"Nov. 2, 2012 -- Safety steps taken in the wake of the fungal meningitis outbreak have worsened drug shortages, raising questions about whether the U.S. must choose between the safety and the availability of crucial medicines.
ULTRACET® is a combination product. The clinical presentation of overdose may include the signs and symptoms of tramadol toxicity, acetaminophen toxicity or both. The initial symptoms of tramadol overdosage may include respiratory depression and/or seizures. The initial symptoms seen within the first 24 hours following an acetaminophen overdose are: anorexia, nausea, vomiting, malaise, pallor and diaphoresis. An overdosage of ULTRACET® may be a potentially lethal polydrug overdose, and consultation with a regional poison control center is recommended.
Acute overdosage with tramadol can be manifested by respiratory depression, somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, seizures, bradycardia, hypotension, cardiac arrest, and death.
Deaths due to overdose have been reported with abuse and misuse of tramadol (see WARNINGS, Misuse, Abuse, and Diversion). Review of case reports has indicated that the risk of fatal overdose is further increased when tramadol is abused concurrently with alcohol or other CNS depressants, including other opioids.
In the treatment of tramadol overdosage, primary attention should be given to the re-establishment of a patent airway and institution of assisted or controlled ventilation. Supportive measures (including oxygen and vasopressors) should be employed in the management of circulatory shock and pulmonary edema accompanying overdose as indicated. Cardiac arrest or arrhythmias may require cardiac massage or defibrillation.
While naloxone will reverse some, but not all, symptoms caused by overdosage with tramadol, the risk of seizures is also increased with naloxone administration. In animals, convulsions following the administration of toxic doses of ULTRACET® could be suppressed with barbiturates or benzodiazepines but were increased with naloxone. Naloxone administration did not change the lethality of an overdose in mice. Hemodialysis is not expected to be helpful in an overdose because it removes less than 7% of the administered dose in a 4-hour dialysis period.
In acetaminophen overdosage, dose-dependent, potentially fatal hepatic necrosis is the most serious adverse effect. Renal tubular necrosis, hypoglycemic coma, and coagulation defects also may occur. Early symptoms following a potentially hepatotoxic overdose may include: nausea, vomiting, diaphoresis, and general malaise. Clinical and laboratory evidence of hepatic toxicity may not be apparent until 48 to 72 hours post-ingestion.
In the treatment of acetaminophen overdosage, gastric decontamination with activated charcoal should be administered just prior to N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to decrease systemic absorption if acetaminophen ingestion is known or suspected to have occurred within a few hours of presentation. Serum acetaminophen levels should be obtained immediately if the patient presents 4 or more hours after ingestion to assess potential risk of hepatotoxicity; acetaminophen levels drawn less than 4 hours post-ingestion may be misleading. To obtain the best possible outcome, NAC should be administered as soon as possible where impending or evolving liver injury is suspected. Intravenous NAC may be administered when circumstances preclude oral administration.
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.
ULTRACET® should not be administered to patients who have previously demonstrated hypersensitivity to tramadol, acetaminophen, any other component of this product, or opioids. ULTRACET® is contraindicated in any situation where opioids are contraindicated, including acute intoxication with any of the following: alcohol, hypnotics, narcotics, centrally acting analgesics, opioids, or psychotropic drugs. ULTRACET® may worsen central nervous system and respiratory depression in these patients.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/4/2013
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