Varibar Nectar

VARIBAR NECTAR- barium sulfate suspension
E-Z-EM Canada Inc


VARIBAR NECTAR is indicated for use in modified barium swallow examinations to evaluate the oral and pharyngeal function and morphology in adult and pediatric patients.


2.1 Recommended Dosing

  • The recommended dose of VARIBAR NECTAR administered orally by syringe, spoon, or cup:
    • Adults                                                                                    5 mL
    • Pediatric patients 6 months and older                         1-3 mL
    • Pediatric patients younger than 6 months of age    0.5-1 mL
      (This amount may be administered by an oral syringe or, alternatively, an infant bottle)
  • During a single modified barium swallow examination, multiple doses of VARIBAR NECTAR may be administered as appropriate to assess the patient during multiple swallows and different radiographic views.
  • The maximum cumulative dose is 30 mL.
  • Once opened, write the discard after date on the immediate container label. Discard any unused product after 21 days.

2.2 Important Administration Instructions

For oral use only.

Encourage patients to hydrate following the barium sulfate procedure.


Oral suspension: barium sulfate (40% w/v) supplied in a multiple dose HDPE plastic bottle as a suspension for oral administration. Each bottle contains 240 mL of suspension.


VARIBAR NECTAR is contraindicated in patients with:

  • known or suspected perforation of the GI tract
  • known obstruction of the GI tract
  • high risk of GI perforation such as those with a recent prior GI perforation, acute GI hemorrhage or ischemia, toxic megacolon, severe ileus, post GI surgery or biopsy, acute GI injury or burn, or recent radiotherapy to the pelvis
  • high risk for aspiration such as those with known or suspected tracheo-esophageal fistula or obtundation
  • known severe hypersensitivity to barium sulfate or any of the excipients of VARIBAR NECTAR


5.1 Hypersensitivity Reactions

Barium sulfate preparations contain a number of excipients, including natural and artificial flavors and may induce serious hypersensitivity reactions. The manifestations include hypotension, bronchospasm and other respiratory impairments, dermal reactions including rashes, urticaria and itching. A history of bronchial asthma, atopy or a previous reaction to a contrast agent may increase the risk for hypersensitivity reactions. Emergency equipment and trained personnel should be immediately available for treatment of a hypersensitivity reaction.

5.2 Intra-abdominal Barium Leakage

The use of VARIBAR NECTAR is contraindicated in patients at high risk of perforation of the GI tract [see Contraindications (4)]. Administration of VARIBAR NECTAR may result in leakage of barium at any level of the GI tract in the presence of conditions such as carcinomas, GI fistula, inflammatory bowel disease, gastric or duodenal ulcer, appendicitis or diverticulitis, and in patients with a severe stenosis at any level of the GI tract, especially if it is distal to the stomach. The barium leakage has been associated with peritonitis and granuloma formation.

5.3 Delayed Gastrointestinal Transit and Obstruction

Orally administered barium sulfate may accumulate proximal to a constricting lesion of the colon, causing obstruction or impaction with development of baroliths (inspissated barium associated with feces) and may lead to abdominal pain, appendicitis, bowel obstruction, or rarely perforation. Patients with the following conditions are at higher risk for developing obstruction or baroliths: severe stenosis at any level of the GI tract, impaired GI motility, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, on a low residue diet, taking medications that delay GI motility, constipation, pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis or Hirschsprung disease, and the elderly [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4, 8.5)]. To reduce the risk of delayed GI transit and obstruction, patients should maintain adequate hydration following a barium sulfate procedure.

5.4 Aspiration Pneumonitis

The use of VARIBAR NECTAR is contraindicated in patients with tracheo-esophageal fistula [see Contraindications (4)]. Oral administration of barium is associated with aspiration pneumonitis, especially in patients with a history of food aspiration or with compromised swallowing mechanism. Vomiting following oral administration of barium sulfate may lead to aspiration pneumonitis.

In patients at risk for aspiration, begin the procedure with a small ingested volume of VARIBAR NECTAR. Aspiration of small volumes of barium sulfate may occur during the modified barium swallow procedure in some patients. Monitor the patient closely for aspiration, discontinue administration if aspiration is suspected and monitor for development of aspiration pneumonitis.

5.5 Systemic Embolization

Barium sulfate products may occasionally intravasate into the venous drainage of the large bowel and enter the circulation as a “barium embolus” leading to potentially fatal complications which include systemic and pulmonary embolism, disseminated intravascular coagulation, septicemia and prolonged severe hypotension. Although this complication is exceedingly uncommon after oral administration of barium sulfate products, monitor patients for potential intravasation when administering barium sulfate.


The following adverse reactions have been identified from spontaneous reporting or clinical studies of barium sulfate administered orally. Because the reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or to establish a causal relationship to drug exposure:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping
  • Serious adverse reactions and fatalities include aspiration pneumonitis, barium sulfate impaction, intestinal perforation with consequent peritonitis and granuloma formation, vasovagal and syncopal episodes


8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

VARIBAR NECTAR is not absorbed systemically following oral administration, and maternal use is not expected to result in fetal exposure to the drug [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

VARIBAR NECTAR is not absorbed systemically by the mother following oral administration, and breastfeeding is not expected to result in exposure of the infant to VARIBAR NECTAR [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

8.4 Pediatric Use

The efficacy of VARIBAR NECTAR in pediatric patients from birth to less than 17 years of age is based on successful opacification of the oropharynx during modified barium swallow examinations [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.1)]. Safety and dosing recommendations in pediatric patients are based on clinical experience [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)].

VARIBAR NECTAR is contraindicated in pediatric patients with tracheo-esophageal fistula [see Contraindications (4)]. Pediatric patients with a history of asthma or food allergies may be at increased risk for development of hypersensitivity reactions [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]. Patients with cystic fibrosis or Hirschsprung disease should be monitored for small bowel obstruction after use [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]

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