"A new consumer-friendly form ( is now available for making reports to MedWatch, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) on-line system for collecting information about serious problems with drugs, medical devices and other FDA-"...
Although data from controlled clinical studies at low flow rates are limited, findings taken from patient and animal studies suggest that there is a potential for renal injury which is presumed due to Compound A. Animal and human studies demonstrate that sevoflurane administered for more than 2 MAC·hours and at fresh gas flow rates of < 2 L/min may be associated with proteinuria and glycosuria.
While a level of Compound A exposure at which clinical nephrotoxicity might be expected to occur has not been established, it is prudent to consider all of the factors leading to Compound A exposure in humans, especially duration of exposure, fresh gas flow rate, and concentration of sevoflurane. During sevoflurane anesthesia the clinician should adjust inspired concentration and fresh gas flow rate to minimize exposure to Compound A. To minimize exposure to Compound A, sevoflurane exposure should not exceed 2 MAC·hours at flow rates of 1 to < 2 L/min. Fresh gas flow rates < 1 L/min are not recommended.
Because clinical experience in administering sevoflurane to patients with renal insufficiency (creatinine > 1.5 mg/dL) is limited, its safety in these patients has not been established.
Sevoflurane may be associated with glycosuria and proteinuria when used for long procedures at low flow rates. The safety of low flow sevoflurane on renal function was evaluated in patients with normal preoperative renal function. One study compared sevoflurane (N = 98) to an active control (N = 90) administered for ≥ 2 hours at a fresh gas flow rate of ≤ 1 Liter/minute. Per study defined criteria (Hou et al.) one patient in the sevoflurane group developed elevations of creatinine, in addition to glycosuria and proteinuria. This patient received sevoflurane at fresh gas flow rates of ≤ 800 mL/minute. Using these same criteria, there were no patients in the active control group who developed treatment emergent elevations in serum creatinine.
Sevoflurane may present an increased risk in patients with known sensitivity to volatile halogenated anesthetic agents. KOH containing CO2 absorbents are not recommended for use with sevoflurane.
Reports of QT prolongation, associated with torsade de pointes (in exceptional cases, fatal), have been received. Caution should be exercised when administering sevoflurane to susceptible patients (e.g. patients with congenital Long QT Syndrome or patients taking drugs that can prolong the QT interval).
In susceptible individuals, potent inhalation anesthetic agents, including sevoflurane, may trigger a skeletal muscle hypermetabolic state leading to high oxygen demand and the clinical syndrome known as malignant hyperthermia. Sevoflurane can induce malignant hyperthermia in genetically susceptible individuals, such as those with certain inherited ryanodine receptor mutations. The clinical syndrome is signaled by hypercapnia, and may include muscle rigidity, tachycardia, tachypnea, cyanosis, arrhythmias, and/or unstable blood pressure. Some of these nonspecific signs may also appear during light anesthesia, acute hypoxia, hypercapnia, and hypovolemia.
In clinical trials, one case of malignant hyperthermia was reported. In addition, there have been postmarketing reports of malignant hyperthermia. Some of these cases have been fatal.
Treatment of malignant hyperthermia includes discontinuation of triggering agents (e.g., sevoflurane), administration of intravenous dantrolene sodium (consult prescribing information for intravenous dantrolene sodium for additional information on patient management), and application of supportive therapy. Supportive therapy may include efforts to restore body temperature, respiratory and circulatory support as indicated, and management of electrolytefluid-acid-base abnormalities. Renal failure may appear later, and urine flow should be monitored and sustained if possible.
Use of inhaled anesthetic agents has been associated with rare increases in serum potassium levels that have resulted in cardiac arrhythmias and death in pediatric patients during the postoperative period. Patients with latent as well as overt neuromuscular disease, particularly Duchenne muscular dystrophy, appear to be most vulnerable. Concomitant use of succinylcholine has been associated with most, but not all, of these cases. These patients also experienced significant elevations in serum creatine kinase levels and, in some cases, changes in urine consistent with myoglobinuria. Despite the similarity in presentation to malignant hyperthermia, none of these patients exhibited signs or symptoms of muscle rigidity or hypermetabolic state. Early and aggressive intervention to treat the hyperkalemia and resistant arrhythmias is recommended; as is subsequent evaluation for latent neuromuscular disease.
During the maintenance of anesthesia, increasing the concentration of sevoflurane produces dose-dependent decreases in blood pressure. Due to sevoflurane's insolubility in blood, these hemodynamic changes may occur more rapidly than with other volatile anesthetics. Excessive decreases in blood pressure or respiratory depression may be related to depth of anesthesia and may be corrected by decreasing the inspired concentration of sevoflurane.
Rare cases of seizures have been reported in association with sevoflurane use (see PRECAUTIONS - Pediatric Use and ADVERSE REACTIONS).
The recovery from general anesthesia should be assessed carefully before a patient is discharged from the post-anesthesia care unit.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Studies on carcinogenesis have not been performed for either sevoflurane or Compound A. No mutagenic effect of sevoflurane was noted in the Ames test, mouse micronucleus test, mouse lymphoma mutagenicity assay, human lymphocyte culture assay, mammalian cell transformation assay, 32P DNA adduct assay, and no chromosomal aberrations were induced in cultured mammalian cells.
Similarly, no mutagenic effect of Compound A was noted in the Ames test, the Chinese hamster chromosomal aberration assay and the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay. However, positive responses were observed in the human lymphocyte chromosome aberration assay. These responses were seen only at high concentrations and in the absence of metabolic activation (human S-9).
Pregnancy Category B
Reproduction studies have been performed in rats and rabbits at doses up to 1 MAC (minimum alveolar concentration) without CO2 absorbent and have revealed no evidence of impaired fertility or harm to the fetus due to sevoflurane at 0.3 MAC, the highest nontoxic dose. Developmental and reproductive toxicity studies of sevoflurane in animals in the presence of strong alkalies (i.e., degradation of sevoflurane and production of Compound A) have not been conducted. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, sevoflurane should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Labor And Delivery
Sevoflurane has been used as part of general anesthesia for elective cesarean section in 29 women. There were no untoward effects in mother or neonate (see Pharmacodynamics - Clinical Trials). The safety of sevoflurane in labor and delivery has not been demonstrated.
The concentrations of sevoflurane in milk are probably of no clinical importance 24 hours after anesthesia. Because of rapid washout, sevoflurane concentrations in milk are predicted to be below those found with many other volatile anesthetics.
MAC decreases with increasing age. The average concentration of sevoflurane to achieve MAC in an 80 year old is approximately 50% of that required in a 20 year old.
Induction and maintenance of general anesthesia with sevoflurane have been established in controlled clinical trials in pediatric patients aged 1 to 18 years (see Pharmacodynamics - Clinical Trials and ADVERSE REACTIONS). Sevoflurane has a nonpungent odor and is suitable for mask induction in pediatric patients.
The concentration of sevoflurane required for maintenance of general anesthesia is age dependent. When used in combination with nitrous oxide, the MAC equivalent dose of sevoflurane should be reduced in pediatric patients. MAC in premature infants has not been determined (see DRUG INTERACTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION for recommendations in pediatric patients 1 day of age and older).
The use of sevoflurane has been associated with seizures (see PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS). The majority of these have occurred in children and young adults starting from 2 months of age, most of whom had no predisposing risk factors. Clinical judgement should be exercised when using sevoflurane in patients who may be at risk for seizures.
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/1/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Ultane Information
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Find out what women really need.