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BUPHENYL is indicated as adjunctive therapy in the chronic management of patients with urea cycle disorders involving deficiencies of carbamylphosphate synthetase (CPS), ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC), or argininosuccinic acid synthetase (AS). It is indicated in all patients with neonatal-onset deficiency (complete enzymatic deficiency, presenting within the first 28 days of life). It is also indicated in patients with late-onset disease (partial enzymatic deficiency, presenting after the first month of life) who have a history of hyperammonemic encephalopathy. It is important that the diagnosis be made early and treatment initiated immediately to improve survival. Any episode of acute hyperammonemia should be treated as a life-threatening emergency.

BUPHENYL must be combined with dietary protein restriction and, in some cases, essential amino acid supplementation. (See Nutritional Supplementation subsection of the DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION section.)

Previously, neonatal-onset disease was almost universally fatal within the first year of life, even when treated with peritoneal dialysis and essential amino acids or their nitrogen-free analogs. However, with hemodialysis, use of alternative waste nitrogen excretion pathways (sodium phenylbutyrate, sodium benzoate, and sodium phenylacetate), dietary protein restriction, and, in some cases, essential amino acid supplementation, the survival rate in newborns diagnosed after birth but within the first month of life is almost 80%. Most deaths have occurred during an episode of acute hyperammonemic encephalopathy. Patients with neonatal-onset disease have a high incidence of mental retardation. Those who had IQ tests administered had an incidence of mental retardation as follows: ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, 100% (14/14 patients tested); argininosuccinic acid synthetase deficiency, 88% (15/17 patients tested); and carbamylphosphate synthetase deficiency, 57% (4/7 patients tested). Retardation was severe in the majority of the retarded patients.

In patients diagnosed during gestation and treated prior to any episode of hyperammonemic encephalopathy, survival is 100%, but even in these patients, most subsequently demonstrate cognitive impairment or other neurologic deficits.

In late-onset deficiency patients, including females heterozygous for ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, who recover from hyperammonemic encephalopathy and are then treated chronically with sodium phenylbutyrate and dietary protein restriction, the survival rate is 98%. The two deaths in this group of patients occurred during episodes of hyperammonemic encephalopathy. However, compliance with the therapeutic regimen has not been adequately documented to allow evaluation of the potential for BUPHENYL and dietary protein restriction to prevent mental deterioration and recurrence of hyperammonemic encephalopathy if carefully adhered to. The majority of these patients tested (30/46 or 65%) have IQ's in the average to low average/borderline mentally retarded range. Reversal of pre-existing neurologic impairment is not likely to occur with treatment and neurologic deterioration may continue in some patients.

Even on therapy, acute hyperammonemic encephalopathy recurred in the majority of patients for whom the drug is indicated. BUPHENYL may be required life-long unless orthotopic liver transplantation is elected.

(See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Pharmacodynamics subsection for the biochemical effects of BUPHENYL).


For oral use only.

The use of BUPHENYL Tablets is indicated for children weighing more than 20 kg and for adults.

The usual total daily dose of BUPHENYL Tablets and Powder for patients with urea cycle disorders is 450–600 mg/kg/day in patients weighing less than 20 kg, or 9.9–13.0 g/m²/day in larger patients. The tablets and powder are to be taken in equally divided amounts with each meal or feeding (i.e., three to six times per day).

BUPHENYL Powder is indicated for oral use (via mouth, gastrostomy, or nasogastric tube) only. The powder is to be mixed with food (solid or liquid) for immediate use; however, when dissolved in water, BUPHENYL Powder has been shown to be stable for up to one week at room temperature or refrigerated. Sodium phenylbutyrate is very soluble in water (5 grams per 10 mL). When BUPHENYL Powder is added to a liquid, only sodium phenylbutyrate will dissolve, the excipients will not. The effect of food on sodium phenylbutyrate has not been determined.

Each level teaspoon (enclosed) dispenses 3.2 grams of powder and 3.0 grams of sodium phenylbutyrate. Each level tablespoon (enclosed) dispenses 9.1 grams of powder and 8.6 grams of sodium phenylbutyrate.

Shake lightly before use.

The safety or efficacy of doses in excess of 20 grams (40 tablets) per day has not been established.

