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Precedex should be administered only by persons skilled in the management of patients in the intensive care or operating room setting. Due to the known pharmacological effects of Precedex, patients should be continuously monitored while receiving Precedex.
Hypotension, Bradycardia, and Sinus Arrest
Clinically significant episodes of bradycardia and sinus arrest have been reported with Precedex administration in young, healthy adult volunteers with high vagal tone or with different routes of administration including rapid intravenous or bolus administration.
Reports of hypotension and bradycardia have been associated with Precedex infusion. If medical intervention is required, treatment may include decreasing or stopping the infusion of Precedex, increasing the rate of intravenous fluid administration, elevation of the lower extremities, and use of pressor agents. Because Precedex has the potential to augment bradycardia induced by vagal stimuli, clinicians should be prepared to intervene. The intravenous administration of anticholinergic agents (e.g., glycopyrrolate, atropine) should be considered to modify vagal tone. In clinical trials, glycopyrrolate or atropine were effective in the treatment of most episodes of Precedex-induced bradycardia. However, in some patients with significant cardiovascular dysfunction, more advanced resuscitative measures were required.
Caution should be exercised when administering Precedex to patients with advanced heart block and/or severe ventricular dysfunction. Because Precedex decreases sympathetic nervous system activity, hypotension and/or bradycardia may be expected to be more pronounced in patients with hypovolemia, diabetes mellitus, or chronic hypertension and in elderly patients.
In clinical trials where other vasodilators or negative chronotropic agents were co-administered with Precedex an additive pharmacodynamic effect was not observed. Nonetheless, caution should be used when such agents are administered concomitantly with Precedex.
Transient hypertension has been observed primarily during the loading dose in association with the initial peripheral vasoconstrictive effects of Precedex. Treatment of the transient hypertension has generally not been necessary, although reduction of the loading infusion rate may be desirable.
Some patients receiving Precedex have been observed to be arousable and alert when stimulated. This alone should not be considered as evidence of lack of efficacy in the absence of other clinical signs and symptoms.
Intensive Care Unit Sedation
With administration up to 7 days, regardless of dose, 12 (5%) Precedex adult subjects experienced at least 1 event related to withdrawal within the first 24 hours after discontinuing study drug and 7 (3%) Precedex adult subjects experienced at least 1 event 24 to 48 hours after end of study drug. The most common events were nausea, vomiting, and agitation.
In adult subjects, tachycardia and hypertension requiring intervention in the 48 hours following study drug discontinuation occurred at frequencies of < 5%. If tachycardia and/or hypertension occurs after discontinuation of Precedex supportive therapy is indicated.
In adult subjects, withdrawal symptoms were not seen after discontinuation of short term infusions of Precedex ( < 6 hours).
Tolerance and Tachyphylaxis
Use of dexmedetomidine beyond 24 hours has been associated with tolerance and tachyphylaxis and a dose-related increase in adverse reactions [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Animal carcinogenicity studies have not been performed with dexmedetomidine.
Dexmedetomidine was not mutagenic in vitro, in either the bacterial reverse mutation assay
(E. coli and Salmonella typhimurium) or the mammalian cell forward mutation assay (mouse lymphoma). Dexmedetomidine was clastogenic in the in vitro human lymphocyte chromosome aberration test with, but not without, rat S9 metabolic activation. In contrast, dexmedetomidine was not clastogenic in the in vitro human lymphocyte chromosome aberration test with or without human S9 metabolic activation. Although dexmedetomidine was clastogenic in an in vivo mouse micronucleus test in NMRI mice, there was no evidence of clastogenicity in CD-1 mice.
Fertility in male or female rats was not affected after daily subcutaneous injections of dexmedetomidine at doses up to 54 mcg/kg (less than the maximum recommended human intravenous dose on a mcg/m² basis) administered from 10 weeks prior to mating in males, and 3 weeks prior to mating and during mating in females.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Precedex use in pregnant women. In an in vitro human placenta study, placental transfer of dexmedetomidine occurred. In a study in the pregnant rat, placental transfer of dexmedetomidine was observed when radiolabeled dexmedetomidine was administered subcutaneously. Thus, fetal exposure should be expected in humans, and Precedex should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefits justify the potential risk to the fetus.
Teratogenic effects were not observed in rats following subcutaneous administration of dexmedetomidine during the period of fetal organogenesis (from gestation day 5 to 16) with doses up to 200 mcg/kg (representing a dose approximately equal to the maximum recommended human intravenous dose based on body surface area) or in rabbits following intravenous administration of dexmedetomidine during the period of fetal organogenesis (from gestation day 6 to 18) with doses up to 96 mcg/kg (representing approximately half the human exposure at the maximum recommended dose based on plasma area under the time-curve comparison). However, fetal toxicity, as evidenced by increased post-implantation losses and reduced live pups, was observed in rats at a subcutaneous dose of 200 mcg/kg. The no-effect dose in rats was 20 mcg/kg (representing a dose less than the maximum recommended human intravenous dose based on a body surface area comparison). In another reproductive toxicity study when dexmedetomidine was administered subcutaneously to pregnant rats at 8 and 32 mcg/kg (representing a dose less than the maximum recommended human intravenous dose based on a body surface area comparison) from gestation day 16 through weaning, lower offspring weights were observed. Additionally, when offspring of the 32 mcg/kg group were allowed to mate, elevated fetal and embryocidal toxicity and delayed motor development was observed in second generation offspring.
Labor and Delivery
The safety of Precedex during labor and delivery has not been studied.
It is not known whether Precedex is excreted in human milk. Radio-labeled dexmedetomidine administered subcutaneously to lactating female rats was excreted in milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when Precedex is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and efficacy have not been established for Procedural or ICU Sedation in pediatric patients. One assessor-blinded trial in pediatric patients and two open label studies in neonates were conducted to assess efficacy for ICU sedation. These studies did not meet their primary efficacy endpoints and the safety data submitted were insufficient to fully characterize the safety profile of Precedex for this patient population. The use of Precedex for procedural sedation in pediatric patients has not been evaluated.
Intensive Care Unit Sedation
A total of 729 patients in the clinical studies were 65 years of age and over. A total of 200 patients were 75 years of age and over. In patients greater than 65 years of age, a higher incidence of bradycardia and hypotension was observed following administration of Precedex [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Therefore a dose reduction may be considered in patients over 65 years of age [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
A total of 131 patients in the clinical studies were 65 years of age and over. A total of 47 patients were 75 years of age and over. Hypotension occurred in a higher incidence in Precedex-treated patients 65 years or older (72%) and 75 years or older (74%) as compared to patients < 65 years (47%). A reduced loading dose of 0.5 mcg/kg given over 10 minutes is recommended and a reduction in the maintenance infusion should be considered for patients greater than 65 years of age.
Since Precedex clearance decreases with increasing severity of hepatic impairment, dose reduction should be considered in patients with impaired hepatic function [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Last reviewed on RxList: 7/2/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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