Acetaminophen has been associated with cases of acute liver failure, at times resulting in liver transplant and death. Most of the cases of liver injury are associated with the use of acetaminophen at doses that exceed 4,000 milligrams per day, and often involve more than one acetaminophen-containing product. The excessive intake of acetaminophen may be intentional to cause self-harm or unintentional as patients attempt to obtain more pain relief or unknowingly take other acetaminophen-containing products.
The risk of acute liver failure is higher in individuals with underlying liver disease and in individuals who ingest alcohol while taking acetaminophen.
Instruct patients to look for acetaminophen or APAP on package labels and not to use more than one product that contains acetaminophen. Instruct patients to seek medical attention immediately upon ingestion of more than 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day, even if they feel well.
Rarely, acetaminophen may cause serious skin reactions such as acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP), Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), which can be fatal. Patients should be informed about the signs of serious skin reactions, and use of the drug should be discontinued at the first appearance of skin rash or any other sign of hypersensitivity.
There have been post-marketing reports of hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis associated with the use of acetaminophen. Clinical signs included swelling of the face, mouth, and throat, respiratory distress, urticaria, rash, pruritus, and vomiting.
There were infrequent reports of life-threatening anaphylaxis requiring emergency medical attention. Instruct patients to discontinue Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets immediately and seek medical care if they experience these symptoms. Do not prescribe Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets for patients with acetaminophen allergy [see PRECAUTIONS; Information for Patients/Caregivers].
Risks of Use in Patients with Increased Intracranial Pressure, Brain Tumors, Head Injury, or Impaired Consciousness
In patients who may be susceptible to the intracranial effects of CO 2 retention (e.g., those with evidence of increased intracranial pressure or brain tumors), Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets may reduce respiratory drive, and the resultant CO 2 retention can further increase intracranial pressure. Follow such patients for signs of sedation and respiratory depression, particularly when initiating therapy with Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets.
Opioids may also obscure the clinical course in a patient with a head injury. Avoid the use of Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets in patients with impaired consciousness or coma.
Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets are contraindicated in patients with gastrointestinal obstruction, including paralytic ileus.
The administration of Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets or other opioids may obscure the diagnosis or clinical course in patients with acute abdominal conditions.
Hydrocodone may cause spasm of the sphincter of Oddi. Opioids may cause increases in serum amylase. Monitor patients with biliary tract disease, including acute pancreatitis, for worsening symptoms.
The hydrocodone in Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets may increase the frequency of seizures in patients with seizure disorders, and may increase the risk of seizures occurring in other clinical settings associated with seizures. Follow patients with a history of seizure disorders for worsened seizure control during Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablet therapy.
Do not abruptly discontinue Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets in a patient physically dependent on opioids. When discontinuing Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets in a physically dependent patient, gradually taper the dosage. Rapid tapering of Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets in a patient physically dependent on opioids may lead to a withdrawal syndrome and return of pain [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE ].
Additionally, avoid the use of mixed agonist/antagonist (e.g., pentazocine, nalbuphine, and butorphanol) or partial agonist (e.g., buprenorphine) analgesics in patients who are receiving a full opioid agonist analgesic, including Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets. In these patients, mixed agonist/antagonist and partial agonist analgesics may reduce the analgesic effect and/or precipitate withdrawal symptoms [see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions].
Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets may impair the mental or physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating machinery. Warn patients not to drive or operate dangerous machinery unless they are tolerant to the effects of Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets and know how they will react to the medication [see PRECAUTIONS; Information for Patients/Caregivers].
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Storage and Disposal
Because of the risks associated with accidental ingestion, misuse, and abuse, advise patients to store Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets securely, out of sight and reach of children, and in a location not accessible by others, including visitors to the home [see WARNINGS, DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE]. Inform patients that leaving Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets unsecured can pose a deadly risk to others in the home.
Advise patients and caregivers that when medicines are no longer needed, they should be disposed of promptly. Expired, unwanted, or unused Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets should be disposed of by flushing the unused medication down the toilet if a drug take-back option is not readily available. Inform patients that they can visit www.fda.gov/drugdisposal for a complete list of medicines recommended for disposal by flushing, as well as additional information on disposal of unused medicines.
