Fosphenytoin (Page 6 of 8)

7.3 Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions

Care should be taken when using immunoanalytical methods to measure serum phenytoin concentrations following fosphenytoin sodium injection administration.


8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Exposure Registry

There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), such as fosphenytoin sodium, during pregnancy. Physicians are advised to recommend that pregnant patients taking fosphenytoin sodium injection enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry. This can be done by calling the toll free number 1-888-233-2334, and must be done by patients themselves. Information on the registry can also be found at the website

Risk Summary

In humans, prenatal exposure to phenytoin (the active metabolite of fosphenytoin sodium injection) may increase the risks for congenital malformations and other adverse developmental outcomes. Prenatal phenytoin exposure is associated with an increased incidence of major malformations, including orofacial clefts and cardiac defects. In addition, the fetal hydantoin syndrome, a pattern of abnormalities including dysmorphic skull and facial features, nail and digit hypoplasia, growth abnormalities (including microcephaly), and cognitive deficits has been reported among children born to epileptic women who took phenytoin alone or in combination with other antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy [see Data]. There have been several reported cases of malignancies, including neuroblastoma, in children whose mothers received phenytoin during pregnancy.

Administration of phenytoin to pregnant animals resulted in an increased incidence of fetal malformations and other manifestations of developmental toxicity (including embryo-fetal death, growth impairment, and behavioral abnormalities) in multiple species at clinically relevant doses [see Data].

In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and of miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively. The background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown.

Clinical Considerations

Disease-associated maternal risk

An increase in seizure frequency may occur during pregnancy because of altered phenytoin pharmacokinetics. Periodic measurement of serum phenytoin concentrations may be valuable in the management of pregnant women as a guide to appropriate adjustment of dosage [see Dosage and Administration (2.5, 2.9)]. However, postpartum restoration of the original dosage will probably be indicated.

Fetal/Neonatal adverse reactions

A potentially life-threatening bleeding disorder related to decreased levels of vitamin K-dependent clotting factors may occur in newborns exposed to phenytoin in utero. This drug-induced condition can be prevented with vitamin K administration to the mother before delivery and to the neonate after birth.


Human Data

Meta-analyses using data from published observational studies and registries have estimated an approximately 2.4-fold increased risk for any major malformation in children with prenatal phenytoin exposure compared to controls. An increased risk of heart defects, facial clefts, and digital hypoplasia has been reported. The fetal hydantoin syndrome is a pattern of congenital anomalies including craniofacial anomalies, nail and digital hypoplasia, prenatal-onset growth deficiency, and neurodevelopmental deficiencies.

Animal Data

Administration of phenytoin to pregnant rats, rabbits, and mice during organogenesis resulted in embryo-fetal death, fetal malformations, and decreased fetal growth. Malformations (including craniofacial, cardiovascular, neural, limb, and digit abnormalities) were observed in rats, rabbits, and mice at doses as low as 100, 75, and 12.5 mg/kg, respectively.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

It is not known whether fosphenytoin is secreted in human milk. Following administration of phenytoin (the active metabolite of fosphenytoin sodium injection), phenytoin is secreted in human milk. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for fosphenytoin sodium injection and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from fosphenytoin sodium or from the underlying maternal condition.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Fosphenytoin sodium injection is indicated for the treatment of generalized tonic-clonic status epilepticus and prevention and treatment of seizures occurring during neurosurgery in all pediatric age groups [see Indications and Usage (1) and Dosage and Administration (2.3, 2.4)]. Because rapid intravenous administration of fosphenytoin sodium injection increases the risk of adverse cardiovascular reactions, the rate of administration should not exceed 2 mg PE/kg/min (or 150 mg PE/min, whichever is slower) in pediatric patients [see Dosage and Administration (2.3, 2.4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

8.5 Geriatric Use

No systematic studies in geriatric patients have been conducted. Phenytoin clearance tends to decrease with increasing age [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. Lower or less frequent dosing may be required [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3) and Dosage and Administration (2.8)].

8.6 Renal and/or Hepatic Impairment, or Hypoalbuminemia

The liver is the site of biotransformation. Patients with impaired liver function, elderly patients, or those who are gravely ill may show early toxicity.

Because the fraction of unbound phenytoin (the active metabolite of fosphenytoin sodium injection) is increased in patients with renal or hepatic disease, or in those with hypoalbuminemia, the monitoring of phenytoin serum levels should be based on the unbound fraction in those patients.

After IV administration to patients with renal and/or hepatic disease, or in those with hypoalbuminemia, fosphenytoin clearance to phenytoin may be increased without a similar increase in phenytoin clearance. This has the potential to increase the frequency and severity of adverse events.

8.7 Use in Patients with Decreased CYP2C9 Function

Patients who are intermediate or poor metabolizers of CYP2C9 substrates (e.g., *1/*3, *2/*2, *3/*3) may exhibit increased phenytoin serum concentrations compared to patients who are normal metabolizers (e.g., *1/*1). Thus, patients who are known to be intermediate or poor metabolizers may ultimately require lower doses to maintain similar steady-state concentrations compared to normal metabolizers. In patients who are known to be carriers of the decreased function CYP2C9*2 or *3 alleles (intermediate and poor metabolizers), consider starting at the low end of the dosage range and monitor serum concentrations to maintain total phenytoin concentrations of 10 to 20 mcg/mL. If early signs of dose-related central nervous system (CNS) toxicity develop, serum concentrations should be checked immediately [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.5)].


Nausea, vomiting, lethargy, tachycardia, bradycardia, asystole, cardiac arrest, hypotension, syncope, hypocalcemia, metabolic acidosis, and death have been reported in cases of overdosage with fosphenytoin sodium injection.

Because fosphenytoin sodium injection is a prodrug of phenytoin, the following information about phenytoin overdosage may be helpful. Initial symptoms of acute phenytoin toxicity are nystagmus, ataxia, and dysarthria. Other signs include tremor, hyperreflexia, lethargy, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, coma, and hypotension. Death is caused by respiratory and circulatory depression. The lethal dose of phenytoin in adults is estimated to be 2 to 5 grams. The lethal dose in pediatrics is not known.

There are marked variations among individuals with respect to serum phenytoin concentrations where toxicity occurs. Lateral gaze nystagmus usually appears at 20 mcg/mL, ataxia at 30 mcg/mL, and dysarthria and lethargy appear when the serum concentration is over 40 mcg/mL. However, phenytoin concentrations as high as 50 mcg/mL have been reported without evidence of toxicity. As much as 25 times the therapeutic phenytoin dose has been taken, resulting in serum phenytoin concentrations over 100 mcg/mL, with complete recovery. Irreversible cerebellar dysfunction and atrophy have been reported after overdosage.

Formate and phosphate are metabolites of fosphenytoin sodium injection and therefore may contribute to signs of toxicity following overdosage. Signs of formate toxicity are similar to those of methanol toxicity and are associated with severe anion-gap metabolic acidosis. Large amounts of phosphate, delivered rapidly, could potentially cause hypocalcemia with paresthesia, muscle spasms, and seizures. Ionized free calcium levels can be measured and, if low, used to guide treatment.

Treatment: Treatment is nonspecific since there is no known antidote to fosphenytoin sodium injection or phenytoin overdosage.

The adequacy of the respiratory and circulatory systems should be carefully observed, and appropriate supportive measures employed. Hemodialysis can be considered since phenytoin (the active metabolite of fosphenytoin sodium injection) is not completely bound to plasma proteins. Total exchange transfusion has been used in the treatment of severe intoxication in children.

In acute overdosage the possibility of other CNS depressants, including alcohol, should be borne in mind.

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