November 26, 2015
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Severe Adverse Events-lnadvertent Intrathecal Administration

Serious adverse reactions have been reported due to the inadvertent intrathecaladministration of iodinated contrast media that are not indicated for intrathecal use.

These serious adverse reactions include: death, convulsions, cerebral hemorrhage,coma, paralysis, arachnoiditis, acute renal failure, cardiac arrest, seizures, rhabdomyolysis, hyperthermia, and brain edema. Special attention must be given toinsure that this drug product is not inadvertently administered intrathecally.


Nonionic iodinated contrast media inhibit blood coagulation, in vitro, less than ionic contrast media. Clotting has been reported when blood remains in contact with syringes containing nonionic contrast media.

Serious, rarely fatal, thromboembolic events causing myocardial infarction and stroke have been reported during angiographic procedures with both ionic and nonionic contrast media. Therefore, meticulous intravascular administration technique is necessary, particularly during angiographic procedures, to minimize thromboembolic events. Numerous factors, including length of procedure, catheter and syringe material, underlying disease state, and concomitant medications may contribute to the development of thromboembolic events. For these reasons, meticulous angiographic techniques are recommended including close attention to guidewire and catheter manipulation, use of manifold systems and/or three way stopcocks, frequent catheter flushing with heparinized saline solutions, and minimizing the length of the procedure. The use of plastic syringes in place of glass syringes has been reported to decrease but not eliminate the likelihood of in vitro clotting.

Caution must be exercised in patients with severely impaired renal function, those with combined renal and hepatic disease, or anuria, particularly when larger or repeat doses are administered. Radiopaque diagnostic contrast agents are potentially hazardous in patients with multiple myeloma or other paraproteinemia, particularly in those with therapeutically resistant anuria. Myeloma occurs most commonly in persons over age 40. Although neither the contrast agent nor dehydration has been proved separately to be the cause of anuria in myelomatous patients, it has been speculated that the combination of both may be causative. The risk in myelomatous patients is not a contraindication; however, special precautions are required.

Contrast media may promote sickling in individuals who are homozygous for sickle cell disease when injected intravenously or intraarterially.

Administration of radiopaque materials to patients known or suspected of having pheochromocytoma should be performed with extreme caution. If, in the opinion of the physician, the possible benefits of such procedures outweigh the considered risks, the procedures may be performed; however, the amount of radiopaque medium injected should be kept to an absolute minimum. The blood pressure should be assessed throughout the procedure and measures for treatment of a hypertensive crisis should be available. These patients should be monitored very closely during contrast enhanced procedures.

Reports of thyroid storm following the use of iodinated radiopaque diagnostic agents in patients with hyperthyroidism or with an autonomously functioning thyroid nodule suggest that this additional risk be evaluated in such patients before use of any contrast medium.



Diagnostic procedures which involve the use of any radiopaque agent should be carried out under the direction of personnel with the prerequisite training and with a thorough knowledge of the particular procedure to be performed. Appropriate facilities should be available for coping with any complication of the procedure, as well as for emergency treatment of severe reaction to the contrast agent itself. After parenteral administration of a radiopaque agent, competent personnel and emergency facilities should be available for at least 30 to 60 minutes since severe delayed reactions may occur. Caution should be exercised in hydrating patients with underlying conditions that may be worsened by fluid overload, such as congestive heart failure.

Diabetic nephropathy may predispose to acute renal impairment following intravascular contrast media administration. Acute renal impairment following contrast media administration may precipitate lactic acidosis in patients who are taking biguanides.

The administration of iodinated contrast media may aggravate the symptoms of myasthenia gravis.

Preparatory dehydration is dangerous and may contribute to acute renal failure in patients with advanced vascular disease, diabetic patients, and in susceptible nondiabetic patients (often elderly with pre-existing renal disease). Patients should be well hydrated prior to and following iopamidol administration.

