"Nov. 2, 2012 -- Safety steps taken in the wake of the fungal meningitis outbreak have worsened drug shortages, raising questions about whether the U.S. must choose between the safety and the availability of crucial medicines.
Mechanism of action
Local anesthetics block the generation and the conduction of nerve impulses presumably by increasing the threshold for electrical excitation in the nerve, by slowing the propagation of the nerve impulse, and by reducing the rate of rise of the action potential. In general, the progression of anesthesia is related to the diameter, myelination, and conduction velocity of affected nerve fibers. Clinically, the order of loss of nerve function is as follows: (1) pain, (2) temperature, (3) touch, (4) proprioception, and (5) skeletal muscle tone.
Systemic absorption of local anesthetics produces effects on the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. At blood concentrations achieved with normal therapeutic doses, changes in cardiac conduction, excitability, refractoriness, contractility, and peripheral vascular resistance are minimal. However, toxic blood concentrations depress cardiac conductivity and excitability, which may lead to atrioventricular block, ventricular arrhythmias, and cardiac arrest, sometimes resulting in fatalities. In addition, myocardial contractility is depressed and peripheral vasodilation occurs, leading to decreased cardiac output and arterial blood pressure. Clinical reports and animal research suggest that these cardiovascular changes are more likely to occur after accidental intravascular injection of bupivacaine.
Following systemic absorption, local anesthetics can produce central nervous system stimulation, depression, or both. Apparent central stimulation is manifested as restlessness, tremors, and shivering progressing to convulsions, followed by depression and coma progressing ultimately to respiratory arrest. However, the local anesthetics have a primary depressant effect on the medulla and on higher centers. The depressed stage may occur without a prior excited state.
Local infiltration of EXPAREL results in significant systemic plasma levels of bupivacaine which can persist for 96 hours [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Systemic plasma levels of bupivacaine following administration of EXPAREL are not correlated with local efficacy.
The rate of systemic absorption of bupivacaine is dependent upon the total dose of drug administered, the route of administration, and the vascularity of the administration site.
Pharmacokinetic parameters of EXPAREL after local administration were evaluated following surgical procedures. Descriptive statistics of pharmacokinetic parameters of representative EXPAREL doses in each study are provided in Table 2.
Table 2: Summary of Pharmacokinetic Parameters for Bupivacaine
after Administration of Single Doses of EXPAREL
|Bunionectomy 106 mg (8 mL)||Hemorrhoidectomy 266 mg (20 mL)|
|Cmax (ng/mL)||166 (92.7)||867 (353)|
|AUC(0-t) (hxng/mL)||5864 (2038)||16,867 (7868)|
|AUC(inf) (hxng/mL)||7105 (2283)||18,289 (7569)|
|t½ (h)||34.1 (17.0)||23.8 (39.4)|
|Note: Arithmetic mean (standard deviation) except Tmax (median).|
After bupivacaine has been released from EXPAREL and is absorbed systemically, bupivacaine distribution is expected to be the same as for any bupivacaine HCl solution formulation.
Local anesthetics including bupivacaine are distributed to some extent to all body tissues, with high concentrations found in highly perfused organs such as the liver, lungs, heart, and brain.
Local anesthetics including bupivacaine appear to cross the placenta by passive diffusion. The rate and degree of diffusion is governed by (1) the degree of plasma protein binding, (2) the degree of ionization, and (3) the degree of lipid solubility. Fetal/maternal ratios of local anesthetics appear to be inversely related to the degree of plasma protein binding, because only the free, unbound drug is available for placental transfer. Bupivacaine with a high protein binding capacity (95%) has a low fetal/maternal ratio (0.2 to 0.4). The extent of placental transfer is also determined by the degree of ionization and lipid solubility of the drug. Lipid soluble, non-ionized drugs such as bupivacaine readily enter the fetal blood from the maternal circulation.
Amide-type local anesthetics, such as bupivacaine, are metabolized primarily in the liver via conjugation with glucuronic acid. Pipecolylxylidine (PPX) is the major metabolite of bupivacaine; approximately 5% of bupivacaine is converted to PPX. Elimination of drug depends largely upon the availability of plasma protein binding sites in the circulation to carry it to the liver where it is metabolized.
