"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.
Special attention must be given to recognizing the signs and symptoms of overdosage, especially during the initial screening and dose-titration phase of treatment, but also during re-introduction of Gablofen after a period of interruption in therapy.
Symptoms of intrathecal baclofen Overdose
Drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, somnolence, respiratory depression, seizures, rostral progression of hypotonia and loss of consciousness progressing to coma of up to 72 hours duration. In most cases reported, coma was reversible without sequelae after drug was discontinued. Symptoms of intrathecal baclofen overdose were reported in a sensitive adult patient after receiving a 25 mcg intrathecal bolus.
Treatment Suggestions for Overdose
There is no specific antidote for treating overdoses of Gablofen; however, the following steps should ordinarily be undertaken:
- Residual intrathecal baclofen solution should be removed from the pump as soon as possible.
- Patients with respiratory depression should be intubated if necessary, until the drug is eliminated.
Anecdotal reports suggest that intravenous physostigmine may reverse central side effects, notably drowsiness and respiratory depression. Caution in administering physostigmine is advised, however, because its use has been associated with the induction of seizures and bradycardia.
Physostigmine Doses for Adult Patients
Administer 2 mg of physostigmine intramuscularly or intravenously at a slow controlled rate of no more than 1 mg per minute. Dosage may be repeated if life-threatening signs, such as arrhythmia, convulsions or coma occur.
Physostigmine Doses for Pediatric Patients
Administer 0.02 mg/kg physostigmine intramuscularly or intravenously, do not give more than 0.5 mg per minute. The dosage may be repeated at 5 to 10 minute intervals until a therapeutic effect is obtained or a maximum dose of 2 mg is attained
Physostigmine may not be effective in reversing large overdoses and patients may need to be maintained with respiratory support.
Additional Gablofen Information
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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