could be passed to a baby. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using aztreonam, talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 6 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between aztreonam and any of the following:

  • BCG vaccine
  • typhoid vaccine

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.