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Signs and Symptoms- The symptoms of toxicity from papaverine hydrochloride often result from vasomotor instability and include nausea, vomiting, weakness, central nervous system depression, nystagmus, diplopia, diaphoresis, flushing, dizziness, and sinus tachycardia. In large overdoses, papaverine is a potent inhibitor of cellular respiration and a weak calcium antagonist. Following an oral overdose of 15 g, metabolic acidosis with hyperventilation, hyperglycemia and hypokalemia have been reported. No information on toxic serum concentrations is available.
Treatment - To obtain up-to-date information about the treatment of overdose, a good resource is your certified Regional Poison Control Center. Telephone numbers of certified poison control centers are listed in the Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR). In managing overdosage, consider the possibility of multiple drug overdoses, interaction among drugs, and unusual drug kinetics in your patient.
If convulsions occur, consider diazepam, phenytoin, or phenobarbital. If the seizures are refractory, general anesthesia with thiopental or halothane and paralysis with a neuromuscular blocking agent may be necessary.
For hypotension, consider intravenous fluids, elevation of the legs, and an inotropic vasopressor, such as dopamine or levarteranol. Theoretically, calcium gluconate may be helpful in treating some of the toxic cardiovascular effects of papaverine; monitor the ECG and plasma calcium concentrations.
Intravenous injection of papaverine is contraindicated in the presence of complete atrioventricular heart block. When conduction is depressed, the drug may produce transient ectopic rhythms of ventricular origin, either premature beats or paroxysmal tachycardia.
Papaverine hydrochloride is not indicated for the treatment of impotence by intracorporeal injection. The intracorporeal injection of papaverine hydrochloride has been reported to have resulted in persistent priapism requiring medical and surgical intervention.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/25/2009
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