Chronic use of opioids may cause reduced fertility in females and males of reproductive potential. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible [see Adverse Reactions (6.2), Clinical Pharmacology (12.2), Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)].
The safety and effectiveness of ULTRACET in pediatric patients have not been established.
Life-threatening respiratory depression and death have occurred in children who received tramadol [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)]. In some of the reported cases, these events followed tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy, and one of the children had evidence of being an ultra-rapid metabolizer of tramadol (i.e., multiple copies of the gene for cytochrome P450 isoenzyme 2D6). Children with sleep apnea may be particularly sensitive to the respiratory depressant effects of tramadol.
Because of the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression and death:
- ULTRACET is contraindicated for all children younger than age 12 years of age [see Contraindications (4)].
- ULTRACET is contraindicated for postoperative management in pediatric patients younger than 18 years of age following tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy [see Contraindications (4)].
- Avoid the use of ULTRACET in adolescents 12 to 18 years of age who have other risk factors that may increase their sensitivity to the respiratory depressant effects of tramadol unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Risk factors include conditions associated with hypoventilation such as postoperative status, obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, severe pulmonary disease, neuromuscular disease, and concomitant use of other medications that cause respiratory depression.
Elderly patients (65 years of age or older) may have increased sensitivity to tramadol. In general, use caution when selecting a dosage for an elderly patient, 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.
Respiratory depression is the chief risk for elderly patients treated with opioids, and has occurred after large initial doses were administered to patients who were not opioid-tolerant or when opioids were co-administered with other agents that depress respiration. Titrate the dosage of ULTRACET slowly in geriatric patients and monitor closely for signs of central nervous system and respiratory depression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].
Tramadol and acetaminophen are known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function.
The pharmacokinetics and tolerability of ULTRACET in patients with impaired hepatic function have not been studied. Based on information using tramadol immediate-release tablets in subjects with advanced cirrhosis of the liver, tramadol exposure was higher and half-lives of tramadol and active metabolite M1 were longer than in subjects with normal hepatic function [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
As tramadol and acetaminophen are both extensively metabolized by the liver, the use of ULTRACET in patients with hepatic impairment is not recommended [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].
The pharmacokinetics and tolerability of ULTRACET in patients with renal impairment has not been studied. Based on studies using tramadol extended-release tablets, the excretion of tramadol and metabolite M1 is reduced in patients with creatinine clearance of less than 30 mL/min. In patients with creatinine clearances of less than 30 mL/min, it is recommended that the dosage of ULTRACET not exceed 2 tablets every 12 hours. [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)]. The total amount of tramadol and M1 removed during a 4 hour dialysis period is less than 7% of the administered dose based on studies using tramadol alone. Monitor closely for signs of respiratory depression, sedation, and hypotension.
Tramadol clearance was 20% higher in female subjects compared to males in four Phase 1 studies of ULTRACET in 50 male and 34 female healthy subjects. The clinical significance of this difference is unknown.
ULTRACET contains tramadol, a Schedule IV controlled substance.
ULTRACET contains tramadol, a substance with a high potential for abuse similar to other opioids and can be abused and is subject to misuse, addiction, and criminal diversion [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
All patients treated with opioids require careful monitoring for signs of abuse and addiction, since use of opioid analgesic products carries the risk of addiction even under appropriate medical use.
Prescription drug abuse is the intentional non-therapeutic use of a prescription drug, even once, for its rewarding psychological or physiological effects.
Drug addiction is a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and includes: a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful, or potentially harmful, consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal.
“Drug seeking” behavior is very common in persons with substance use disorders. Drug seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing or referral, repeated “loss” of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions, and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating physician(s). “Doctor shopping” (visiting multiple prescribers) to obtain additional prescriptions is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction. Preoccupation with achieving adequate pain relief can be appropriate behavior in a patient with poor pain control.
Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Healthcare providers should be aware that addiction may not be accompanied by concurrent tolerance and symptoms of physical dependence in all addicts. In addition, abuse of opioids can occur in the absence of true addiction.
ULTRACET, like other opioids, can be diverted for non-medical use into illicit channels of distribution. Careful record-keeping of prescribing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests, as required by state and federal law, is strongly advised.
Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to limit abuse of opioid drugs.
Risks Specific to Abuse of ULTRACET
ULTRACET is for oral use only. Abuse of ULTRACET poses a risk of overdose and death. The risk is increased with concurrent abuse of ULTRACET with alcohol and other central nervous system depressants.
Parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
Both tolerance and physical dependence can develop during chronic opioid therapy. Tolerance is the need for increasing doses of opioids to maintain a defined effect such as analgesia (in the absence of disease progression or other external factors). Tolerance may occur to both the desired and undesired effects of drugs, and may develop at different rates for different effects.
Physical dependence is a physiological state in which the body adapts to the drug after a period of regular exposure, resulting in withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation or a significant dosage reduction of a drug. Withdrawal also may be precipitated through the administration of drugs with opioid antagonist activity (e.g., naloxone, nalmefene), mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (e.g., pentazocine, butorphanol, nalbuphine), or partial agonists (e.g., buprenorphine). Physical dependence may not occur to a clinically significant degree until after several days to weeks of continued opioid usage.
Do not abruptly discontinue ULTRACET in a patient physically dependent on opioids. Rapid tapering of ULTRACET in a patient physically dependent on opioids may lead to serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain and suicide.
Rapid discontinuation has also been associated with attempts to find other sources of opioid analgesics, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse.
When discontinuing opioids, gradually taper the dosage using a patient-specific plan that considers the following: the dose of the opioid the patient has been taking, the duration of treatment, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. To improve the likelihood of a successful taper and minimize withdrawal symptoms, it is important that the opioid tapering schedule is agreed upon by the patient. In patients taking opioids for a long duration at high doses, ensure that a multimodal approach to pain management, including mental health support (if needed), is in place prior to initiating an opioid analgesic taper [see Dosage and Administration (2.4), Warnings and Precautions (5.20)].
Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids will also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal signs [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].
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