Addiction, Abuse, and Misuse
Inform patients that the use of Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets, even when taken as recommended, can result in addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death [see WARNINGS]. Instruct patients not to share Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets with others and to take steps to protect Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets from theft or misuse.
Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression
Inform patients of the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression, including information that the risk is greatest when starting Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets or when the dosage is increased, and that it can occur even at recommended dosages.
Educate patients and caregivers on how to recognize respiratory depression and emphasize the importance of calling 911 or getting emergency medical help right away in the event of a known or suspected overdose [see WARNINGS, Life Threatening Respiratory Depression].
Patient Access to Naloxone for the Emergency Treatment of Opioid Overdose
Discuss with the patient and caregiver the availability of naloxone for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose, both when initiating and renewing treatment with Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets. Inform patients and caregivers about the various ways to obtain naloxone as permitted by individual state naloxone dispensing and prescribing requirements or guidelines (e.g., by prescription, directly from a pharmacist, or as part of a community-based program) [see WARNINGS, Life Threatening Respiratory Depression, DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Educate patients and caregivers on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose.
Explain to patients and caregivers that naloxone’s effects are temporary and that they must call 911 or get emergency medical help right away in all cases of known or suspected opioid overdose, even if naloxone is administered [see OVERDOSAGE].
If naloxone is prescribed, also advise patients and caregivers:
- How to treat with naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose
- To tell family and friends about their naloxone and to keep it in a place where family and friends can access it in an emergency
- To read the Patient Information (or other educational material) that will come with their naloxone. Emphasize the importance of doing this before an opioid emergency happens, so the patient and caregiver will know what to do.
Inform patients that accidental ingestion, especially by children, may result in respiratory depression or death [see WARNINGS].
Interactions with Benzodiazepines and Other CNS Depressants
Inform patients and caregivers that potentially fatal additive effects may occur if Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets are used with benzodiazepines and other CNS depressants, including alcohol, and not to use these concomitantly unless supervised by a healthcare provider [see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions].
Inform patients that Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets could cause a rare but potentially life-threatening condition resulting from concomitant administration of serotonergic drugs. Warn patients of the symptoms of serotonin syndrome and to seek medical attention right away if symptoms develop. Instruct patients to inform their healthcare providers if they are taking, or plan to take serotonergic medications [see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions].
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) Interaction
Inform patients to avoid taking Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets while using any drugs that inhibit monoamine oxidase. Patients should not start MAOIs while taking Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets [see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions].
Inform patients that Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets could cause adrenal insufficiency, a potentially life-threatening condition. Adrenal insufficiency may present with non-specific symptoms and signs such as nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and low blood pressure. Advise patients to seek medical attention if they experience a constellation of these symptoms [see WARNINGS].
Important Administration Instructions
Instruct patients how to properly take Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS].
Important Discontinuation Instructions
In order to avoid developing withdrawal symptoms, instruct patients not to discontinue Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets without first discussing a tapering plan with the prescriber [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Maximum Daily Dose of Acetaminophen
Inform patients not to take more than 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day. Advise patients to call their prescriber if they take more than the recommended dose.
Inform patients that Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets may cause orthostatic hypotension and syncope. Instruct patients how to recognize symptoms of low blood pressure and how to reduce the risk of serious consequences should hypotension occur (e.g., sit or lie down, carefully rise from a sitting or lying position) [see WARNINGS].
Inform patients that anaphylaxis has been reported with ingredients contained in Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets. Advise patients how to recognize such a reaction and when to seek medical attention [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome
Inform female patients of reproductive potential that prolonged use of Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated [see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS; Pregnancy].
Inform female patients of reproductive potential that Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets can cause fetal harm and to inform their healthcare provider of a known or suspected pregnancy [see PRECAUTIONS; Pregnancy].
Advise nursing mothers to monitor infants for increased sleepiness (more than usual), breathing difficulties, or limpness. Instruct nursing mothers to seek immediate medical care if they notice these signs [see PRECAUTIONS; Nursing Mothers].
Inform patients that chronic use of opioids may cause reduced fertility. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Driving or Operating Heavy Machinery
Inform patients that Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen Tablets may impair the ability to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating heavy machinery. Advise patients not to perform such tasks until they know how they will react to the medication [see WARNINGS].
Advise patients of the potential for severe constipation, including management instructions and when to seek medical attention [see ADVERSE REACTIONS, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
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