Patients should be monitored regularly for blood pressure determinations and serum electrolyte determinations (see WARNINGS).
When administered concurrently, the following drugs may interact with adrenal corticosteroids.
Amphotericin B or potassium-depleting diuretics (benzothiadiazines and related drugs, ethacrynic acid and furosemide): enhanced hypokalemia. Check serum potassium levels at frequent intervals; use potassium supplements if necessary (see WARNINGS).
Digitalis glycosides: enhanced possibility of arrhythmias or digitalis toxicity associated with hypokalemia. Monitor serum potassium levels; use potassium supplements if necessary.
Oral anticoagulants: decreased prothrombin time response. Monitor prothrombin levels and adjust anticoagulant dosage accordingly.
Antidiabetic drugs (oral agents and insulin): diminished antidiabetic effect. Monitor for symptoms of hyperglycemia; adjust dosage of antidiabetic drug upward if necessary.
Aspirin: increased ulcerogenic effect; decreased pharmacologic effect of aspirin. Rarely salicylate toxicity may occur in patients who discontinue steroids after concurrent high-dose aspirin therapy. Monitor salicylate levels or the therapeutic effect for which aspirin is given; adjust salicylate dosage accordingly if effect is altered (see PRECAUTIONS, General).
Barbiturates, phenytoin, or rifampin: increased metabolic clearance of fludrocortisone acetate because of the induction of hepatic enzymes. Observe the patient for possible diminished effect of steroid and increase the steroid dosage accordingly.
Anabolic steroids (particularly C-17 alkylated androgens such as oxymetholone, methandrostenolone, norethandrolone, and similar compounds): enhanced tendency toward edema. Use caution when giving these drugs together, especially in patients with hepatic or cardiac disease.
Vaccines: neurological complications and lack of antibody response (see WARNINGS).
Estrogen: increased levels of corticosteroid-binding globulin, thereby increasing the bound (inactive) fraction; this effect is at least balanced by decreased metabolism of corticosteroids. When estrogen therapy is initiated, a reduction in corticosteroid dosage may be required, and increased amounts may be required when estrogen is terminated.
Corticosteroids may affect the nitrobluetetrazolium test for bacterial infection and produce false-negative results.
Adequate studies have not been performed in animals to determine whether fludrocortisone acetate has carcinogenic or mutagenic activity or whether it affects fertility in males or females.
Adequate animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with fludrocortisone acetate. However, many corticosteroids have been shown to be teratogenic in laboratory animals at low doses. Teratogenicity of these agents in man has not been demonstrated. It is not known whether fludrocortisone acetate can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Fludrocortisone acetate should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
Infants born of mothers who have received substantial doses of fludrocortisone acetate during pregnancy should be carefully observed for signs of hypoadrenalism.
Maternal treatment with corticosteroids should be carefully documented in the infant’s medical records to assist in follow up.
Corticosteroids are found in the breast milk of lactating women receiving systemic therapy with these agents. Caution should be exercised when fludrocortisone acetate is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Growth and development of infants and pediatric patients on prolonged corticosteroid therapy should be carefully observed.
Most adverse reactions are caused by the drug’s mineralocorticoid activity (retention of sodium and water) and include hypertension, edema, cardiac enlargement, congestive heart failure, potassium loss, and hypokalemic alkalosis.
When fludrocortisone is used in the small dosages recommended, the glucocorticoid side effects often seen with cortisone and its derivatives are not usually a problem; however the following untoward effects should be kept in mind, particularly when fludrocortisone is used over a prolonged period of time or in conjunction with cortisone or a similar glucocorticoid.
Muscle weakness, steroid myopathy, loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, vertebral compression fractures, aseptic necrosis of femoral and humeral heads, pathologic fracture of long bones, and spontaneous fractures.
Peptic ulcer with possible perforation and hemorrhage, pancreatitis, abdominal distention, and ulcerative esophagitis.
Impaired wound healing, thin fragile skin, bruising, petechiae and ecchymoses, facial erythema, increased sweating, subcutaneous fat atrophy, purpura, striae, hyperpigmentation of the skin and nails, hirsutism, acneiform eruptions, and hives; reactions to skin tests may be suppressed.
Convulsions, increased intracranial pressure with papilledema (pseudotumor cerebri) usually after treatment, vertigo, headache, and severe mental disturbances.
Menstrual irregularities, development of the cushingoid state; suppression of growth in children; secondary adrenocortical and pituitary unresponsiveness, particularly in times of stress (e.g., trauma, surgery, or illness); decreased carbohydrate tolerance; manifestations of latent diabetes mellitus; and increased requirements for insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents in diabetics.
Posterior subcapsular cataracts, increased intraocular pressure, glaucoma, and exophthalmos.
Hyperglycemia, glycosuria, and negative nitrogen balance due to protein catabolism.
Allergic skin rash, maculopapular rash, and urticaria.
Other adverse reactions that may occur following the administration of a corticosteroid are necrotizing angiitis, thrombophlebitis, aggravation or masking of infections, insomnia, syncopal episodes, and anaphylactoid reactions.
Development of hypertension, edema, hypokalemia, excessive increase in weight, and increase in heart size are signs of overdosage of fludrocortisone acetate. When these are noted, administration of the drug should be discontinued, after which the symptoms will usually subside within several days; subsequent treatment with fludrocortisone acetate should be with a reduced dose. Muscular weakness may develop due to excessive potassium loss and can be treated by administering a potassium supplement. Regular monitoring of blood pressure and serum electrolytes can help to prevent overdosage (see WARNINGS).
Dosage depends on the severity of the disease and the response of the patient. Patients should be continually monitored for signs that indicate dosage adjustment is necessary, such as remissions or exacerbations of the disease and stress (surgery, infection, trauma) (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS, General).
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