"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.
The following adverse reactions described elsewhere in the labeling include:
- Respiratory Depression [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Chronic Pulmonary Disease [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Head Injuries and Increased Intracranial Pressure [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Interactions with Other CNS Depressants [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Hypotensive Effect [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Gastrointestinal Effects [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
- Seizures [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Clinical Trial Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
MS CONTIN may increase the risk of serious adverse reactions such as those observed with other opioid analgesics, including respiratory depression, apnea, respiratory arrest, circulatory depression, hypotension, or shock [see OVERDOSAGE].
Most Frequently Observed Reactions
In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions with MS Contin were constipation, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, sweating, dysphoria, and euphoric mood.
Some of these effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory patients and in those not experiencing severe pain.
Less Frequently Observed Reactions
General disorders and administration site conditions: chills, feeling abnormal, edema, edema peripheral, weakness
Metabolism and nutrition disorders: anorexia
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: muscle rigidity, muscle twitching
Psychiatric disorders: agitation, mood altered, anxiety, depression, abnormal dreams, hallucination, disorientation, insomnia
Renal and urinary disorders: urinary retention, urinary hesitation, antidiuretic effects
Reproductive system and breast disorders: reduced libido and/or potency
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: laryngospasm
Vascular disorders: flushing, hypotension, hypertension
The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of MS CONTIN: amenorrhea, asthenia, bronchospasm, confusional state, drug hypersensitivity, fatigue, hyperalgesia, hypertonia, ileus, increased hepatic enzymes, intestinal obstruction, lethargy, malaise, pulmonary edema, thinking disturbances, somnolence, and vertigo.
Anaphylaxis has been reported with ingredients contained in MS CONTIN. Advise patients how to recognize such a reaction and when to seek medical attention.
Read the MS-Contin (morphine sulfate controlled-release) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
Concurrent use of MS CONTIN and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants including sedatives or hypnotics, general anesthetics, phenothiazines, tranquilizers, and alcohol can increase the risk of respiratory depression, hypotension, profound sedation or coma. Monitor patients receiving CNS depressants and MS CONTIN for signs of respiratory depression and hypotension. When such combined therapy is contemplated, reduce the initial dose of one or both agents.
Mixed Agonists/Antagonist Opioid Analgesics
Mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (i.e., pentazocine, nalbuphine, butorphanol) may reduce the analgesic effect of MS CONTIN or may precipitate withdrawal symptoms in these patients. Avoid the use of agonist/antagonist analgesics in patients receiving MS CONTIN.
Morphine may enhance the neuromuscular blocking action of skeletal muscle relaxants and produce an increased degree of respiratory depression. Monitor patients receiving muscle relaxants and MS CONTIN for signs of respiratory depression that may be greater than otherwise expected.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
The effects of morphine may be potentiated by MAOIs. Monitor patients on concurrent therapy with an MAOI and MS CONTIN for increased respiratory and central nervous system depression. MAOIs have been reported to potentiate the effects of morphine anxiety, confusion, and significant depression of respiration or coma. MS CONTIN should not be used in patients taking MAOIs or within 14 days of stopping such treatment.
Cimetidine can potentiate morphine-induced respiratory depression. There is a report of confusion and severe respiratory depression when a patient undergoing hemodialysis was concurrently administered morphine and cimetidine. Monitor patients for respiratory depression when MS CONTIN and cimetidine are used concurrently.
Morphine can reduce the efficacy of diuretics by inducing the release of antidiuretic hormone. Morphine may also lead to acute retention of urine by causing spasm of the sphincter of the bladder, particularly in men with enlarged prostates.
Anticholinergics or other medications with anticholinergic activity when used concurrently with opioid analgesics may result in increased risk of urinary retention and/or severe constipation, which may lead to paralytic ileus. Monitor patients for signs of urinary retention or reduced gastric motility when MS CONTIN is used concurrently with anticholinergic drugs.
P-Glycoprotein (PGP) Inhibitors
PGP-inhibitors (e.g., quinidine) may increase the absorption/exposure of morphine sulfate by about two-fold. Therefore, monitor patients for signs of respiratory and central nervous system depression when MS CONTIN is used concurrently with PGP inhibitors.
Drug Abuse And Dependence
MS CONTIN contains morphine, a Schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for abuse similar to other opioids including fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. MS CONTIN can be abused and is subject to misuse, addiction, and criminal diversion [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
The high drug content in extended-release formulations adds to the risk of adverse outcomes from abuse and misuse.
All patients treated with opioids require careful monitoring for signs of abuse and addiction, since use of opioid analgesic products carries the risk of addiction even under appropriate medical use. Drug abuse is the intentional non-therapeutic use of an over-thecounter or prescription drug, even once, for its rewarding psychological or physiological effects. Drug abuse includes, but is not limited to the following examples: the use of a prescription or over-the-counter drug to get “high”, or the use of steroids for performance enhancement and muscle build up.
Drug addiction is a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and include: a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance , and sometimes a physical withdrawal.
“Drug seeking” behavior is very common to addicts and drug abusers. Drug-seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing or referral, repeated claims of loss of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating physician(s). “Doctor shopping” (visiting multiple prescribers) to obtain additional prescriptions is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction.
Preoccupation with achieving adequate pain relief can be appropriate behavior in a patient with poor pain control.
Abuse and addiction are separate and distinct from physical dependence and tolerance. Physicians should be aware that addiction may not be accompanied by concurrent tolerance and symptoms of physical dependence in all addicts. In addition, abuse of opioids can occur in the absence of true addiction.
MS CONTIN, like other opioids, can be diverted for non-medical use into illicit channels of distribution. Careful record-keeping of prescribing information, including quantity, frequency, and renewal requests as required by state law, is strongly advised.
Proper assessment of the patient, proper prescribing practices, periodic re-evaluation of therapy, and proper dispensing and storage are appropriate measures that help to reduce abuse of opioid drugs.
Risks Specific to Abuse of MS CONTIN
MS CONTIN is for oral use only. Abuse of MS CONTIN poses a risk of overdose and death. This risk is increased with concurrent abuse of MS CONTIN with alcohol and other substances. Taking cut, broken, chewed, crushed, or dissolved MS CONTIN enhances drug release and increases the risk of over dose and death.
Due to the presence of talc as one of the excipients in MS CONTIN, parenteral abuse can be expected to result in local tissue necrosis, infection, pulmonary granulomas, and increased risk of endocarditis and valvular heart injury. Parenteral drug abuse is commonly associated with transmission of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
Both tolerance and physical dependence can develop during chronic opioid therapy. Tolerance is the need for increasing doses of opioids to maintain a defined effect such as analgesia (in the absence of disease progression or other external factors). Tolerance may occur to both the desired and undesired effects of drugs, and may develop at different rates for different effects.
Physical dependence results in withdrawal symptoms after abrupt discontinuation or a significant dose reduction of a drug. Withdrawal also may be precipitated through the administration of drugs with opioid antagonist activity, e.g., naloxone, nalmefene, or mixed agonist/antagonist analgesics (pentazocine, butorphanol, , nalbuphine). Physical dependence may not occur to a clinically significant degree until after several days to weeks of continued opioid usage.
MS CONTIN should not be abruptly discontinued [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. If MS CONTIN is abruptly discontinued in a physically-dependent patient, an abstinence syndrome may occur. Some or all of the following can characterize this syndrome: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other signs and symptoms also may develop, including: irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate.
Infants born to mothers physically dependent on opioids will also be physically dependent and may exhibit respiratory difficulties and withdrawal signs [see Use In Specific Populations].
Read the MS-Contin Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions
Last reviewed on RxList: 7/23/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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