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.
- The drugs now used to treat PCP include TMP/SMX, dapsone, pentamidine, and atovaquone.
- 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).
- Dapsone (see Fact Sheet 533) is similar to TMP/SMX. Dapsone seems to be almost as effective as TMP/SMX against PCP.
- 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.
- 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.