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For pentazocine alone in single doses above 60 mg there have been reports of the occurrence of nalorphine-like psychotomimetic effects such as anxiety, nightmares, strange thoughts, and hallucinations. Somnolence, marked respiratory depression associated with increased blood pressure and tachycardia have also resulted as have seizures, hypotension, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and paresthesias. The respiratory depression is antagonized by naloxone (see Treatment). Circulatory failure and deepening coma may occur in more severe cases, particularly in patients who have also ingested other CNS depressants such as alcohol, sedative/hypnotics, or antihistamines.

In acute acetaminophen overdosage, dose-dependent, potentially fatal hepatic necrosis is the most serious adverse effect. Renal tubular necrosis, hypoglycemic coma, and thrombocytopenia may also occur.

In adults, a single dose of 10 g to 15 g (200 mg/kg to 250 mg/kg) of acetaminophen may cause hepatotoxicity. A dose of 25 g or more is potentially fatal. The potential seriousness of the intoxication may not be evident during the first two days of acute acetaminophen poisoning. During the first 24 hours, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and abdominal pain occur. These may persist for a week or more. Liver injury may become evident the second day, initial signs being elevation of serum transaminase and lactic dehydrogenase activity, increased serum bilirubin concentration, and prolongation of prothrombin time. Serum albumin concentration and alkaline phosphatase activity may remain normal. The hepatotoxicity may lead to encephalopathy, coma, and death. Transient azotemia is evident in a majority of patients and acute renal failure occurs in some.

There have been reports of glycosuria and impaired glucose tolerance, but hypoglycemia may also occur. Metabolic acidosis and metabolic alkalosis have been reported. Cerebral edema and non-specific myocardial depression have also been noted. Biopsy reveals centrolobular necrosis with sparing of the periportal area. The hepatic lesions are reversible over a period of weeks or months in nonfatal cases.

The severity of the liver injury can be determined by measurement of the plasma halftime of acetaminophen during the first day of acute poisoning. If the halftime exceeds 4 hours, hepatic necrosis is likely and if the halftime is greater than 12 hours, hepatic coma will probably occur. Only minimal liver damage has developed when the serum concentration was below 120 mcg/mL at 12 hours after ingestion of the drug. If serum bilirubin concentration is greater than 4 mg/100 mL during the first 5 days, encephalopathy may occur.


Adequate measures to maintain ventilation and general circulatory support should be employed. Assisted or controlled ventilation, intravenous fluids, vasopressors, and other supportive measures should be employed as indicated. Consideration should be given to gastric lavage and gastric aspiration. For respiratory depression due to overdosage or unusual sensitivity to TALACEN (pentazocine and acetaminophen) , parenteral naloxone is a specific and effective antagonist. Initial doses of 0.4 to 2.0 mg of naloxone are recommended, repeated at 2-3 minute intervals, if needed, up to a total of 10 mg. Anti-convulsant therapy may be necessary.

The toxic effects of acetaminophen may be prevented or minimized by antidotal therapy with N-acetylcysteine. In order to obtain the best possible results, N-acetylcysteine should be administered as soon as possible.

Vigorous supportive therapy is required in severe intoxication. Procedures to limit the continuing absorption of the drug must be readily performed since the hepatic injury is dose dependent and occurs early in the course of intoxication. Induction of vomiting or gastric lavage, followed by oral administration of activated charcoal should be done in all cases.

If hemodialysis can be initiated within the first 12 hours, it is advocated for patients with a plasma acetaminophen concentration exceeding 120 mcg/mL at 4 hours after ingestion of the drug.


TALACEN (pentazocine and acetaminophen) is contraindicated in patients who are hypersensitive to either pentazocine or acetaminophen.

TALACEN (pentazocine and acetaminophen) is contraindicated in patients with sulfite allergy.

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

Last reviewed on RxList: 11/16/2016


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