Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Mepron (atovaquone) is an antiprotozoal agent indicated for the prevention of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in patients who are intolerant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) and is indicated for the acute oral treatment of mild-to-moderate PCP in patients who are intolerant to TMP-SMX. Common side effects of Mepron include:
- stomach pain or upset,
- muscle pain,
- skin rash,
- sweating, or
- sleep problems (insomnia).
Serious side effects of Mepron include:
- easy bruising or bleeding,
- unusual weakness,
- fever, or
- flu symptoms.
Mepron (atovaquone) is supplied in strength of 750 mg atovaquone in each teaspoonful (5 mL). Dosing varies for adults and pediatric patients and is determined by the prescribing doctor. Note that failure to administer Mepron Suspension with meals may limit response to therapy. Those allergic to atovaquone should not use this medication. Mepron may interact with other medications such as rifabutin, rifampin, blood thinners, or seizure medications. There are no adequate studies on pregnant women using Mepron. Mepron should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. It is unknown if Mepron passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Our Mepron (atovaquone) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
- fever, flu symptoms;
- white patches in your mouth or throat;
- worsening cough;
- bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing);
- fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash; or
- nausea, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious side effects may include:
- mild nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or upset,
- diarrhea, constipation;
- weakness, dizziness;
- muscle pain;
- mild skin rash;
- sweating; or
- sleep problems (insomnia).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Mepron (Atovaquone)
The following adverse reactions are discussed in other sections of the labeling:
- Hepatotoxicity [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared with rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
Additionally, because many subjects who participated in clinical trials with MEPRON had complications of advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease, it was often difficult to distinguish adverse reactions caused by MEPRON from those caused by underlying medical conditions.
PCP Prevention Trials
In 2 clinical trials, MEPRON suspension was compared with dapsone or aerosolized pentamidine in HIV-1-infected adolescent (13 to 18 years) and adult subjects at risk of PCP (CD4 count <200 cells/mm³ or a prior episode of PCP) and unable to tolerate TMP-SMX.
Dapsone Comparative Trial
In the dapsone comparative trial (n = 1,057), the majority of subjects were white (64%), male (88%), and receiving prophylaxis for PCP at randomization (73%); the mean age was 38 years. Subjects received MEPRON suspension 1,500 mg once daily (n = 536) or dapsone 100 mg once daily (n = 521); median durations of exposure were 6.7 and 6.5 months, respectively. Adverse reaction data were collected only for adverse reactions requiring discontinuation of treatment, which occurred at similar frequencies in subjects treated with MEPRON suspension or dapsone (Table 1). Among subjects taking neither dapsone nor atovaquone at enrollment (n = 487), adverse reactions requiring discontinuation of treatment occurred in 43% of subjects treated with dapsone and 20% of subjects treated with MEPRON suspension. Gastrointestinal adverse reactions (nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting) were more frequently reported in subjects treated with MEPRON suspension (Table 1).
Table 1: Percentage (>2%) of Subjects with Selected
Adverse Reactions Requiring Discontinuation of Treatment in the Dapsone
Comparative PCP Prevention Trial
|Adverse Reaction||All Subjects|
|MEPRON Sus pension 1,500 mg/day
(n = 536) %
|Dapsone 100 mg/day
(n = 521) %
Aerosolized Pentamidine Comparative Trial
In the aerosolized pentamidine comparative trial (n = 549), the majority of subjects were white (79%), male (92%), and were primary prophylaxis patients at enrollment (58%); the mean age was 38 years. Subjects received MEPRON suspension once daily at a dose of 750 mg (n = 188) or 1,500 mg (n = 175) or received aerosolized pentamidine 300 mg every 4 weeks (n = 186); the median durations of exposure were 6.2, 6.0, and 7.8 months, respectively. Table 2 summarizes the clinical adverse reactions reported by ≥ 20% of the subjects receiving either the 1,500-mg dose of MEPRON suspension or aerosolized pentamidine.
Rash occurred more often in subjects treated with MEPRON suspension (46%) than in subjects treated with aerosolized pentamidine (28%). Treatment-limiting adverse reactions occurred in 25% of subjects treated with MEPRON suspension 1,500 mg once daily and in 7% of subjects treated with aerosolized pentamidine. The most frequent adverse reactions requiring discontinuation of dosing in the group receiving MEPRON suspension 1,500 mg once daily were rash (6%), diarrhea (4%), and nausea (3%). The most frequent adverse reaction requiring discontinuation of dosing in the group receiving aerosolized pentamidine was bronchospasm (2%).
