Why is this medication prescribed?
Amikacin (Amikin®) belongs to a class of antibiotics called aminoglycosides. In CF, amikacin is used to treat lung infections caused by specific bacteria - for example Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
How does this medication work?
Amikacin can be given by inhalation to decrease the amount of bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) in the lungs. The main goal is to improve or maintain lung function.
What is the usual dose?
The inhaled form of amikacin is available as a 500mg/2mL solution kept in a vial that can be stored at room temperature. The usual dose for adults with CF is 250-500mg twice a day via nebulizer.
How should this medication be taken?
Take your amikacin at approximately the same time everyday so that it is easier to remember. Also take the doses as close to 12 hours apart as possible.
To mix your inhaled dose of amikacin:
- Remove the lid from the vial(s).
- Using a syringe, withdraw your dose (1mL or 2mL) from the vial and add it to the nebulizer.
- Using a syringe, withdraw 0.5 - 1mL (2.5mg - 5mg) of undiluted Ventolin® and add it to the nebulizer with the amikacin.
If you are taking other inhaled medication(s), please take them in this order.
Note: you can mix your inhaled amikacin with ventolin or atrovent but do NOT mix it with other inhaled medications (e.g. Pulmozyme®).
After use, rinse your nebulizer well with warm water to prevent build up that can clog your nebulizer. For further instructions, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Equipment.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
Do not double any dose. If you forget to take a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next scheduled dose.
What should I expect from this medication?
You may or may not experience side effects. These side effects may disappear; but, let your doctor know if they are severe or if they persist for more than 2 days. These can include hoarseness, chest tightness or wheezing, but tell us if you have any other side effects as well.
Although these side effects are very rare, contact your doctor if you experience ringing of the ears or hearing loss.
Remember to tell your doctor if you have ever had a previous reaction to amikacin, any aminoglycoside antibiotic or any inhaled medication in the past.
As well, if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant discuss this with your CF doctor.