Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression in Patients with Chronic Pulmonary Disease or in Elderly, Cachectic, or Debilitated Patients
The use of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets in patients with acute or severe bronchial asthma in an unmonitored setting or in the absence of resuscitative equipment is contraindicated.
Hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablet-treated patients with significant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cor pulmonale, and those with a substantially decreased respiratory reserve, hypoxia, hypercapnia, or pre-existing respiratory depression are at increased risk of decreased respiratory drive including apnea, even at recommended dosages of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets [see WARNINGS; Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression].
Life-threatening respiratory depression is more likely to occur in elderly, cachectic, or debilitated patients because they may have altered pharmacokinetics or altered clearance compared to younger, healthier patients [see WARNINGS; Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression].
Follow such patients closely, particularly when initiating and titrating hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets and when hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets is given concomitantly with other drugs that depress respiration [see WARNINGS; Life-Threatening Respiratory Depression]. Alternatively, consider the use of non-opioid analgesics in these patients.
Cases of adrenal insufficiency have been reported with opioid use, more often following greater than one month of use. Presentation of adrenal insufficiency may include non-specific symptoms and signs including nausea, vomiting, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and low blood pressure. If adrenal insufficiency is suspected, confirm the diagnosis with diagnostic testing as soon as possible. If adrenal insufficiency is diagnosed, treat with physiologic replacement doses of corticosteroids. Wean the patient off the opioid to allow adrenal function to recover and continue corticosteroid treatment until adrenal function recovers. Other opioids may be tried as some cases reported use of a different opioid without recurrence of adrenal insufficiency. The information available does not identify any particular opioids as being more likely to be associated with adrenal insufficiency.
Hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets may cause severe hypotension including orthostatic hypotension and syncope in ambulatory patients. There is increased risk in patients whose ability to maintain blood pressure has already been compromised by a reduced blood volume or concurrent administration of certain CNS depressant drugs (e.g., phenothiazines or general anesthetics) [see PRECAUTIONS; Drug Interactions]. Follow these patients for signs of hypotension after initiating or titrating the dosage of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets. In patients with circulatory shock hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets may cause vasodilatation that can further reduce cardiac output and blood pressure. Avoid the use of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets with circulatory shock.
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 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].
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