Antipneumocystic medication is used with concomitant steroids in order to avoid inflammation, which causes an exacerbation of symptoms about four days after treatment begins if steroids are not used.

  1. The drugs now used to treat PCP include TMP/SMX, dapsone, pentamidine, and atovaquone.
  2. TMP/SMX (Bactrim® or Septra®, see Fact Sheet 535) is the most effective anti-PCP drug. It's a combination of two antibiotics: trimethoprim (TMP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX).
  3. Dapsone (see Fact Sheet 533) is similar to TMP/SMX. Dapsone seems to be almost as effective as TMP/SMX against PCP.
  4. Pentamidine (NebuPent®, Pentam®, Pentacarinat®) (see Fact Sheet 537) is a drug that is inhaled in an aerosol form to prevent PCP. Pentamidine is also used intravenously (IV) to treat active PCP.
  5. Atovaquone (Mepron®) (see Fact Sheet 538) is a drug used in people with mild or moderate cases of PCP who cannot take TMP/SMX or pentamidine.