"Despite being at the front lines in the nation's battle against opioid addiction as the first to treat chronic pain, and opioid overuse, few primary care and family physicians use the one drug available to them to treat addiction, buprenorphine, "...
Continuous infusions of ULTIVA (remifentanil) should be administered only by an infusion device. IV bolus administration of ULTIVA (remifentanil) should be used only during the maintenance of general anesthesia. In nonintubated patients, single doses of ULTIVA (remifentanil) should be administered over 30 to 60 seconds.
Interruption of an infusion of ULTIVA (remifentanil) will result in rapid offset of effect. Rapid clearance and lack of drug accumulation result in rapid dissipation of respiratory depressant and analgesic effects upon discontinuation of ULTIVA (remifentanil) at recommended doses. Discontinuation of an infusion of ULTIVA (remifentanil) should be preceded by the establishment of adequate postoperative analgesia.
Injections of ULTIVA (remifentanil) should be made into IV tubing at or close to the venous cannula. Upon discontinuation of ULTIVA (remifentanil) , the IV tubing should be cleared to prevent the inadvertent administration of ULTIVA (remifentanil) at a later point in time. Failure to adequately clear the IV tubing to remove residual ULTIVA (remifentanil) has been associated with the appearance of respiratory depression, apnea, and muscle rigidity upon the administration of additional fluids or medications through the same IV tubing.
USE OF ULTIVA (remifentanil) IS ASSOCIATED WITH APNEA AND RESPIRATORY DEPRESSION. ULTIVA (remifentanil) SHOULD BE ADMINISTERED ONLY BY PERSONS SPECIFICALLY TRAINED IN THE USE OF ANESTHETIC DRUGS AND THE MANAGEMENT OF THE RESPIRATORY EFFECTS OF POTENT OPIOIDS, INCLUDING RESPIRATORY AND CARDIAC RESUSCITATION OF PATIENTS IN THE AGE GROUP BEING TREATED. SUCH TRAINING MUST INCLUDE THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF A PATENT AIRWAY AND ASSISTED VENTILATION.
ULTIVA (remifentanil) SHOULD NOT BE USED IN DIAGNOSTIC OR THERAPEUTIC PROCEDURES OUTSIDE THE MONITORED ANESTHESIA CARE SETTING. PATIENTS RECEIVING MONITORED ANESTHESIA CARE SHOULD BE CONTINUOUSLY MONITORED BY PERSONS NOT INVOLVED IN THE CONDUCT OF THE SURGICAL OR DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURE. OXYGEN SATURATION SHOULD BE MONITORED ON A CONTINUOUS BASIS.
RESUSCITATIVE AND INTUBATION EQUIPMENT, OXYGEN, AND AN OPIOID ANTAGONIST MUST BE READILY AVAILABLE.
Respiratory depression in spontaneously breathing patients is generally managed by decreasing the rate of the infusion of ULTIVA (remifentanil) by 50% or by temporarily discontinuing the infusion.
Skeletal muscle rigidity can be caused by ULTIVA (remifentanil) and is related to the dose and speed of administration. ULTIVA (remifentanil) may cause chest wall rigidity (inability to ventilate) after single doses of > 1 mcg/kg administered over 30 to 60 seconds, or after infusion rates > 0.1 mcg/kg/min. Single doses < 1 mcg/kg may cause chest wall rigidity when given concurrently with a continuous infusion of ULTIVA (remifentanil) .
Muscle rigidity induced by ULTIVA (remifentanil) should be managed in the context of the patient's clinical condition. Muscle rigidity occurring during the induction of anesthesia should be treated by the administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent and the concurrent induction medications.
Muscle rigidity seen during the use of ULTIVA (remifentanil) in spontaneously breathing patients may be treated by stopping or decreasing the rate of administration of ULTIVA (remifentanil) . Resolution of muscle rigidity after discontinuing the infusion of ULTIVA (remifentanil) occurs within minutes. In the case of life-threatening muscle rigidity, a rapid onset neuromuscular blocker or naloxone may be administered.
ULTIVA (remifentanil) should not be administered into the same IV tubing with blood due to potential inactivation by nonspecific esterases in blood products.
Hypotension has been reported with ULTIVA (remifentanil) and is responsive to decreases in the administration of ULTIVA (remifentanil) or to IV fluids or catecholamine (ephedrine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, etc.) administration.
Intraoperative awareness has been reported in patients under 55 years of age when ULTIVA (remifentanil) has been administered with propofol infusion rates of 75 mcg/kg/min.
Rapid Offset of Action: WITHIN 5 TO 10 MINUTES AFTER THE DISCONTINUATION OF ULTIVA (remifentanil) , NO RESIDUAL ANALGESIC ACTIVITY WILL BE PRESENT. However, respiratory depression may occur in some patients up to 30 minutes after termination of infusion due to residual effects of concomitant anesthetics. Standard monitoring should be maintained in the postoperative period to ensure adequate recovery without stimulation. For patients undergoing surgical procedures where postoperative pain is generally anticipated, other analgesics should be administered prior to the discontinuation of ULTIVA (remifentanil) .
