CNS Depression — Promethazine may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving a vehicle or operating machinery. The impairment may be amplified by concomitant use of other central-nervous-system depressants such as alcohol, sedatives/hypnotics (including barbiturates), narcotics, narcotic analgesics, general anesthetics, tricyclic antidepressants, and tranquilizers; therefore such agents should either be eliminated or given in reduced dosage in the presence of promethazine HCl (see PRECAUTIONS-Information for Patients and Drug Interactions).
Respiratory Depression — Promethazine may lead to potentially fatal respiratory depression.
Use of Promethazine in patients with compromised respiratory function (e.g., COPD, sleep apnea) should be avoided.
Lower Seizure Threshold — Promethazine may lower seizure threshold. It should be used with caution in persons with seizure disorders or in persons who are using concomitant medications, such as narcotics or local anesthetics, which may also affect seizure threshold.
Bone-Marrow Depression — Promethazine should be used with caution in patients with bone-marrow depression. Leukopenia and agranulocytosis have been reported, usually when promethazine HCl has been used in association with other known marrow-toxic agents.
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome — A potentially fatal symptom complex sometimes referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) has been reported in association with promethazine HCl alone or in combination with antipsychotic drugs. Clinical manifestations of NMS are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis and cardiac dysrhythmias).
The diagnostic evaluation of patients with this syndrome is complicated. In arriving at a diagnosis, it is important to identify cases where the clinical presentation includes both serious medical illness (e.g. pneumonia, systemic infection, etc.) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms (EPS). Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, drug fever and primary central nervous system (CNS) pathology.
The management of NMS should include 1) immediate discontinuation of promethazine HCl, antipsychotic drugs, if any, and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy, 2) intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring, and 3) treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available. There is no general agreement about specific pharmacological treatment regimens for uncomplicated NMS.
Since recurrences of NMS have been reported with phenothiazines, the reintroduction of
promethazine HCl should be carefully considered.
The combination of promethazine hydrochloride and codeine phosphate is contraindicated in pediatric patients less than 6 years of age. Concomitant administration of promethazine products with other respiratory depressants has an association with respiratory depression, and sometimes death, in pediatric patients. The association does not directly relate to individualized weight-based dosing, which might otherwise permit safe administration.
Excessively large dosages of antihistamines, including promethazine hydrochloride, in pediatric patients may cause sudden death (see OVERDOSAGE). Hallucinations and convulsions have occurred with therapeutic doses and overdoses of promethazine hydrochloride in pediatric patients. In pediatric patients who are acutely ill associated with dehydration, there is an increased susceptibility to dystonias with the use of promethazine HCl.
Administration of promethazine has been associated with reported cholestatic jaundice.
Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with the drug combination-promethazine and codeine. It is not known whether this drug combination can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Promethazine hydrochloride and codeine phosphate should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
Narcotic analgesics, including codeine, should be administered with caution and the initial dose reduced in patients with acute abdominal conditions, convulsive disorders, significant hepatic or renal impairment, fever, hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease, ulcerative colitis, prostatic hypertrophy, in patients with recent gastrointestinal or urinary tract surgery, and in the very young or elderly or debilitated patients.
Drugs having anticholinergic properties should be used with caution in patients with
narrow-angle glaucoma, prostatic hypertrophy, stenosing peptic ulcer, pyloroduodenal
obstruction, and bladder-neck obstruction.
Promethazine should be used cautiously in persons with cardiovascular disease or with impairment of liver function.
Some individuals may be ultra-rapid metabolizers due to a specific CYP2D6*2×2 genotype. These individuals convert codeine into its a active metabolite, morphine, more rapidly and completely than other people. This rapid conversion results in higher than expected serum morphine levels. Even at labeled dosage regiments, individuals who are ultra-rapid metabolizers may experience overdose symptoms such as extreme sleepiness, confusion, and shallow breathing.
The prevalence of this CYP2D6 phenotype varies widely and has been estimated at 0.5 to 1% in Chinese and Japanese, 0.5 to 1% in Hispanics, 1-10% in Caucasians, 3% in African Americans, and 16-28% in North Africans, Ethiopians and Arabs. Data is not available for other ethnic groups.
When physicians prescribe codeine-containing drugs, they should choose the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time and should inform their patients about these risks and the signs of morphine overdose. (See Precautions-Nursing Mothers).
Patients should be advised to measure Promethazine with Codeine Oral Solution with an accurate measuring device. A household teaspoon is not an accurate measuring device and could lead to overdosage, especially when a half a teaspoon is measured. A pharmacist can recommend an appropriate measuring device and can provide instructions for measuring the correct dose.
Promethazine and codeine may cause marked drowsiness or may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving a vehicle or operating machinery. Ambulatory patients should be told to avoid engaging in such activities until it is known that they do not become drowsy or dizzy from promethazine and codeine therapy. Pediatric patients should be supervised to avoid potential harm in bike riding or in other hazardous activities.
The concomitant use of alcohol or other central-nervous-system depressants, such as sedatives/hypnotics (including barbiturates), narcotics, narcotic analgesics, general anesthetics, tricyclic antidepressants, and tranquilizers may enhance impairment and should be avoided or their dosage reduced (see WARNINGS-CNS Depression and PRECAUTIONS-Drug Interactions)
Patients should be advised to report any involuntary muscle movements.
Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
Codeine, like other narcotic analgesics, may produce orthostatic hypotension in some ambulatory patients. Patients should be cautioned accordingly.
Caution patients that some people have a variation in a liver enzyme and change codeine into morphine more rapidly and completely than other people. These people are ultra-rapid metabolizers and are more likely to have higher-than-normal levels of morphine in their blood after taking codeine, which can result in overdose symptoms such as extreme sleepiness, confusion, or shallow breathing. In most cases, it is unknown if someone is an ultra-rapid codeine metabolizer.
Nursing mothers taking codeine can also have higher morphine levels in their breast milk if they are ultra-rapid metabolizers. These higher levels of morphine in breast milk may lead to life-threatening or fatal side effects in nursing babies. Instruct nursing mothers to watch for signs of morphine toxicity in their infants including increased sleepiness (more than usual), difficulty breastfeeding, breathing difficulties, or limpness. Instruct nursing mothers to talk to the baby’s doctor immediately if they notice these signs and, if they cannot reach the doctor right away, to take the baby to an emergency room or call 911 (or local emergency services).
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