Various pharmacokinetic parameters of the local anesthetics can be significantly altered by the presence of hepatic disease. Patients with hepatic disease, especially those with severe hepatic disease, may be more susceptible to the potential toxicities of the amide-type local anesthetics.
After bupivacaine has been released from EXPAREL and is absorbed systemically, bupivacaine excretion is expected to be the same as for other bupivacaine formulations.
The kidney is the main excretory organ for most local anesthetics and their metabolites. Only 6% of bupivacaine is excreted unchanged in the urine.
Urinary excretion is affected by urinary perfusion and factors affecting urinary pH. Acidifying the urine hastens the renal elimination of local anesthetics. Various pharmacokinetic parameters of the local anesthetics can be significantly altered by the presence of renal disease, factors affecting urinary pH, and renal blood flow.
The effects of decreased hepatic function on bupivacaine pharmacokinetics following administration of EXPAREL were studied in patients with moderate hepatic impairment. Consistent with the hepatic clearance of bupivacaine, mean plasma concentrations were higher in patients with moderate hepatic impairment than in the healthy control volunteers with approximately 1.5- and 1.6-fold increases in the mean values for Cmax and the area under the curve (AUC), respectively.
Because amide-type local anesthetics, such as bupivacaine, are metabolized by the liver, these drugs should be used cautiously in patients with hepatic disease. Patients with severe hepatic disease, because of their inability to metabolize local anesthetics normally, are at a greater risk of developing toxic plasma concentrations [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use in Specific Populations].
Bupivacaine is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Care should be taken in dose selection of EXPAREL [See Use in Specific Populations].
Various pharmacokinetic parameters of the local anesthetics such as bupivacaine can be significantly altered by the age of the patient.
In clinical studies, differences in various pharmacokinetic parameters have been observed between elderly and younger patients.
Bupivacaine is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic 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 of EXPAREL [See Use In Specific Populations].
The efficacy of EXPAREL was compared to placebo in two multicenter, randomized, doubleblinded clinical trials. One trial evaluated the treatments in patients undergoing bunionectomy; the other trial evaluated the treatments in patients undergoing hemorrhoidectomy. EXPAREL has not been demonstrated to be safe and effective in other procedures.
A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study evaluated the safety and efficacy of 106 mg EXPAREL in 193 patients undergoing bunionectomy. The mean age was 43 years (range 18 to 72). Study medication was administered directly into the wound at the conclusion of the surgery, prior to wound closure. Pain intensity was rated by the patients on a 0 to 10 numeric rating scale (NRS) out to 72 hours. Postoperatively, patients were allowed rescue medication (5 mg oxycodone/325 mg acetaminophen orally every 4 to 6 hours as needed) or, if that was insufficient within the first 24 hours, ketorolac (15 to 30 mg IV). The primary outcome measure was the area under the curve (AUC) of the NRS pain intensity scores (cumulative pain scores) collected over the first 24 hour period. There was a significant treatment effect for EXPAREL compared to placebo.
In this clinical study, EXPAREL demonstrated a significant reduction in pain intensity compared to placebo for up to 24 hours. The difference in mean pain intensity between treatment groups occurred only during the first 24 hours following study drug administration. Between 24 and 72 hours after study drug administration, there was minimal to no difference between EXPAREL and placebo treatments on mean pain intensity.
A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study evaluated the safety and efficacy of 266 mg EXPAREL in 189 patients undergoing hemorrhoidectomy. The mean age was 48 years (range 18 to 86). Study medication was administered directly into the wound (greater than or equal to 3 cm) at the conclusion of the surgery. Pain intensity was rated by the patients on a 0 to 10 NRS at multiple time points up to 72 hours. Postoperatively, patients were allowed rescue medication (morphine sulfate 10 mg intramuscular every 4 hours as needed). The primary outcome measure was the AUC of the NRS pain intensity scores (cumulative pain scores) collected over the first 72 hour period. There was a significant treatment effect for EXPAREL compared to placebo.
In this clinical study, EXPAREL demonstrated a significant reduction in pain intensity compared to placebo for up to 24 hours. The difference in mean pain intensity between treatment groups occurred only during the first 24 hours following study drug administration. Between 24 and 72 hours after study drug administration, there was minimal to no difference between EXPAREL and placebo treatments on mean pain intensity; however, there was an attendant decrease in opioid consumption, the clinical benefit of which was not demonstrated.
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/10/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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