Limited published data on the use of ephedrine sulfate are insufficient to determine a drug associated risk of major birth defects or miscarriage. However, there are clinical considerations [see Clinical Considerations]. Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with ephedrine sulfate.
In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively.
Fetal/Neonatal Adverse Reactions
Cases of potential metabolic acidosis in newborns at delivery with maternal ephedrine exposure have been reported in the literature. These reports describe umbilical artery pH of ≤7.2 at the time of delivery [see Clinical Pharmacology 12.3]. Monitoring of the newborn for signs and symptoms of metabolic acidosis may be required. Monitoring of infant’s acid-base status is warranted to ensure that an episode of acidosis is acute and reversible.
Limited published literature reports that ephedrine is present in human milk. However, no information is available on the effects of the drug on the breastfed infant or the effects of the drug on milk production. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for AKOVAZ (ephedrine sulfate injection) and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from AKOVAZ (ephedrine sulfate injection) or from the underlying maternal condition.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Clinical studies of ephedrine did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy. This drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function.
Ephedrine and its metabolite are excreted in urine. In patients with renal impairment, excretion of ephedrine is likely to be affected with a corresponding increase in elimination half-life, which will lead to slow elimination of ephedrine and consequently prolonged pharmacological effect and potentially adverse reactions. Monitor patients with renal impairment carefully after the initial bolus dose for adverse events.
Overdose of ephedrine can cause a rapid rise in blood pressure. In the case of an overdose, careful monitoring of blood pressure is recommended. If blood pressure continues to rise to an unacceptable level, parenteral antihypertensive agents can be administered at the discretion of the clinician.
Ephedrine is an alpha- and beta-adrenergic agonist and a norepinephrine-releasing agent. AKOVAZ (ephedrine sulfate injection) is a clear, colorless, sterile solution for intravenous injection. It must be diluted before intravenous administration. The chemical name of ephedrine sulfate is (1R,2S)-(-)-2-methylamine-1-phenylpropan-1-ol sulfate, and the molecular weight is 428.5 g/mol. Its structural formula is depicted below:
Ephedrine sulfate is freely soluble in water and ethanol, very slighly soluble in chloroform, and practically insoluble in ether. Each mL contains ephedrine sulfate 50 mg (equivalent to 38 mg ephedrine base) in water for injection. The pH is adjusted with sodium hydroxide and/or glacial acetic acid if necesssary. The pH range is 4.5 to 7.0.
Ephedrine sulfate is a sympathomimetic amine that directly acts as an agonist at α- and β-adrenergic receptors and indirectly causes the release of norepinephrine from sympathetic neurons. Pressor effects by direct alpha- and beta-adrenergic receptor activation are mediated by increases in arterial pressures, cardiac output, and peripheral resistance. Indirect adrenergic stimulation is caused by norepinephrine release from sympathetic nerves.
Ephedrine stimulates heart rate and cardiac output and variably increases peripheral resistance; as a result, ephedrine usually increases blood pressure. Stimulation of the α-adrenergic receptors of smooth muscle cells in the bladder base may increase the resistance to the outflow of urine. Activation of β-adrenergic receptors in the lungs promotes bronchodilation.
The overall cardiovascular effect from ephedrine is the result of a balance among α-1 adrenoceptor-mediated vasoconstriction, β-2 adrenoceptor-mediated vasoconstriction, and β-2 adrenoceptor-mediated vasodilatation. Stimulation of the β-1 adrenoceptors results in positive inotrope and chronotrope action.
Tachyphylaxis to the pressor effects of ephedrine may occur with repeated administration [see Warnings and Precautions 5.2].
Publications studying pharmacokinetics of oral administration of (-)-ephedrine support that (-)-ephedrine is metabolized into norephedrine. However, the metabolism pathway is unknown. Both the parent drug and the metabolite are excreted in urine. Limited data after IV administration of ephedrine support similar observations of urinary excretion of drug and metabolite. The plasma elimination half-life of ephedrine following oral administration was about 6 hours.
Ephedrine crosses the placental barrier [see Use in Specific Populations 8.1].
Carcinogenesis: Two-year feeding studies in rats and mice conducted under the National Toxicology Program (NTP) demonstrated no evidence of carcinogenic potential with ephedrine sulfate at doses up to 10 mg/kg/day and 27 mg/kg/day (approximately 2 times and 3 times the maximum human recommended dose on a mg/m2 basis, respectively).
Mutagenesis: Ephedrine sulfate tested negative in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay, the in vitro mouse lymphoma assay, the in vitro sister chromatid exchange, the in vitro chromosomal aberration assay, and the in vivo rat bone marrow micronucleus assay.
Impairment of Fertility: Studies to evaluate the effect of ephedrine on fertility have not been conducted.
The evidence for the efficacy of ephedrine injection is derived from the published literature. Increases in blood pressure following administration of ephedrine were observed in 14 studies, including 9 where ephedrine was used in pregnant women undergoing neuraxial anesthesia during Cesarean delivery, 1 study in non-obstetric surgery under neuraxial anesthesia, and 4 studies in patients undergoing surgery under general anesthesia. Ephedrine has been shown to raise systolic and mean blood pressure when administered as a bolus dose following the development of hypotension during anesthesia.
AKOVAZ (ephedrine sulfate injection), 50 mg/mL, is supplied as follows:
1 mL clear glass, single-dose vial; strength 50mg/ml
1 mL vials packaged in a carton of 25
Vial stoppers are not manufactured with natural rubber latex. Store AKOVAZ (ephedrine sulfate injection), 50 mg/mL, at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]. Store in carton until time of use. For single use only. Discard unused portion.
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