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Wellvone (Atovaquone)

What Wellvone is and what it is used for

Wellvone is used to treat a lung infection called Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in people who cannot take the medicine co-trimoxazole. This disease is caused by an organism called Pneumocystis jiroveci (which used to be called Pneumocystis carinii). The active ingredient in Wellvone is atovaquone. Wellvone belongs to a group of antiparasitic medicines known as antiprotozoals.

Before you take Wellvone

Don’t take Wellvone

If you’re allergic (hypersensitive) to atovaquone or any of the other ingredients of Wellvone.

Tell your doctor before taking Wellvone if you think this applies to you.

Take special care with Wellvone

Your doctor needs to know before you take Wellvone:

  • if you have kidney or liver disease.
  • if you have diarrhoea, particularly when you start your treatment. Diarrhoea reduces the amount of Wellvone your body absorbs, so the treatment may not be effective.
  • if you are over 65 years of age.

Tell your doctor if any of these applies to you. Your doctor may decide that Wellvone isn’t suitable for you, or that you need extra check-ups while you’re taking it.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

If you are pregnant, do not take Wellvone unless your doctor recommends it. If you become pregnant while you are taking Wellvone, ask your doctor for advice about whether you should continue the treatment. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any medicine while pregnant.

Do not breast-feed while taking Wellvone. It is not known whether Wellvone passes into breast milk; if it does it may harm your baby.

Other medicines and Wellvone

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking, or have recently taken, any other medicines, including any herbal medicines or other medicines you’ve bought without a prescription. Some medicines can reduce the effectiveness of Wellvone, or Wellvone itself can change the effect of other medicines taken at the same time. These include:

  • the antibiotics rifampicin and rifabutin
  • the antibiotic tetracycline
  • metoclopramide used to treat nausea and vomiting
  • indinavir, zidovudine or didanosine, used to treat HIV.

Tell your doctdr if you are taking any of these. Your doctor may decide that Wellvone isn’t suitable for you, or that you need extra check-ups while you’re taking it.

Remember to tell your doctor if you start taking ahy other medicine while you’re taking Wellvone.

Food and drink with Wellvone

Always take Wellvone with food

  • preferably foods, that are high in fat. This will increase the amount of Wellvone that your body can absorb, and make your treatment more effective.

Ask your doctor for advice about which foods are suitable.

If you have difficulty in taking Wellvone with food, talk to your doctor about alternative treatments.

Driving and using machines

Your ability to drive or use machinery is not dxpected to be affected while’you’re taking Wellvone.

How to take Wellvone

Always take Wellvone exactly as your doctor has told you to. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure.

Shake the bottle well before use. Do not dilute Wellvone. Always take Wellvone with food – preferably foods which are high in fat. This will greatly increase the amount of Wellvone absorbed, and will make your treatment more effective.

How much to take

The usual adult dose of Wellvone is one 5 ml spoonful (containing 750 mg atovaquone), twice a day for 21 days.

Take one dose in the morning and one in the evening.

If you take too much Wellvone

Contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice. If possible, show them the Wellvone pack.

If you forget to take Wellvone

If you forget to take a dose of Wellvone, take the next dose as soon as you remember (again with food), and then continue the treatment as before. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.

Don’t stop Wellvone without advice

Take Wellvone for as long as your doctor recommends. Don’t stop unless your doctor advises you to – even if you are feeling better. If you do not complete the full course of treatment, the infection may come back.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, Wellvone can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Very common side effects

These may affect more than 1 in 10 people:

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • rash
  • itching skin

Common side effects

These may affect up to 1 in 10 people:

  • diarrhoea
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • headache
  • sleeping problems (insomnia)
  • high temperature (fever)
  • allergic reactions, occasionally severe. Signs of allergic reactions include:
  • sudden wheezing, tightness of the chest or throat, or difficulty breathing
  • swollen eyelids, face, lips, tongue or other part of the body.
  • hives (urticaria)

Other common side effects, which may show up in blood tests, are:

  • low levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatraemia)
  • increases in liver enzymes
  • reduced number of red blood cells (anaemia), which can cause tiredness, headaches and shortness of breath
  • reduced number of some types of white blood cells (neutropenia).

Uncommon side effects

These may affect up to 1 in 100 people:

  • an increase in amylase, which may show up in a blood
  • test (amylase is an enzyme produced in the pancreas).

Other side effects

Other side effects have occurred in a very small number of people but their exact frequency is unknown:

  • skin rash, which may blister, and looks like small targets (central dark spot surrounded by paler area and dark ring around the edge), (erythema multiforme)
  • widespread rash with blisters and peeling skin, particularly occuring around the mouth, nose, eyes and genitals (Stevens-Johnson syndrome) if you notice any of these symptoms contact a doctor urgently. If any of the side effects gets serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet please tell your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store Wellvone

Keep Wellvone out of the reach and sight of children. Don’t use Wellvone after the expiry date shown on the label of the bottle. Once opened use within 21 days. Don’t store above 25°C and don’t freeze. Medicines should not be disposed of via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medicines no longer required. These measures will help to protect the environment.

Further information

What Wellvone contains

Each 5 ml spoonful of Wellvone suspension contains 750 mg of the active ingredient atovaquone (1 ml of Wellvone contains 150 mg atovaquone). The other ingredients are benzyl alcohol, xanthan gum, poloxamer 188, saccharin sodium, purified water, tutti frutti flavouring (sweet orange oil, concentrated orange oil, propylene glycol, benzyl alcohol, vanillin, acetic aldehyde, amyl acetate and ethyl butyrate). If you think you might be allergic to any of these ingredients: Tell your doctor and don’t take Wellvone.

What Wellvone looks like and contents of the pack

Wellvone oral suspension is a yellow liquid. The medicine is contained in a 240 ml plastic bottle with child-resistant cap. A 5 ml measuring spoon is included in each pack.

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