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WARNINGS

Central And Peripheral Nervous System Effects

Encephalopathy and peripheral neuropathy: Cases of encephalopathy and peripheral neuropathy (including optic neuropathy) have been reported with metronidazole.

Encephalopathy has been reported in association with cerebellar toxicity characterized by ataxia, dizziness, and dysarthria. CNS lesions seen on MRI have been described in reports of encephalopathy. CNS symptoms are generally reversible within days to weeks upon discontinuation of metronidazole. CNS lesions seen on MRI have also been described as reversible.

Peripheral neuropathy, mainly of sensory type has been reported and is characterized by numbness or paresthesia of an extremity.

Convulsive seizures have been reported in patients treated with metronidazole.

Aseptic meningitis: Cases of aseptic meningitis have been reported with metronidazole. Symptoms can occur within hours of dose administration and generally resolve after metronidazole therapy is discontinued.

The appearance of abnormal neurologic signs and symptoms demands the prompt evaluation of the benefit/risk ratio of the continuation of therapy.

PRECAUTIONS

General

Patients with severe hepatic disease metabolize metronidazole slowly, with resultant accumulation of metronidazole and its metabolites in the plasma. Accordingly, for such patients, doses below those usually recommended should be administered cautiously.

Administration of solutions containing sodium ions may result in sodium retention. Care should be taken when administering Metronidazole Injection, USP RTU to patients receiving corticosteroids or to patients predisposed to edema.

Known or previously unrecognized candidiasis may present more prominent symptoms during therapy with Metronidazole Injection, USP RTU and requires treatment with a candicidal agent.

Prescribing Metronidazole Injection, USP RTU in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria.

Laboratory Tests

Metronidazole is a nitroimidazole, and should be used with care in patients with evidence of or history of blood dyscrasia. A mild leukopenia has been observed during its administration; however, no persistent hematologic abnormalities attributable to metronidazole have been observed in clinical studies. Total and differential leukocyte counts are recommended before and after therapy.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Tumorigenicity in Rodents - Metronidazole has shown evidence of carcinogenic activity in studies involving chronic, oral administration in mice and rats, but similar studies in the hamster gave negative results. Also, metronidazole has shown mutagenic activity in a number of in vitro assay systems, but studies in mammals (in vivo) failed to demonstrate a potential for genetic damage.

Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects - Pregnancy Category B

Metronidazole crosses the placental barrier and enters the fetal circulation rapidly. Reproduction studies have been performed in rats at doses up to five times the human dose and have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to metronidazole. Metronidazole administered intraperitoneally to pregnant mice at approximately the human dose caused fetotoxicity; administered orally to pregnant mice, no fetotoxicity was observed. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, and because metronidazole is a carcinogen in rodents, these drugs should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Nursing Mothers

Because of the potential for tumorigenicity shown for metronidazole in mouse and rat studies, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. Metronidazole is secreted in breast milk in concentrations similar to those found in plasma.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/7/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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