Posaconazole treats fungal infections within your body.
If you have been supplied with tablets, you can take your doses before or after meals. If you have been supplied with liquid medicine, try to take each dose with a snack or straight after a meal.
If you start being sick or develop diarrhoea, let your doctor know.
|Type of medicine||Antifungal|
|Used for||Fungal infections in adults|
|Available as||Tablets and oral liquid medicine|
Fungal infections within the body sometimes occur. You are more at risk of developing an internal fungal infection if your immune system does not work properly. For example, if you are taking chemotherapy, or if your immune system is being suppressed following an organ or cell transplant. Internal fungal infections can be serious and, sometimes, life-threatening.
Posaconazole is used to treat (or prevent) serious fungal infections, particularly when other antifungal medicines have not been effective or are not suitable. It works by stopping the growth of the fungi causing the infection.
Before taking posaconazole
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking posaconazole it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you have any heart or heart rhythm problems.
- If you have porphyria (this is a rare inherited blood disorder).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines. This is because a number of medicines can interfere with the way posaconazole works.
How to take posaconazole
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. It will give you more information about posaconazole and will provide you with a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take posaconazole exactly as your doctor tells you to. How frequently you will need to take it will depend upon why you are taking it, but as a guide, it will range from once a day to four times daily if you are taking liquid medicine. If you are taking tablets, it is likely you will be prescribed 300 mg (three tablets) to take twice daily on the first day, and then 300 mg (three tablets) to take once a day on the following days.
- The tablets can be taken either before or after meals. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Do not crush or break the tablets - they should be swallowed whole.
- The liquid medicine should be taken during, or straight after, a meal or snack where possible, as this will help your body to absorb the medicine. If you are unable to eat much, make sure your doctor knows this, as you may be better taking smaller doses more frequently. Use the spoon included in your pack to measure out your doses. It is marked for doses of 2.5 ml and 5 ml.
- Space your doses evenly throughout the day, and keep taking this medicine until your course is finished unless you are told otherwise. This is to make sure there is no chance of further infection.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if when you remember, it is nearly time for your next dose, leave out the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Remember to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. Your doctor will want to do some blood tests during this treatment, to check that your liver is working properly.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with posaconazole. This is because several medicines interfere with it and may either decrease how well it works or increase the risk you may experience side-effects.
- You must not get pregnant while you are taking posaconazole. Make sure you have discussed with your doctor which types of contraception are suitable for you and your partner if this is relevant for you.
Can posaconazole cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with posaconazole. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common posaconazole side-effects (these affect around 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick||If this is severe, let your doctor know straightaway|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. If it continues or is severe, let your doctor know straightaway|
|Abdominal pain, indigestion, lack of appetite||Stick to simple foods - avoid spicy meals|
|Feeling sleepy or dizzy||Rest whenever you can. Do not use tools or machines, and do not drive|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Headache, itchy rash, tingling feelings, fever, infection||If any of these become troublesome, let your doctor know|
|Feeling confused or weak (due to abnormal levels of electrolytes in your blood)||Your doctor will be monitoring your blood for this|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store posaconazole
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- The liquid medicine keeps for four weeks once the bottle has been opened. Do not use it after this time.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Noxafil® 40 mg/ml oral suspension; Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated April 2014.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Noxafil® 100 mg Gastro-resistant Tablets; Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated April 2014.
- British National Formulary; 67th Edition (March 2014) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson