Pyrazinamide for treatment of tuberculosis

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Pyrazinamide for treatment of tuberculosis

This leaflet is about the use of pyrazinamide for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB for short). Your child will have to take up to four medicines for at least 3-6 months to cure their TB.

Information Standard logoThis leaflet has been written for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information sometimes differs from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information is usually aimed at adult patients. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

It is essential that your child takes all their medicines daily, as explained by the doctor, and continues until the doctor tells you to stop.

Name of drug

Pyrazinamide (PIR-a-ZIN-a-myde)
Brand names: Zinamide®

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

The bacteria that cause TB are hard to kill. Your child will have to take up to four medicines for at least 3-6 months. Pyrazinamide is one of these key medicines. It is given for the first 2 months of treatment.

Your child should start to feel better and may not have any symptoms of TB soon after starting treatment. However, you must continue to give the medicines until your doctor tells you to stop. If you stop too soon, or your child does not take the medicines as your doctor has told you to, the bacteria may not be killed and the TB may come back. It is also possible that the bacteria will become resistant to the first drugs, which means that the drugs will no longer work. This may mean that other stronger drugs will have to be used, or the TB may no longer be treatable.

What is pyrazinamide available as?

  • Tablets: 500 mg
  • Liquid medicine can be ordered specially from your pharmacist

When should I give pyrazinamide?

Pyrazinamide (along with other TB drugs) is usually given once each day, this is usually in the morning.

Give the medicine at about the same time each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of pyrazinamide (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give pyrazinamide?

Tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water, milk or juice. Your child should not chew the tablets.

You can crush the tablet and mix it with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, jam or mashed potato. Make sure your child swallows it all straight away, without chewing.

Liquid medicine: Measure out the right amount using a medicine spoon or oral syringe. You can get these from your pharmacist. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.

When should the medicine start working?

Your child should start to feel better and have fewer symptoms after taking the TB medicines for about 2 weeks. However, they must continue to take the medicine every day until the doctor says to stop treatment. This will be for 2 months for pyrazinamide and at least 6 months for the other medicines.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of pyrazinamide, give them the same dose again.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of pyrazinamide, you do not need to give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

If your child is sick again, seek advice from your GP, TB nurse, pharmacist or hospital. They will decide what to do based on your child’s condition and the specific medicine involved.

What if I forget to give it?

If you forget to give your child a dose, give it as soon as possible on the same day. This should be at least 12 hours before the next dose is due.

What if I give too much?

If you think you may have given your child too much pyrazinamide, contact your doctor, TB nurse or local NHS services (111 in England and Scotland; 0845 4647 in Wales).Have the medicine packet with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

Side effects you must do something about

If your child has swelling of the face, lips or tongue, difficulty breathing or gets a rash or itching or fever, take them to your doctor or hospital straight away, as they may be allergic to pyrazinamide.

If your child feels sick or is sick (vomits) for more than 24 hours, or their skin or eyes gets a yellow tinge, or their urine (wee) is dark, contact your doctor straight away, as there may be a problem with your child’s liver. Do not give any more pyrazinamide.

If your child seems tired or short of breath or they seem to bruise more easily or bleeding doesn’t stop as quickly as you would expect, contact your doctor straight away, as there may be a problem with your child’s blood.

If your child develops pain or swelling in their joints, or they have difficulty or pain during urination (doing a wee), contact your doctor straight away.

Other side-effects you need to know about
  • Your child’s skin may become more sensitive to sunlight. Keep them out of strong sun. When outdoors, they should wear clothes that cover their skin, for example, a long-sleeved top, trousers. They should also wear a hat and use a high-factor sun screen (at least SPF 30).
  • Your child may get an upset stomach or cramps when they first start taking pyrazinamide. Giving each dose with some food may help. They may also lose their appetite (feel less hungry). If this is still a problem after a week, contact your doctor.
  • Your child may get headaches, feel dizzy or agitated or have trouble sleeping. If this is a problem, contact your doctor.

There may, sometimes, be other side-effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side-effects to a UK safety scheme at http://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as pyrazinamide?

Pyrazinamide is normally given with rifampicin. The oral contraceptive pill does not work properly during treatment with rifampicin so your daughter should use other forms of contraception if she is sexually active.

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Pyrazinamide should not be taken with some medicines that you get on prescription. Tell your doctor about all medicines your child is taking before starting pyrazinamide.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about this medicine?

  • Children with porphyria should not take pyrazinamide. If your child has porphyria, or you have a family history of the condition, tell your doctor.
  • Your doctor will take blood samples before your child starts pyrazinamide and while they are taking it. This is to make sure that their liver is working properly, and that pyrazinamide has not affected it.

Keep all your clinic appointments, as your doctor or TB nurse needs to check how your child is doing.

General advice about medicines

  • Give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
  • If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact a doctor for advice.
  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicines in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your child’s doctor, pharmacist or TB nurse will be able to give you more information about pyrazinamide and other medicines used to treat TB.

You can also get useful information from: 
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