The prophylactic administration of Metronidazole Injection, USP preoperatively, intraoperatively, and postoperatively may reduce the incidence of postoperative infection in patients undergoing elective colorectal surgery which is classified as contaminated or potentially contaminated.
Prophylactic use of Metronidazole Injection, USP should be discontinued within 12 hours after surgery. If there are signs of infection, specimens for cultures should be obtained for the identification of the causative organism(s) so that appropriate therapy may be given (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of metronidazole and other antibacterial drugs, metronidazole should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antimicrobial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to the empiric selection of therapy.
Metronidazole Injection, USP is contraindicated in patients with a prior history of hypersensitivity to metronidazole or other nitroimidazole derivatives.
Convulsive seizures, encephalopathy, aseptic meningitis, optic and peripheral neuropathy, the latter characterized mainly by numbness or paresthesia of an extremity, have been reported in patients treated with metronidazole products. Since persistent peripheral neuropathy has been reported in some patients receiving prolonged oral administration of metronidazole, patients should be observed carefully. The appearance of abnormal neurologic signs demands the prompt evaluation of the benefit/risk ratio of the continuation of therapy.
Cases of severe hepatotoxicity/acute hepatic failure, including cases with a fatal outcome with very rapid onset after treatment initiation in patients with Cockayne syndrome have been reported with products containing metronidazole for systemic use. In this population, metronidazole should therefore be used after careful benefit-risk assessment and only if no alternative treatment is available. Obtain liver function tests prior to the start of therapy, within the first 2 to 3 days after initiation of therapy, frequently during therapy and after end of treatment. Discontinue metronidazole if elevation of liver function occurs, and monitor liver function tests until the baseline values are reached.
Advise patients with Cockayne syndrome to stop taking metronidazole immediately if they experience any symptoms of potential liver injury, such as abdominal pain, nausea, change in stool color or jaundice, and to contact their healthcare provider.
Patients with severe hepatic disease metabolize metronidazole slowly, with resultant accumulation of metronidazole and its metabolites in the plasma. Accordingly, for such patients, doses below those usually recommended should be administered cautiously.
Administration of solutions containing sodium ions may result in sodium retention. Care should be taken when administering Metronidazole Injection, USP to patients receiving corticosteroids or to patients predisposed to edema.
Known or previously unrecognized candidiasis may present more prominent symptoms during therapy with Metronidazole Injection, USP and requires treatment with a candicidal agent.
Prescribing Metronidazole Injection, USP in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
Patients should be counseled that antibacterial drugs including Metronidazole Injection, USP should only be used to treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections (e.g., the common cold). When Metronidazole Injection, USP is prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, patients should be told that although it is common to feel better early in the course of therapy, the medication should be taken exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of therapy may (1) decrease the effectiveness of the immediate treatment and (2) increase the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance and will not be treatable by Metronidazole Injection, USP or other antibacterial drugs in the future.
Metronidazole is a nitroimidazole, and Metronidazole Injection, USP should be used with caution in patients with evidence of or history of blood dyscrasia. A mild leukopenia has been observed during its administration; however, no persistent hematologic abnormalities attributable to metronidazole have been observed in clinical studies. Total and differential leukocyte counts are recommended before and after therapy.
Metronidazole has been reported to potentiate the anticoagulant effect of warfarin and other oral coumarin anticoagulants, resulting in a prolongation of prothrombin time. This possible drug interaction should be considered when Metronidazole Injection, USP is prescribed for patients on this type of anticoagulant therapy.
The simultaneous administration of drugs that induce microsomal liver enzymes, such as phenytoin or phenobarbital, may accelerate the elimination of metronidazole, resulting in reduced plasma levels; impaired clearance of phenytoin has also been reported.
The simultaneous administration of drugs that decrease microsomal liver enzyme activity, such as cimetidine, may prolong the half-life and decrease plasma clearance of metronidazole.
Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed during metronidazole therapy because abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and flushing may occur.
Psychotic reactions have been reported in alcoholic patients who are using metronidazole and disulfiram concurrently. Metronidazole should not be given to patients who have taken disulfiram within the last two weeks.
QT prolongation has been reported, particularly when metronidazole was administered with drugs with the potential for prolonging the QT interval.
