After epidural administration of incremental doses totaling 5-40 mcg sufentanil during labor and delivery, maternal and neonatal sufentanil plasma concentrations were at or near the 0.05-0.1 ng/mL limit of detection, and were slightly higher in mothers than in their infants.
Epidural sufentanil was tested in 340 patients in two (one single-center and one multi-center) double-blind, parallel studies. Doses ranged from 10 to 15 mcg sufentanil and were delivered in a 10 mL volume of 0.125% bupivacaine with and without epinephrine 1:200,000. In all cases, sufentanil was administered following a dose of local anesthetic to test proper catheter placement. Since epidural opioids and local anesthetics potentiate each other, these results may not reﬂect the dose or efﬁcacy of epidural sufentanil by itself.
Individual doses of 10-15 mcg sufentanil plus bupivacaine 0.125% with epinephrine provided analgesia during the ﬁrst stage of labor with a duration of 1-2 hours. Onset was rapid (within 10 minutes). Subsequent doses (equal dose) tended to have shorter duration. Analgesia was profound (complete pain relief) in 80% to 100% of patients and a 25% incidence of pruritus was observed. The duration of initial doses of sufentanil plus bupivacaine with epinephrine is approximately 95 minutes, and of subsequent doses, 70 minutes.
There are insufﬁcient data to critically evaluate neonatal neuromuscular and adaptive capacity following recommended doses of maternally administered epidural sufentanil with bupivacaine. However, if larger than recommended doses are used for combined local and systemic analgesia, e.g., after administration of a single dose of 50 mcg epidural sufentanil during delivery, then impaired neonatal adaption to sound and light can be detected for 1 to 4 hours and if a dose of 80 mcg is used, impaired neuromuscular coordination can be detected for more than 4 hours.
– as a primary anesthetic agent for the induction and maintenance of anesthesia with 100% oxygen in patients undergoing major surgical procedures; in patients who are intubated and ventilated, such as cardiovascular surgery or neurosurgical procedures in the sitting position; to provide favorable myocardial and cerebral oxygen balance or when extended postoperative ventilation is anticipated.
SEE DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION SECTION FOR MORE COMPLETE INFORMATION ON THE USE OF SUFENTANIL.
SUFENTANIL CITRATE INJECTION SHOULD BE ADMINISTERED ONLY BY PERSONS SPECIFICALLY TRAINED IN THE USE OF INTRAVENOUS AND EPIDURAL ANESTHETICS AND MANAGEMENT OF THE RESPIRATORY EFFECTS OF POTENT OPIOIDS.
PRIOR TO CATHETER INSERTION, THE PHYSICIAN SHOULD BE FAMILIAR WITH PATIENT CONDITIONS (SUCH AS INFECTION AT THE INJECTION SITE, BLEEDING DIATHESIS, ANTICOAGULANT THERAPY, ETC.) WHICH CALL FOR SPECIAL EVALUATION OF THE BENEFIT VERSUS RISK POTENTIAL.
Intravenous administration or unintentional intravascular injection during epidural administration of sufentanil citrate may cause skeletal muscle rigidity, particularly of the truncal muscles. The incidence and severity of muscle rigidity is dose related. Administration of sufentanil may produce muscular rigidity with a more rapid onset of action than that seen with fentanyl. Sufentanil may produce muscular rigidity that involves the skeletal muscles of the neck and extremities. As with fentanyl, muscular rigidity has been reported to occur or recur infrequently in the extended postoperative period. The incidence of muscular rigidity associated with intravenous sufentanil can be reduced by: 1) administration of up to 1/4 of the full paralyzing dose of a non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocking agent just prior to administration of sufentanil at dosages up to 8 mcg/kg, 2) administration of a full paralyzing dose of a neuromuscular blocking agent following loss of consciousness when sufentanil is used in anesthetic dosages (above 8 mcg/kg) titrated by slow intravenous infusion or 3) simultaneous administration of sufentanil and a full paralyzing dose of a neuromuscular blocking agent when sufentanil is used in rapidly administered anesthetic dosages (above 8 mcg/kg).
The neuromuscular blocking agents used should be compatible with the patient’s cardiovascular status. Adequate facilities should be available for postoperative monitoring and ventilation of patients administered sufentanil. It is essential that these facilities be fully equipped to handle all degrees of respiratory depression.
Nitrous oxide may produce cardiovascular depression when given with high doses of sufentanil (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
Respiratory depression caused by opioid analgesics can be reversed by opioid antagonists such as naloxone. Because the duration of respiratory depression produced by sufentanil may last longer than the duration of the opioid antagonist action, appropriate surveillance should be maintained. As with all potent opioids, profound analgesia is accompanied by respiratory depression and diminished sensitivity to CO2 stimulation which may persist into or recur in the postoperative period. Respiratory depression may be enhanced when sufentanil is administered in combination with volatile inhalational agents and/or other central nervous system depressants such as barbiturates, tranquilizers and other opioids. Appropriate postoperative monitoring should be employed to ensure that adequate spontaneous breathing is established and maintained prior to discharging the patient from the recovery area. Respiration should be closely monitored following each administration of an epidural injection of sufentanil.
Proper placement of the needle or catheter in the epidural space should be veriﬁed before sufentanil is injected to assure that unintentional intravascular or intrathecal administration does not occur. Unintentional intravascular injection of sufentanil could result in a potentially serious overdose, including acute truncal muscular rigidity and apnea. Unintentional intrathecal injection of the full sufentanil/bupivacaine epidural doses and volume could produce effects of high spinal anesthesia including prolonged paralysis and delayed recovery. If analgesia is inadequate, the placement and integrity of the catheter should be veriﬁed prior to the administration of any additional epidural medications. Sufentanil should be administered epidurally by slow injection.
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