Methylprednisolone Sodium Succinate (Page 2 of 6)

WARNINGS

Serious Neurologic Adverse Reactions with Epidural Administration
Serious neurologic events, some resulting in death, have been reported with epidural injection of corticosteroids. Specific events reported include, but are not limited to, spinal cord infarction, paraplegia, quadriplegia, cortical blindness, and stroke. These serious neurologic events have been reported with and without use of fluoroscopy. The safety and effectiveness of epidural administration of corticosteroids have not been established, and corticosteroids are not approved for this use.

General
Formulations with preservative ( see DESCRIPTION) contain benzyl alcohol, which is potentially toxic when administered locally to neural tissue. Exposure to excessive amounts of benzyl alcohol has been associated with toxicity (hypotension, metabolic acidosis), particularly in neonates, and an increased incidence of kernicterus, particularly in small preterm infants. There have been rare reports of deaths, primarily in preterm infants, associated with exposure to excessive amounts of benzyl alcohol. The amount of benzyl alcohol from medications is usually considered negligible compared to that received in flush solutions containing benzyl alcohol. Administration of high dosages of medications containing this preservative must take into account the total amount of benzyl alcohol administered. The amount of benzyl alcohol at which toxicity may occur is not known. If the patient requires more than the recommended dosages or other medications containing this preservative, the practitioner must consider the daily metabolic load of benzyl alcohol from these combined sources (see PRECAUTIONS, Pediatric Use).

Injection of methylprednisolone sodium succinate may result in dermal and/or subdermal changes forming depressions in the skin at the injection site. In order to minimize the incidence of dermal and subdermal atrophy, care must be exercised not to exceed recommended doses in injections. Injection into the deltoid muscle should be avoided because of a high incidence of subcutaneous atrophy.

Rare instances of anaphylactoid reactions have occurred in patients receiving corticosteroid therapy (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).

In patients receiving the 40 mg presentation of methylprednisolone sodium succinate during the treatment for acute allergic conditions and where these symptoms worsen or any new allergic symptoms occur, consideration should be given to the potential for hypersensitivity reactions to cow’s milk ingredients (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). If appropriate, administration of methylprednisolone sodium succinate for injection, USP should be stopped, and the patient’s condition should be treated accordingly. Alternative treatments, including the use of corticosteroid formulations that do not contain ingredients produced from cow’s milk, should be considered for acute allergy management, where appropriate.

Increased dosage of rapidly acting corticosteroids is indicated in patients on corticosteroid therapy who are subjected to any unusual stress before, during, and after the stressful situation.

Results from one multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled study with methylprednisolone hemisuccinate, an intravenous corticosteroid, showed an increase in early (at 2 weeks) and late (at 6 months) mortality in patients with cranial trauma who were determined not to have other clear indications for corticosteroid treatment. High doses of systemic corticosteroids, includingmethylprednisolone sodium succinate should not be used for the treatment of traumatic brain injury.

Cardio-renal
Average and large doses of corticosteroids can cause elevation of blood pressure, salt and water retention, and increased excretion of potassium. These effects are less likely to occur with the synthetic derivatives except when used in large doses. Dietary salt restriction and potassium supplementation may be necessary. All corticosteroids increase calcium excretion.

Literature reports suggest an apparent association between the use of corticosteroids and left ventricular free wall rupture after a recent myocardial infarction; therefore, therapy with corticosteroids should be used with great caution in these patients.

Endocrine
Hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis suppression, Cushing’s syndrome, and hyperglycemia. Monitor patients for these conditions with chronic use.

Corticosteroids can produce reversible HPA axis suppression with the potential for glucocorticosteroid insufficiency after withdrawal of treatment. Drug induced secondary adrenocortical insufficiency may be minimized by gradual reduction of dosage. This type of relative insufficiency may persist for months after discontinuation of therapy; therefore, in any situation of stress occurring during that period, hormone therapy should be reinstituted.

Drug-Induced Liver Injury
Rarely, high doses of cyclically pulsed intravenous methylprednisolone (usually for the treatment of exacerbations of multiple sclerosis at doses of 1 gram/day) can induce a toxic form of acute hepatitis. The time to onset of this form of steroid-induced liver injury can be several weeks or longer. Resolution has been observed after discontinuation of treatment. However, serious liver injury can occur, sometimes resulting in acute liver failure and death. Discontinue intravenous methylprednisolone if toxic hepatitis occurs. Since recurrence has occurred after re-challenge, avoid use of high dose intravenous methylprednisolone in patients with a history of toxic hepatitis caused by methylprednisolone.