Metronidazole may interfere with certain types of determinations of serum chemistry values, such as aspartate aminotransferase (AST, SGOT), alanine aminotransferase (ALT, SGPT), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), triglycerides, and hexokinase glucose. Values of zero may be observed. All of the assays in which interference has been reported involve enzymatic coupling of the assay to oxidation-reduction of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+DNADH). Interference is due to the similarity in absorbance peaks of NADH (340 nm) and metronidazole (322 nm) at pH 7.
Metronidazole has shown evidence of carcinogenic activity in studies involving chronic, oral administration in mice and rats, but similar studies in the hamster gave negative results. Also, metronidazole has shown mutagenic activity in a number of in vitro assay systems, but studies in mammals (in vivo) failed to demonstrate a potential for genetic damage.
Metronidazole crosses the placental barrier and enters the fetal circulation rapidly. Reproduction studies have been performed in rats at doses up to five times the human dose and have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to metronidazole. Metronidazole administered intraperitoneally to pregnant mice at approximately the human dose caused fetotoxicity; administered orally to pregnant mice, no fetotoxicity was observed. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, and because metronidazole is a carcinogen in rodents, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
Metronidazole is secreted in human milk in concentrations similar to those found in plasma. Because of the potential for tumorigenicity shown for metronidazole in mouse and rat studies, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Safety and effectiveness in children have not been established.
The following are the most serious adverse reactions reported in patients treated with metronidazole and are also described elsewhere in the labeling: convulsive seizures, encephalopathy, aseptic meningitis, optic and peripheral neuropathy (characterized mainly by numbness or paresthesia of an extremity) (see WARNINGS).
The following adverse reactions associated with the use of metronidazole products were identified in clinical studies or postmarketing reports or published literature. Because some of these reactions were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Gastrointestinal: Nausea, anorexia, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, an unpleasant metallic taste, epigastric distress, abdominal cramping, constipation and pancreatitis.
Mouth: A sharp metallic taste. Furry tongue, glossitis, and stomatitis have occurred; these may be associated with a sudden overgrowth of Candida which may occur during therapy with metronidazole.
Hematopoietic: Reversible neutropenia (leukopenia); thrombocytopenia, eosinophilia.
Hepatobiliary Disorders: Hepatotoxicity and liver failure especially in patients with Cockayne syndrome (see WARNINGS), jaundice.
Cardiovascular: QT prolongation has been reported, particularly when metronidazole was administered with drugs with the potential for prolonging the QT interval. Flattening of the T-wave may be seen in electrocardiographic tracings.
Skin and Subcutaneous Disorders: Toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS), erythematous rash, bullae, pruritus, swelling face, urticaria, and hyperhidrosis.
Central Nervous System: Encephalopathy, aseptic meningitis, convulsive seizures, optic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy (mainly numbness or paresthesia of an extremity), dizziness, vertigo, incoordination, ataxia, confusion, psychosis, dysarthria, irritability, depression, weakness, headache, and insomnia.
Laboratory Investigations: Hepatic enzymes increased.
Hypersensitivity: Anaphylaxis, angioedema, hypotension, flushing, nasal congestion, and dryness of mouth (or vagina or vulva).
Renal: Dysuria, cystitis, polyuria, incontinence, a sense of pelvic pressure, and darkened urine.
Local Reactions: Thrombophlebitis after intravenous infusion. This reaction can be minimized or avoided by avoiding prolonged use of indwelling intravenous catheters.
Other: Fever, hiccup, proliferation of Candida in the vagina, dyspareunia, decrease of libido, proctitis, and fleeting joint pains sometimes resembling “serum sickness”. If patients receiving metronidazole drink alcoholic beverages, they may experience abdominal distress, nausea, vomiting, flushing, or headache. A modification of the taste of alcoholic beverages has also been reported.
Patients with Crohn’s disease are known to have an increased incidence of gastrointestinal and certain extraintestinal cancers. There have been some reports in the medical literature of breast and colon cancer in Crohn’s disease patients who have been treated with metronidazole at high doses for extended periods of time. A cause and effect relationship has not been established. Crohn’s disease is not an approved indication for Metronidazole Injection, USP.
Darkened Urine: Instances of darkened urine have also been reported, and this manifestation has been the subject of a special investigation. Although the pigment which is probably responsible for this phenomenon has not been positively identified, it is almost certainly a metabolite of metronidazole and seems to have no clinical significance.
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Inc. at 1-866-625-1618 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch .
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