The possibility of a reaction, including serious, life-threatening, fatal, anaphylactoid or cardiovascular reactions, should always be considered (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Patients at increased risk include those with a history of a previous reaction to a contrast medium, patients with a known sensitivity to iodine per se, and patients with a known clinical hypersensitivity (bronchial asthma, hay fever, and food allergies). The occurrence of severe idiosyncratic reactions has prompted the use of several pretesting methods. However, pretesting cannot be relied upon to predict severe reactions and may itself be hazardous for the patient. It is suggested that a thorough medical history with emphasis on allergy and hypersensitivity, prior to the injection of any contrast medium, may be more accurate than pretesting in predicting potential adverse reactions. A positive history of allergies or hypersensitivity does not arbitrarily contraindicate the use of a contrast agent where a diagnostic procedure is thought essential, but caution should be exercised. Premedication with antihistamines or corticosteroids to avoid or minimize possible allergic reactions in such patients should be considered. Recent reports indicate that such pretreatment does not prevent serious life-threatening reactions but may reduce both their incidence and severity.

Pre-existing conditions, such as pacemakers or cardiac medications, specifically beta-blockers, may mask or alter the signs or symptoms of an anaphylactoid reaction, as well as masking or altering the response to particular medications used for treatment. For example, beta-blockers inhibit a tachycardiac response, and can lead to the incorrect diagnosis of a vasovagal rather than an anaphylactoid reaction. Special attention to this possibility is particularly critical in patients suffering from serious, life-threatening reactions.

General anesthesia may be indicated in the performance of some procedures in selected patients; however, a higher incidence of adverse reactions has been reported with radiopaque media in anesthetized patients, which may be attributable to the inability of the patient to identify untoward symptoms, or to the hypotensive effect of anesthesia which can reduce cardiac output and increase the duration of exposure to the contrast agent.

Even though the osmolality of iopamidol is low compared to diatrizoate or iothalamate based ionic agents of comparable iodine concentration, the potential transitory increase in the circulatory osmotic load in patients with congestive heart failure requires caution during injection. These patients should be observed for several hours following the procedure to detect delayed hemodynamic disturbances. Injection site pain and swelling may occur. In the majority of cases it is due to extravasation of contrast medium. Reactions are usually transient and recover without sequelae. However, inflammation and even skin necrosis have been seen on very rare occasions.

In angiographic procedures, the possibility of dislodging plaques or damaging or perforating the vessel wall, or inducing vasospasm, and or subsequent ischemic events, should be borne in mind during catheter manipulations and contrast medium injection. Test injections to ensure proper catheter placement are suggested.

Selective coronary arteriography should be performed only in selected patients and those in whom the expected benefits outweigh the procedural risk. The inherent risks of angiocardiography in patients with pulmonary hypertension must be weighed against the necessity for performing this procedure. Angiography should be avoided whenever possible in patients with homocystinuria, because of the risk of inducing thrombosis and embolism. See also Pediatric Use.

In addition to the general precautions previously described, special care is required when venography is performed in patients with suspected thrombosis, phlebitis, severe ischemic disease, local infection or a totally obstructed venous system. Extreme caution during injection of contrast media is necessary to avoid extravasation and fluoroscopy is recommended. This is especially important in patients with severe arterial or venous disease.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

Long-term studies in animals have not been performed to evaluate carcinogenic potential. No evidence of genetic toxicity was obtained in in vitro tests.


Teratogenic Effects

Pregnancy Category B

Reproduction studies have been performed in rats and rabbits at doses up to 2.7 and 1.4 times the maximum recommended human dose (1.48 gl/kg in a 50 kg individual), respectively, and have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to iopamidol. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Nursing Mothers

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 iopamidol is administered to a nursing woman.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness in children has been established in pediatric angiocardiography, computed tomography (head and body) and excretory urography. Pediatric patients at higher risk of experiencing adverse events during contrast medium administration may include those having asthma, a sensitivity to medication and/or allergens, cyanotic heart disease, congestive heart failure, a serum creatinine greater than 1.5 mg/dL or those less than 12 months of age.

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

Last reviewed on RxList: 7/29/2015


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