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Use of inhaled anesthetic agents has been associated with rare increases in serum potassium levels that have resulted in cardiac arrhythmias and death in pediatric patients during the postoperative period. Patients with latent as well as overt neuromuscular disease, particularly Duchenne muscular dystrophy, appear to be most vulnerable. Concomitant use of succinylcholine has been associated with most, but not all, of these cases. These patients also experienced significant elevations in serum creatinine kinase levels and, in some cases, changes in urine consistent with myoglobinuria. Despite the similarity in presentation to malignant hyperthermia, none of these patients exhibited signs or symptoms of muscle rigidity or hypermetabolic state. Early and aggressive intervention to treat the hyperkalemia and resistant arrhythmias is recommended, as is subsequent evaluation for latent neuromuscular disease.
In susceptible individuals, isoflurane anesthesia may trigger a skeletal muscle hypermetabolic state leading to high oxygen demand and the clinical syndrome known as malignant hyperthermia. The syndrome includes nonspecific features such as muscle rigidity, tachycardia, tachypnea, cyanosis, arrhythmias, and unstable blood pressure. (It should also be noted that many of these nonspecific signs may appear with light anesthesia, acute hypoxia, etc.) An increase in overall metabolism may be reflected in an elevated temperature, (which may rise rapidly early or late in the case, but usually is not the first sign of augmented metabolism) and an increased usage of the CO2 absorption system (hot canister). PaO2 and pH may decrease, and hyperkalemia and a base deficit may appear. Treatment includes discontinuance of triggering agents (e.g., isoflurane), administration of intravenous dantrolene sodium, and application of supportive therapy. Such therapy includes vigorous efforts to restore body temperature to normal, respiratory and circulatory support as indicated, and management of electrolyte-fluid-acid-base derangements. (Consult prescribing information for dantrolene sodium intravenous for additional information on patient management). Renal failure may appear later, and urine flow should be sustained if possible.
Since levels of anesthesia may be altered easily and rapidly, only vaporizers producing predictable concentrations should be used. Hypotension and respiratory depression increase as anesthesia is deepened.
Increased blood loss comparable to that seen with halothane has been observed in patients undergoing abortions.
FORANE (isoflurane, USP) markedly increases cerebral blood flow at deeper levels of anesthesia. There may be a transient rise in cerebral spinal fluid pressure, which is fully reversible with hyperventilation.
As with any potent general anesthetic, FORANE (isoflurane, USP) should only be administered in an adequately equipped anesthetizing environment by those who are familiar with the pharmacology of the drug and qualified by training and experience to manage the anesthetized patient.
Regardless of the anesthetics employed, maintenance of normal hemodynamics is important to the avoidance of myocardial ischemia in patients with coronary artery disease 4,5,6,7.
FORANE (isoflurane, USP), like some other inhalational anesthetics, can react with desiccated carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbents to produce carbon monoxide, which may result in elevated levels of carboxyhemoglobin in some patients. Case reports suggest that barium hydroxide lime and soda lime become desiccated when fresh gases are passed through the CO2 absorber canister at high flow rates over many hours or days. When a clinician suspects that CO2 absorbent may be desiccated, it should be replaced before the administration of FORANE (isoflurane, USP).
As with other halogenated anesthetic agents, FORANE (isoflurane, USP) may cause sensitivity hepatitis in patients who have been sensitized by previous exposure to halogenated anesthetics (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
4. S. Reiz, et al, Anesthesiology 59:91-97, 1983
5. S. Slogoff and A.S. Keats, Anesthesiology 70:179-188, 1989
6. K.J. Tuman, et al, Anesthesiology 70:189-198, 1989
7. D.T. Mangano, Editorial Views, Anesthesiology 70:175-178, 1989
Transient increases in BSP retention, blood glucose and serum creatinine with decrease in BUN, serum cholesterol and alkaline phosphatase have been observed.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Swiss ICR mice were given isoflurane to determine whether such exposure might induce neoplasia. Isoflurane was given at ½, ⅛ and 1/32 MAC for four in-utero exposures and for 24 exposures to the pups during the first nine weeks of life. The mice were killed at 15 months of age. The incidence of tumors in these mice was the same as in untreated control mice, which were given the same background gases, but not the anesthetic.
Pregnancy Category C
Isoflurane has been shown to have a possible anesthetic-related fetotoxic effect in mice when given in doses 6 times the human dose. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Isoflurane should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when isoflurane is administered to a nursing woman.
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/12/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Forane Information
- Forane Drug Interactions Center: isoflurane inhl
- Forane Side Effects Center
- Forane FDA Approved Prescribing Information including Dosage
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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