Nutritional Management

To promote growth and development, plasma levels of ammonia, arginine, branched-chain amino acids, and serum protein should be maintained within normal limits while plasma glutamine is maintained at levels less than 1,000 μmol/L. Minimum daily protein intake for a patient of a particular age should be taken from, for example, “Recommended Dietary Allowances”, 10th ed., Food and Nutrition Board, National Academy of Sciences, 1989. The allocation of dietary nitrogen into natural protein and essential amino acids is a function of age, residual urea-cycle enzyme activity, and the dose of sodium phenylbutyrate.

At the recommended dose of sodium phenylbutyrate, it is suggested that infants with neonatal-onset CPS and OTC deficiencies initially receive a daily dietary protein intake limited to approximately 1.6 g/kg/day for the first 4 months of life. If tolerated, the daily protein intake may be increased to 1.9 g/kg/day during this period. Protein tolerance will decrease as the growth rate decreases, requiring a reduction in dietary nitrogen intake. From 4 months to 1 year of age, it is recommended that the infant receive at least 1.4 g/kg/day, but 1.7 g/kg/day is advisable. From 1 to 3 years of age, the protein intake should not be less than 1.2 g/kg/day; 1.4 g/kg/day is advisable during this period. For neonatal-onset patients with carbamylphosphate synthetase deficiency or ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency who are at least 6 months of age, it is recommended that the daily protein intake be equally divided between natural protein and supplemental essential amino acids.

Patients with argininosuccinic acid synthetase deficiency and those with late-onset disease (partial deficiencies, including females heterozygous for ornithine transcarbamylase), initially may receive a diet containing the age-determined minimal daily natural protein allowance. The protein intake may be increased as tolerated and determined by plasma glutamine and other amino acid levels. However, many patients with partial deficiencies avoid dietary protein.

Citrulline supplementation is required and recommended for patients diagnosed with neonatal-onset deficiency of carbamylphosphate synthetase or ornithine transcarbamylase; citrulline daily intake is recommended at 0.17 g/kg/day or 3.8 g/m²/day.

The free-base form of arginine may be used instead of citrulline in patients with milder forms of carbamylphosphate synthetase and ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (daily intake is recommended at 0.17 g/kg/day or 3.8 g/m²/day).

Arginine supplementation is needed for patients diagnosed with deficiency of argininosuccinic acid synthetase; arginine (free base) daily intake is recommended at 0.4–0.7 g/kg/day or 8.8–15.4 g/m²/day.

If caloric supplementation is indicated, a protein-free product is recommended. Caloric intake should be based upon the “Recommended Dietary Allowances”, 10th ed., Food and Nutrition Board, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences, 1989.


BUPHENYL Tablets are available in 250 cc bottles which contain 250 sodium phenylbutyrate tablets ( 76325-496-03). The bottles are equipped with childresistant caps. Each tablet is off-white, oval, and embossed with “UCY 500”. Each tablet contains 500 mg of sodium phenylbutyrate. STORE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE 15°C–30°C (59°F–86°F). AFTER OPENING, KEEP BOTTLE TIGHTLY CLOSED.

BUPHENYL Powder is available in 500 cc bottles, which hold 266 grams of powder, containing 250 grams of sodium phenylbutyrate (NDC 76325-188-64). The bottles are equipped with child-resistant caps. Measurers are provided. Each level teaspoon (enclosed) dispenses 3.2 grams of powder and 3.0 grams of sodium phenylbutyrate.

Each level tablespoon (enclosed) dispenses 9.1 grams of powder and 8.6 grams of sodium phenylbutyrate. STORE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE 15°C–30°C (59°F–86°F). AFTER OPENING, KEEP BOTTLE TIGHTLY CLOSED.

NDC 76325-496-03 bottle contains 250 tablets of 500 mg.
NDC 76325-188-64 bottle containing 250 g of sodium phenylbutyrate powder.

Manufactured for: Hyperion Therapeutics, Inc., 2000 Sierra Point, Parkway, Suite 400, Brisbane, CA 94005. By: Pharmaceutics International Inc., Hunt Valley, MD 21031 U.S.A. Revised: Feb 2014

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 11/12/2015

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