Deposition of aerosolized pentamidine and failure of pneumocystis prophylaxis

G. C. Smaldone, G. Dickinson, E. Marcial, E. Young, J. Seymour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if outcome of Pneumocystis carinii prophylaxis is related to total lung dose of aerosolized pentamidine. Setting: AIDS treatment centers at a VA and University Hospital. Patients: Fifty-eight HIV- infected patients receiving P carinii prophylaxis with aerosolized pentamidine using a nebulizer (CIS-US AeroTech II) were followed up over a 90-week period. Treatment consisted of 60 to 90 mg every two weeks. Measurements: In all patients, deposition of pentamidine aerosol was measured using a radioaerosol filter technique. Factors thought to be important in deposition, nebulizer output and breathing pattern were also measured. Six months later, repeated deposition studies were performed in 20 patients. Pentamidine dose to the lung was related to occurrence of P carinii pneumonia and correlated with nebulizer function and breathing parameters. Outcome was assessed in terms of pentamidine deposition and patient characteristics, including demographic, immunologic, physiologic, and medical variables. Results: Ten patients (17.2 percent) had development of P carinii pneumonia. However, pentamidine deposited in the failures (8.18±4.74 mg) was no different than deposition in protected patients (6.39±3.07 mg, p = NS). Most of the variability in deposition was accounted for by variability in nebulizer output (r = 0.919, p<0.001). Deposition did not significantly correlate with any of the measured breathing parameters. Serial deposition measurements were not significantly different by paired analysis. The incidence of P carinii pneumonia did not correlate with any measured patient characteristic. Conclusions: Failure of aerosolized pentamidine prophylaxis is not related to total lung dose of pentamidine. Other factors such as inadequate microscopic deposition between alveoli, pentamidine clearance, or drug resistance may be important. In HIV-infected patients, interpatient variability in aerosol deposition can be reduced by reducing variability in nebulizer output rather than control of breathing pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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