Amphotericin B Liposome (Intravenous)

As both an antifungal and antiprotozoal medication, Amphotericin B liposomal complex is used for treating a variety of serious fungal and protozoan infections.

Overview

Amphotericin B liposomal complex, or simply, Amphotericin B liposome, works by inhibiting the growth of fungi that cause infections. It is usually given to patients who cannot tolerate, or do not respond well to, the conventional amphotericin treatment (Amphotericin B injection).

Amphotericin B liposome is only used for treating severe, life-threatening fungal infections such as visceral leishmaniasis and a certain type of meningitis in patients infected with the HIV virus. This medication is not used to treat minor fungal infections, such as a yeast infection of the esophagus, mouth, or vagina.

Conditions treated

  • Fungal infections
  • Protozoan infections

Type of medicine

  • Antifungal

Side Effects

Along with the desired effects, amphotericin B liposome may be responsible for certain side effects. Stop taking the medication and get medical attention immediately if you experience any of these side effects:

Common:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain/cramps
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness

Less common:

Rare:

  • Itching (especially hands or feet)
  • Hives
  • Swollen eyes or face
  • Swelling inside of nose
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Reddening of skin
  • Sudden and severe unusual weakness or tiredness

Some of the side effects of aminocaproic acid may not require medical attention. These side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the drug. Your doctor may offer some advice on the steps you can take to minimize the chances of experiencing these side effects.

Common:

Less common:

A very strong allergic reaction to this medication is rare. However, seek emergency medical attention if any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction occur: rash, swelling and itching of the face, throat and tongue, trouble breathing, extreme dizziness.

It is also possible to experience other side effects that have not been listed here. Be sure to check with your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any other side effects.

Dosage

Amphotericin B liposome comes in the form of a suspension (liquid) and is to be administered intravenously (injected into a vein). The intravenous infusion is usually done once daily as per the doctor's instructions. It is normally injected slowly over a period of 2 hours. If the patient tolerates the initial doses well, the medication may be administered over a period of 1 hour. The dosages and length of treatment depend on how well your body tolerates the medication, the type of infection being treated, and your general health.

While receiving a dose of amphotericin B liposomal injection, you may experience a reaction. Such reactions typically happen 1- 3 hours after the infusion starts, and are more severe during the initial doses. Your doctor may prescribe other medications to alleviate these side effects.

Amphotericin B liposomal injection may be done in a hospital or at home. Your healthcare professional will show you how to infuse the medicine if you will be using amphotericin B liposome at home. Make sure you understand the instructions given and ask any questions you may have. Additionally, before using the medication, check the product visually for discoloration or particles. Do not use the liquid if either is found.

To treat certain infections, it may be necessary to use this medication for several weeks or months. Stopping the therapy too early may result in re-infection. Let your doctor know if your symptoms fail to improve or get worse while using amphotericin B liposome.

While receiving amphotericin B liposome, your blood pressure, breathing and other vital signs will be monitored closely. You may need to take frequent blood tests. Kidney and liver function may also need to be tested. It is therefore important that you keep your appointments with your healthcare professionals.

Missed dose:

If you happen to miss a dose, take it as soon you remember. You should, however, go back to the regular schedule if it's almost time for the next scheduled dose. Do not attempt to make up for the missed dose by double dosing.

Overdose:

Seek emergency medical attention as soon as an overdose is suspected. If you are a US resident, you can reach the Poison Helpline at 1-800-222-1222.

Major Drug Interactions

Some medications should not be used together, but there may be instances where they are prescribed together even if an interaction may occur. In such cases, the doctor may alter the dosage, or advise certain precautions. Some of the drugs that may interact with Amphotericin B Liposome include:

  • Anti-cancer medications e.g., nitrogen mustard, mechlorethamine
  • Drugs that affect the kidneys e.g., aminoglycosides, pentamidine, tacrolimus
  • Azole antifungals e.g., cidofovir, digoxin, ketoconazole flucytosine, itraconazole, gentamicin
  • Muscle relaxants, e.g. zidovudine and tubocurarine

When taking Amphotericin B liposome, it's very important that you inform your doctor if you are also using any of the drugs mentioned above.

It is also worth noting that taking this medication could interfere with some laboratory tests, including those on phosphate levels, and possibly cause inaccurate/false test results. Be sure to let your healthcare professional and lab personnel and all know you are using this drug.

Other interactions:

Around the time of taking certain medications, it may be necessary to avoid consumption of certain beverages or foods because interactions may occur. Alcohol and tobacco, in particular, are likely cause interactions. Have a discussion with your doctor about the use of tobacco, alcohol and food with your medicine.

Suffering from other medical problems may affect usage of this medicine. Be sure to inform your healthcare professional if you suffer from any other medical conditions, particularly:

  • Kidney disease¬†- Amphotericin B liposome may aggravate your kidney problems
  • Blood transfusion¬†- Amphotericin B liposome may cause side effects that affect the lungs

Warnings

Before taking Amphotericin B liposome, inform your healthcare provider if you are allergic to Amphotericin B liposome or any other medications. This medication may contain ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction or other problems. Consult your pharmacist for more details.

Tell your pharmacist or doctor what other prescription and non-prescription drugs you are taking or plan to use. Don't forget to also mention the herbal products and nutritional supplements you are taking or are planning to take. Your doctor may have to change the dosages of your medications or carefully monitor you for side effects.

Additionally, you should tell your pharmacist or doctor of your medical history, particularly when it comes to Leukocyte (white blood cell) transfusions, kidney disease heart disease (such as congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat,), and liver disease.

For pregnant or breastfeeding mothers:

There are no adequate studies showing that Amphotericin B liposome could harm the unborn baby. You must, however, let your doctor know if you are pregnant (or are planning to get pregnant soon). The doctor will then consider the risks versus the benefits of using the medicine while pregnant and advise you accordingly.

It is not yet known if this medication is passed through breast milk. As a nursing mother, you will need to weigh the potential benefits against the risks before taking Amphotericin B liposome.

Do not share this medicine with anyone. This is because it has been specifically prescribed for you and your current condition. Unless directed by the doctor, do not use the medication later to treat another infection. It is your doctor's responsibility to determine and prescribe the right medication in every case.

Storage

Store this medication as instructed by your pharmacist or doctor. Do not keep the medicine package in the bathroom, but rather a dry place that is safe out of the reach of children and pets. Be sure to consult your pharmacist on how to dispose of unused drugs once your doctor determines that use of the medication is no longer necessary.

Summary

Amphotericin B liposomal injection is an antifungal medication, used for treating serious, life-threatening infections such as visceral leishmaniasis and cryptococcal meningitis. It is not to be used for milder fungal infections, such as mouth, esophagus or vaginal yeast infection. Administered intravenously, Amphotericin B liposome is usually prescribed to patients who do not respond well to, or cannot tolerate, the conventional Amphotericin B treatment, which is given by injection.

While receiving Amphotericin B liposomal injection, your doctor may need to monitor your vital signs. Fever, chills, and an irregular heartbeat are some of the initial reactions you may experience while taking this medicine, especially in the initial stages of use. Your doctor may prescribe other medications to help you cope with the side effects.

Before using Amphotericin B liposome, it is important to inform your doctor about other prescription and non-prescription medications, supplements and herbal treatments you may be using at the time. This is so the doctor can determine the safety of taking this medication. You should also talk to their doctor about other medical problems you have now or have had before, especially blood transfusions and kidney disease.

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Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 26, 2018
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