Infections
General
Patients who are on corticosteroids are more susceptible to infections than are healthy individuals. There may be decreased resistance and inability to localize infection when corticosteroids are used. Infections with any pathogen (viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoan, or helminthic) in any location of the body may be associated with the use of corticosteroids alone or in combination with other immunosuppressive agents.

These infections may be mild, but can be severe and at times fatal. With increasing doses of corticosteroids, the rate of occurrence of infectious complications increases. Corticosteroids may also mask some signs of current infection. Do not use intra­articularly, intrabursally or for intratendinous administration for local effect in the presence of acute local infection.

A study has failed to establish the efficacy of methylprednisolone sodium succinate in the treatment of sepsis syndrome and septic shock. The study also suggests that treatment of these conditions with methylprednisolone sodium succinate may increase the risk of mortality in certain patients (i.e., patients with elevated serum creatinine levels or patients who develop secondary infections after methylprednisolone sodium succinate).

Fungal infections
Corticosteroids may exacerbate systemic fungal infections and therefore should not be used in the presence of such infections unless they are needed to control drug reactions. There have been cases reported in which concomitant use of amphotericin B and hydrocortisone was followed by cardiac enlargement and congestive heart failure (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions, Amphotericin B injection and potassium-depleting agents).

Special pathogens
Latent disease may be activated or there may be an exacerbation of intercurrent infections due to pathogens, including those caused by Amoeba, Candida, Cryptococcus, Mycobacterium, Nocardia, Pneumocystis, Toxoplasma.

It is recommended that latent amebiasis or active amebiasis be ruled out before initiating corticosteroid therapy in any patient who has spent time in the tropics or in any patient with unexplained diarrhea.

Similarly, corticosteroids should be used with great care in patients with known or suspected Strongyloides (threadworm) infestation. In such patients, corticosteroid­induced immunosuppression may lead to Strongyloides hyperinfection and dissemination with widespread larval migration, often accompanied by severe enterocolitis and potentially fatal gram-negative septicemia.

Corticosteroids should not be used in cerebral malaria. There is currently no evidence of benefit from steroids in this condition.

Tuberculosis
The use of corticosteroids in active tuberculosis should be restricted to those cases of fulminating or disseminated tuberculosis in which the corticosteroid is used for the management of the disease in conjunction with appropriate antituberculous regimen.

If corticosteroids are indicated in patients with latent tuberculosis or tuberculin reactivity, close observation is necessary as reactivation of the disease may occur. During prolonged corticosteroid therapy, these patients should receive chemoprophylaxis.

Vaccination
Administration of live or live, attenuated vaccines is contraindicated in patients receiving immunosuppressive doses of corticosteroids. Killed or inactivated vaccines may be administered. However, the response to such vaccines cannot be predicted. Immunization procedures may be undertaken in patients receiving corticosteroids as replacement therapy, e.g., for Addison’s disease.

Viral infections
Chicken pox and measles can have a more serious or even fatal course in pediatric and adult patients on corticosteroids. In pediatric and adult patients who have not had these diseases, particular care should be taken to avoid exposure. The contribution of the underlying disease and/or prior corticosteroid treatment to the risk is also not known. If exposed to chicken pox, prophylaxis with varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) may be indicated. If exposed to measles, prophylaxis with immunoglobulin (IG) may be indicated. (See the respective package inserts for complete VZIG and IG prescribing information.) If chicken pox develops, treatment with antiviral agents should be considered.

Neurologic
Reports of severe medical events have been associated with the intrathecal route of administration (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Gastrointestinal and Neurologic/Psychiatric).

Ophthalmic
Use of corticosteroids may produce posterior subcapsular cataracts, glaucoma with possible damage to the optic nerves, and may enhance the establishment of secondary ocular infections due to bacteria, fungi, or viruses. The use of oral corticosteroids is not recommended in the treatment of optic neuritis and may lead to an increase in the risk of new episodes. Corticosteroids should be used cautiously in patients with ocular herpes simplex because of corneal perforation. Corticosteroids should not be used in active ocular herpes simplex.

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