Table 2: Percentage (≥ 20%) of Subjects with
Selected Adverse Reactions in the Aerosolized Pentamidine Comparative PCP
|Adverse Reaction||MEPRON Suspension 1,500 mg/day
(n = 175) %
(n = 186) %
Other reactions occurring in ≥ 10% of subjects receiving the recommended dose of MEPRON suspension (1,500 mg once daily) included vomiting, sweating, flu syndrome, sinusitis, pruritus, insomnia, depression, and myalgia.
PCP Treatment Trials
Safety information is presented from 2 clinical efficacy trials of the MEPRON tablet formulation: 1) a randomized, double-blind trial comparing MEPRON tablets with TMP-SMX in subjects with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and mild-to-moderate PCP [(A-a)DO2] ≤ 45 mm Hg and PaO2 ≥ 60 mm Hg on room air; 2) a randomized, open-label trial comparing MEPRON tablets with intravenous (IV) pentamidine isethionate in subjects with mild-to-moderate PCP who could not tolerate trimethoprim or sulfa antimicrobials.
TMP-SMX Comparative Trial
In the TMP-SMX comparative trial (n = 408), the majority of subjects were white (66%) and male (95%); the mean age was 36 years. Subjects received MEPRON 750 mg (three 250-mg tablets) 3 times daily for 21 days or TMP 320 mg plus SMX 1,600 mg 3 times daily for 21 days; median durations of exposure were 21 and 15 days, respectively.
Table 3 summarizes all clinical adverse reactions reported by ≥ 10% of the trial population regardless of attribution. Nine percent of subjects who received MEPRON and 24% of subjects who received TMP-SMX discontinued therapy due to an adverse reaction. Among the subjects who discontinued, 4% of subjects receiving MEPRON and 8% of subjects in the TMP-SMX group discontinued therapy due to rash.
The incidence of adverse reactions with MEPRON suspension at the recommended dose (750 mg twice daily) was similar to that seen with the tablet formulation.
Table 3: Percentage (≥ 10%) of Subjects with
Selected Adverse Reactions in the TMP-SMX Comparative PCP Treatment Trial
|Adverse Reaction||MEPRON Tablets
(n = 203) %
(n = 205) %
|Rash (including maculopapular)||23||34|
Two percent of subjects treated with MEPRON and 7% of subjects treated with TMP-SMX had therapy prematurely discontinued due to elevations in ALT/AST.
Pentamidine Comparative Trial
In the pentamidine comparative trial (n = 174), the majority of subjects in the primary therapy trial population (n = 145) were white (72%) and male (97%); the mean age was 37 years. Subjects received MEPRON 750 mg (three 250-mg tablets) 3 times daily for 21 days or a 3- to 4-mg/kg single pentamidine isethionate IV infusion daily for 21 days; the median durations of exposure were 21 and 14 days, respectively.
Table 4 summarizes the clinical adverse reactions reported by ≥ 10% of the primary therapy trial population regardless of attribution. Fewer subjects who received MEPRON reported adverse reactions than subjects who received pentamidine (63% vs. 72%). However, only 7% of subjects discontinued treatment with MEPRON due to adverse reactions, while 41% of subjects who received pentamidine discontinued treatment for this reason. Of the 5 subjects who discontinued therapy with MEPRON, 3 reported rash (4%). Rash was not severe in any subject. The most frequently cited reasons for discontinuation of pentamidine therapy were hypoglycemia (11%) and vomiting (9%).
Table 4: Percentage (≥ 10%) of Subjects with
Selected Adverse Reactions in the Pentamidine Comparative PCP Treatment Trial
(Primary Therapy Group)
|Adverse Reaction||MEPRON Tablets
(n = 73) %
(n = 71) %
Laboratory abnormality was reported as the reason for discontinuation of treatment in 2 of 73 subjects (3%) who received MEPRON, and in 14 of 71 subjects (20%) who received pentamidine. One subject (1%) receiving MEPRON had elevated creatinine and BUN levels and 1 subject (1%) had elevated amylase levels. In this trial, elevated levels of amylase occurred in subjects (8% versus 4%) receiving MEPRON tablets or pentamidine, respectively.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of MEPRON suspension. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders
Immune System Disorders
Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders
Renal and Urinary Disorders
Acute renal impairment.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Mepron (Atovaquone)
© Mepron Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Mepron Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.