Bupivacaine Hydrochloride (Page 3 of 6)

5.9 Risk of Systemic Toxicities with Unintended Intravascular or Intrathecal Injection

Unintended intravascular or intrathecal injection of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection may be associated with systemic toxicities, including CNS or cardiorespiratory depression and coma, progressing ultimately to respiratory arrest. Unintentional intrathecal injection during the intended performance of caudal or lumbar epidural block or nerve blocks near the vertebral column has resulted in underventilation or apnea (“Total or High Spinal”). A high spinal has been characterized by paralysis of the legs, loss of consciousness, respiratory paralysis, and bradycardia [see Adverse Reactions (6)].

Aspirate for blood or cerebrospinal fluid (where applicable) before injecting Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection, both the initial dose and all subsequent doses, to avoid intravascular or intrathecal injection. However, a negative aspiration for blood or cerebrospinal fluid does not ensure against an intravascular or intrathecal injection.

5.10 Risk of Toxicity in Patients with Hepatic Impairment

Because amide local anesthetics such as bupivacaine are metabolized by the liver, consider reduced dosing and increased monitoring for bupivacaine systemic toxicity in patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment who are treated with Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection, especially with repeat doses [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].

5.11 Risk of Use in Patients with Impaired Cardiovascular Function

Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection should be given in reduced doses in patients with impaired cardiovascular function (e.g., hypotension, heartblock) because they may be less able to compensate for functional changes associated with the prolongation of AV conduction produced by Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection. Monitor patients closely for blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG changes.

5.14 Risk of Adverse Reactions with Use in Head and Neck Area

Small doses of local anesthetics (e.g., Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection) injected into the head and neck area, including retrobulbar, dental, and stellate ganglion blocks, may produce adverse reactions similar to systemic toxicity seen with unintentional intravascular injections of larger doses. The injection procedures require the utmost care.

Confusion, convulsions, respiratory depression, and/or respiratory arrest, and cardiovascular stimulation or depression have been reported. These reactions may be due to intra-arterial injection of the local anesthetic with retrograde flow to the cerebral circulation. They may also be due to puncture of the dural sheath of the optic nerve during retrobulbar block with diffusion of any local anesthetic along the subdural space to the midbrain. Monitor circulation and respiration and constantly observe patients receiving Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection blocks. Resuscitative equipment and drugs, and personnel for treating adverse reactions should be immediately available. Dosage recommendations should not be exceeded [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].

5.15 Risk of Respiratory Arrest with Use in Ophthalmic Surgery

Clinicians who perform retrobulbar blocks should be aware that there have been reports of respiratory arrest following local anesthetic injection. Prior to retrobulbar block (e.g., with Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection), as with all other regional procedures, resuscitative equipment and drugs, and personnel to manage respiratory arrest or depression, convulsions, and cardiac stimulation or depression should be immediately available [see Warnings and Precautions (5.14)]. As with other anesthetic procedures, patients should be constantly monitored following ophthalmic blocks for signs of these adverse reactions, which may occur following relatively low total doses.

A concentration of 0.75% bupivacaine is indicated for retrobulbar block; however, this concentration is not indicated for any other peripheral nerve block, including the facial nerve, and not indicated for local infiltration, including the conjunctiva [see Indications and Usage (1)].

5.16 Risk of Inadvertent Trauma to Tongue, Lips, and Buccal Mucosa in Dental Applications

Because of the long duration of anesthesia, when Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection with epinephrine [0.5% (5 mg/mL) of bupivacaine] is used for dental injections, warn patients about the possibility of inadvertent trauma to tongue, lips, and buccal mucosa and advise them not to chew solid foods until sensation returns [see Patient Counseling Information (17)].


The following clinically significant adverse reactions have been reported and described in the Warnings and Precautions section of the labeling:

The following adverse reactions from voluntary reports or clinical studies have been reported with bupivacaine or bupivacaine and epinephrine. Because many of these reactions were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Adverse reactions to Bupivacaine Hydrochloride injection are characteristic of those associated with other amide-type local anesthetics. A major cause of adverse reactions to this group of drugs is excessive plasma levels, which may be due to overdosage, unintentional intravascular injection, or slow metabolic degradation.

The most commonly encountered acute adverse reactions that demand immediate counter-measures were related to the CNS and the cardiovascular system. These adverse reactions were generally dose-related and due to high plasma levels which may have resulted from overdosage, rapid absorption from the injection site, diminished tolerance, or from unintentional intravascular injection of the local anesthetic solution. In addition to systemic dose-related toxicity, unintentional intrathecal injection of drug during the intended performance of caudal or lumbar epidural block or nerve blocks near the vertebral column (especially in the head and neck region) has resulted in underventilation or apnea (“Total or High Spinal”). Also, hypotension due to loss of sympathetic tone and respiratory paralysis or underventilation due to cephalad extension of the motor level of anesthesia have occurred. This has led to secondary cardiac arrest when untreated.

Nervous System Disorders: Adverse reactions were characterized by excitation and/or depression of the central nervous system and included restlessness, anxiety, dizziness, tinnitus, blurred vision, tremors, convulsions, drowsiness, unconsciousness, respiratory arrest, nausea, vomiting, chills, pupillary constriction.

In the practice of caudal or lumbar epidural block, unintentional penetration of the subarachnoid space by the catheter or needle has occurred. Subsequent adverse effects may have depended partially on the amount of drug administered intrathecally and the physiological and physical effects of a dural puncture. A high spinal has been characterized by paralysis of the legs, loss of consciousness, respiratory paralysis, and bradycardia.

Neurologic effects following epidural or caudal anesthesia have included spinal block of varying magnitude (including high or total spinal block); hypotension secondary to spinal block; urinary retention; fecal and urinary incontinence; loss of perineal sensation and sexual function; persistent anesthesia, paresthesia, weakness, paralysis of the lower extremities and loss of sphincter control, all of which had slow, incomplete, or no recovery; headache; backache; septic meningitis; meningismus; slowing of labor; increased incidence of forceps delivery; and cranial nerve palsies due to traction on nerves from loss of cerebrospinal fluid.

Neurologic effects following other procedures or routes of administration have included persistent anesthesia, paresthesia, weakness, paralysis, all with slow, incomplete, or no recovery.

Convulsions: Incidence varied with the procedure used and the total dose administered. In a survey of studies of epidural anesthesia, overt toxicity progressing to convulsions occurred in approximately 0.1% of local anesthetic administrations. The incidences of adverse neurologic reactions associated with the use of local anesthetics may be related to the total dose of local anesthetic administered and are also dependent upon the particular drug used, the route of administration, and the physical status of the patient.

Cardiac Disorders: High doses or unintentional intravascular injection have led to high plasma levels and related depression of the myocardium, decreased cardiac output, heartblock, hypotension, bradycardia, ventricular arrhythmias, including ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, and cardiac arrest [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9)].

Immune System Disorders: Allergic-type reactions have occurred as a result of sensitivity to bupivacaine or to other formulation ingredients, such as the antimicrobial preservative methylparaben contained in multiple-dose vials or sulfites in epinephrine-containing solutions. These reactions were characterized by signs such as urticaria, pruritus, erythema, angioneurotic edema (including laryngeal edema), tachycardia, sneezing, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, syncope, excessive sweating, elevated temperature, and severe hypotension. Cross sensitivity among members of the amide-type local anesthetic group has been reported.

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