The vasodilating effects of isosorbide dinitrate may be additive with those of other vasodilators. Alcohol, in particular, has been found to exhibit additive effects of this variety.
Concomitant use of isosorbide dinitrate with phosphodiesterase inhibitors in any form is contraindicated (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
Concomitant use of isosorbide dinitrate with riociguat, a soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator, is contraindicated (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
No long-term studies in animals have been performed to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of isosorbide dinitrate. In a modified two-litter reproduction study, there was no remarkable gross pathology and no altered fertility or gestation among rats fed isosorbide dinitrate at 25 or 100 mg/kg/day.
At oral doses 35 and 150 times the maximum recommended human daily dose, isosorbide dinitrate has been shown to cause a dose-related increase in embryotoxicity (increase in mummified pups) in rabbits. There are no adequate, well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Isosorbide dinitrate should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
It is not known whether isosorbide dinitrate is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when isosorbide dinitrate is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Clinical studies of isosorbide dinitrate did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Adverse reactions to isosorbide dinitrate are generally dose-related, and almost all of these reactions are the result of isosorbide dinitrate’s activity as a vasodilator. Headache, which may be severe, is the most commonly reported side effect. Headache may be recurrent with each daily dose, especially at higher doses. Transient episodes of lightheadedness, occasionally related to blood pressure changes, may also occur. Hypotension occurs infrequently, but in some patients it may be severe enough to warrant discontinuation of therapy. Syncope, crescendo angina, and rebound hypertension have been reported but are uncommon.
Extremely rarely, ordinary doses of organic nitrates have caused methemoglobinemia in normal-seeming patients. Methemoglobinemia is so infrequent at these doses that further discussion of its diagnosis and treatment is deferred (see OVERDOSAGE).
Data are not available to allow estimation of the frequency of adverse reactions during treatment with isosorbide dinitrate tablets.
The ill effects of isosorbide dinitrate overdose are generally the results of isosorbide dinitrate’s capacity to induce vasodilatation, venous pooling, reduced cardiac output, and hypotension. These hemodynamic changes may have protean manifestations, including increased intracranial pressure, with any or all of persistent throbbing headache, confusion, and moderate fever; vertigo; palpitations; visual disturbances; nausea and vomiting (possibly with colic and even bloody diarrhea); syncope (especially in the upright posture); air hunger and dyspnea, later followed by reduced ventilatory effort; diaphoresis, with the skin either flushed or cold and clammy; heart block and bradycardia, paralysis; coma; seizures; and death.
Laboratory determinations of serum levels of isosorbide dinitrate and its metabolites are not widely available, and such determinations have, in any event, no established role in the management of isosorbide dinitrate overdose.
There are no data suggesting what dose of isosorbide dinitrate is likely to be life-threatening in humans. In rats, the median acute lethal dose (LD 50 ) was found to be 1100 mg/kg.
No data are available to suggest physiological maneuvers ( e.g. , maneuvers to change the pH of the urine) that might accelerate elimination of isosorbide dinitrate and its active metabolites. Similarly, it is not known which, if any, of these substances can usefully be removed from the body by hemodialysis.
No specific antagonist to the vasodilator effects of isosorbide dinitrate is known, and no intervention has been subject to controlled studies as a therapy for isosorbide dinitrate overdose. Because the hypotension associated with isosorbide dinitrate overdose is the result of venodilatation and arterial hypovolemia, prudent therapy in this situation should be directed toward increase in central fluid volume. Passive elevation of the patient’s legs may be sufficient, but intravenous infusion of normal saline or similar fluid may also be necessary.
The use of epinephrine or other arterial vasoconstrictors in this setting is likely to do more harm than good.
In patients with renal disease or congestive heart failure, therapy resulting in central volume expansion is not without hazard. Treatment of isosorbide dinitrate overdosage in these patients may be subtle and difficult, and invasive monitoring may be required.
Nitrate ions liberated during metabolism of isosorbide dinitrate can oxidize hemoglobin into methemoglobin. Even in patients totally without cytochrome b 5 reductase activity, however, and even assuming that the nitrate moieties of isosorbide dinitrate are quantitatively applied to oxidation of hemoglobin, about 1 mg/kg of isosorbide dinitrate should be required before any of these patients manifests clinically significant (≥10%) methemoglobinemia. In patients with normal reductase function, significant production of methemoglobin should require even larger doses of isosorbide dinitrate. In one study in which 36 patients received 2 to 4 weeks of continuous nitroglycerin therapy at 3.1 to 4.4 mg/hr (equivalent, in total administered dose of nitrate ions, to 4.8 to 6.9 mg of bioavailable isosorbide dinitrate per hour), the average methemoglobin level measured was 0.2%; this was comparable to that observed in parallel patients who received placebo.
Notwithstanding these observations, there are case reports of significant methemoglobinemia in association with moderate overdoses of organic nitrates. None of the affected patients had been thought to be unusually susceptible.
Methemoglobin levels are available from most clinical laboratories. The diagnosis should be suspected in patients who exhibit signs of impaired oxygen delivery despite adequate cardiac output and adequate arterial pO 2 . Classically, methemoglobinemic blood is described as chocolate brown, without color change on exposure to air.
When methemoglobinemia is diagnosed, the treatment of choice is methylene blue, 1 to 2 mg/kg intravenously.
As noted under ” CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY ,” multiple-dose studies with isosorbide dinitrate and other nitrates have shown that maintenance of continuous 24-hour plasma levels results in refractory tolerance. Every dosing regimen for isosorbide dinitrate tablets must provide a daily dose-free interval to minimize the development of this tolerance. With immediate-release isosorbide dinitrate, it appears that one daily dose-free interval must be at least 14 hours long.
As also noted under ” CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY ,” the effects of the second and later doses have been smaller and shorter-lasting than the effects of the first.
Large controlled studies with other nitrates suggest that no dosing regimen with isosorbide dinitrate tablets should be expected to provide more than about 12 hours of continuous anti-anginal efficacy per day.
As with all titratable drugs, it is important to administer the minimum dose which produces the desired clinical effect. The usual starting dose of isosorbide dinitrate is 5 mg to 20 mg, two or three times daily. For maintenance therapy, 10 mg to 40 mg, two or three times daily is recommended. Some patients may require higher doses. A daily dose-free interval of at least 14 hours is advisable to minimize tolerance. The optimal interval will vary with the individual patient, dose and regimen.
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