ULTIVA (remifentanil) should not be used as a sole agent for induction of anesthesia because loss of consciousness cannot be assured and because of a high incidence of apnea, muscle rigidity, and tachycardia.
Pediatric Use: The efficacy and safety of ULTIVA (remifentanil) as an analgesic agent for use in the maintenance of general anesthesia in outpatient and inpatient pediatric surgery have been established in controlled clinical trials in pediatric patients from birth to 12 years (see Clinical Trials).
The initial maintenance infusion regimen of Ultiva (remifentanil) evaluated in pediatric patients from birth to 2 months of age was 0.4 mcg/kg/min, the approved adult regimen for use with N2O. The clearance rate observed in neonates was highly variable and on average was two times higher than in the young healthy adult population. Therefore, while a starting infusion rate of 0.4 mcg/kg/min may be appropriate for some neonates, an increased infusion rate may be necessary to maintain adequate surgical anesthesia, and additional bolus doses may be required. The individual dose for each patient should be carefully titrated. (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY : Special Populations: Pediatric Patients, and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Table 11 and During Maintenance of Anesthesia).
ULTIVA (remifentanil) has not been studied in pediatric patients for use as a postoperative analgesic or as an analgesic component of monitored anesthesia care.
Geriatric Use: Of the total number of subjects in clinical studies of ULTIVA (remifentanil) , 486 were 65 and over (age range 66 to 90 years). While the effective biological half-life of remifentanil is unchanged, elderly patients have been shown to be twice as sensitive as the younger population to the pharmacodynamic effects of remifentanil. The recommended starting dose of ULTIVA (remifentanil) should be decreased by 50% in patients over 65 years of age (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Use in Morbidly Obese Patients: As for all potent opioids, caution is required with use in morbidly obese patients because of alterations in cardiovascular and respiratory physiology (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Long-term Use in the ICU: No data are available on the long-term (longer than 16 hours) use of ULTIVA (remifentanil) as an analgesic in ICU patients.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility: Animal carcinogenicity studies have not been performed with remifentanil.
Remifentanil did not induce gene mutation in prokaryotic cells in vitro and was not genotoxic in the in vivo rat hepatocyte unscheduled DNA synthesis assay. No clastogenic effect was seen in cultured Chinese hamster ovary cells or in the in vivo mouse micronucleus test. In the in vitro mouse lymphoma assay, mutagenicity was seen only with metabolic activation.
Remifentanil has been shown to reduce fertility in male rats when tested after 70+ days of daily IV administration of 0.5 mg/kg, or approximately 40 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) in terms of mg/m2 of body surface area. The fertility of female rats was not affected at IV doses as high as 1 mg/kg when administered for at least 15 days before mating.
Pregnancy Category C: Teratogenic effects were not observed following administration of remifentanil at doses up to 5 mg/kg in rats and 0.8 mg/kg in rabbits. These doses are approximately 400 times and 125 times the MRHD, respectively, in terms of mg/m2 of body surface area. Administration of radiolabeled remifentanil to pregnant rabbits and rats demonstrated significant placental transfer to fetal tissue. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. ULTIVA (remifentanil) should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Administration of remifentanil to rats throughout late gestation and lactation at IV doses up to 5 mg/kg, or approximately 400 times the MRHD in terms of mg/m2 of body surface area, had no significant effect on the survival, development, or reproductive performance of the F1 generation.
Animal Toxicology: Intrathecal administration of the glycine formulation without remifentanil to dogs caused agitation, pain, hind limb dysfunction, and incoordination. These effects are believed to be caused by the glycine. Glycine is a commonly used excipient in IV products and this finding has no relevance for IV administration of ULTIVA (remifentanil) .
Labor and Delivery: Respiratory depression and other opioid effects may occur in newborns whose mothers are given ULTIVA (remifentanil) shortly before delivery. The safety of ULTIVA (remifentanil) during labor or delivery has not been demonstrated. Placental transfer studies in rats and rabbits showed that pups are exposed to remifentanil and its metabolites. In a human clinical trial, the average maternal remifentanil concentrations were approximately twice those seen in the fetus. In some cases, however, fetal concentrations were similar to those in the mother. The umbilical arteriovenous ratio of remifentanil concentrations was approximately 30% suggesting metabolism of remifentanil in the neonate.
Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether remifentanil is excreted in human milk. After receiving radioactive-labeled remifentanil, the radioactivity was present in the milk of lactating rats. Because fentanyl analogs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when ULTIVA (remifentanil) is administered to a nursing woman.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 5/23/2008
Additional Ultiva 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.
Chronic Pain/Back Pain
Find tips and advances in treatment.