(barium sulfate) Oral Suspension
VARIBAR HONEY (barium sulfate) is a radiographic contrast agent that is supplied as an off-white to lightly colored suspension (40% w/v) with an apple aroma for oral administration. The active ingredient barium sulfate is designated chemically as BaSO4 with a molecular weight of 233.4 g/mol, a density of 4.5 g/cm3, and the following chemical structure:
VARIBAR HONEY has a viscosity of 3000 cPs and contains the following excipients: carboxymethylcellulose sodium, citric acid, glycerin, natural and artificial apple flavor, polysorbate 80, potassium sorbate, purified water, saccharin sodium, simethicone emulsion, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, starch modified (from corn), xanthan gum, and xylitol.
The following adverse reactions have been identified from spontaneous reporting or clinical studies of barium sulfate administered orally. Because the reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or to establish a causal relationship to drug exposure:
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping
- Serious adverse reactions and fatalities include aspiration pneumonitis, barium sulfate impaction, intestinal perforation with consequent peritonitis and granuloma formation, vasovagal and syncopal episodes
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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.
Barium sulfate preparations contain a number of excipients, including natural and artificial flavors and may induce serious hypersensitivity reactions. The manifestations include hypotension, bronchospasm and other respiratory impairments, and dermal reactions including rashes, urticaria and itching. A history of bronchial asthma, atopy, food allergies, or a previous reaction to a contrast agent may increase the risk for hypersensitivity reactions. Emergency equipment and trained personnel should be immediately available for treatment of a hypersensitivity reaction.
Intra-Abdominal Barium Leakage
The use of VARIBAR HONEY is contraindicated in patients at high risk of perforation of the GI tract [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Administration of VARIBAR HONEY may result in leakage of barium from the GI tract in the presence of conditions such as carcinomas, GI fistula, inflammatory bowel disease, gastric or duodenal ulcer, appendicitis, or diverticulitis, and in patients with a severe stenosis at any level of the GI tract, especially if it is distal to the stomach. The barium leakage has been associated with peritonitis and granuloma formation.
Delayed Gastrointestinal Transit And Obstruction
Orally administered barium sulfate may accumulate proximal to a constricting lesion of the colon, causing obstruction or impaction with development of baroliths (inspissated barium associated with feces) and may lead to abdominal pain, appendicitis, bowel obstruction, or rarely perforation. Patients with the following conditions are at higher risk for developing obstruction or baroliths: severe stenosis at any level of the GI tract, impaired GI motility, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, on a low residue diet, taking medications that delay GI motility, constipation, pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis or Hirschsprung disease, and the elderly [see Use In Specific Populations]. To reduce the risk of delayed GI transit and obstruction, patients should maintain adequate hydration after the barium sulfate procedure.
The use of VARIBAR HONEY is contraindicated in patients with trachea-esophageal fistula [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Oral administration of barium is associated with aspiration pneumonitis, especially in patients with a history of food aspiration or with compromised swallowing mechanism. Vomiting following oral administration of barium sulfate may lead to aspiration pneumonitis.
In patients at risk for aspiration, begin the procedure with a small ingested volume of VARIBAR HONEY. Monitor the patient closely for aspiration, discontinue administration of VARIBAR HONEY if aspiration is suspected, and monitor for development of aspiration pneumonitis.
Barium sulfate products may occasionally intravasate into the venous drainage of the GI tract and enter the circulation as a “barium embolus” leading to potentially fatal complications which include systemic and pulmonary embolism, disseminated intravascular coagulation, septicemia and prolonged severe hypotension. Although this complication is exceedingly uncommon after oral administration of a barium sulfate suspension, monitor patients for potential intravasation when administering barium sulfate.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
No animal studies have been performed to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of barium sulfate or potential effects on fertility.
Use In Specific Populations
VARIBAR HONEY is not absorbed systemically following oral administration, and maternal use is not expected to result in fetal exposure to the drug.
VARIBAR HONEY is not absorbed systemically by the mother following oral administration, and breastfeeding is not expected to result in exposure of the infant to the drug.
The efficacy of VARIBAR HONEY in pediatric patients above 6 months of age is based on successful opacification of the pharynx during modified barium swallow examinations [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Safety and dosing recommendations in pediatric patients above 6 months of age are based on clinical experience.
VARIBAR HONEY is contraindicated in pediatric patients with trachea-esophageal fistula [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Pediatric patients with a history of asthma or food allergies may be at increased risk for development of hypersensitivity reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Monitor patients with cystic fibrosis or Hirschsprung disease for bowel obstruction after use [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Clinical studies of VARIBAR HONEY did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
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VARIBAR HONEY is contraindicated in patients with:
- known or suspected perforation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
- known obstruction of the GI tract
- high risk of GI perforation such as those with a recent GI perforation, acute GI hemorrhage or ischemia, toxic megacolon, severe ileus, post GI surgery or biopsy, acute GI injury or burn, or recent radiotherapy to the pelvis
- high risk of aspiration such as those with known or suspected tracheo-esophageal fistula or obtundation
- known severe hypersensitivity to barium sulfate or any of the excipients of VARIBAR HONEY
Mechanism Of Action
Due to its high atomic number, barium (the active ingredient in VARIBAR HONEY) is opaque to x-rays and therefore acts as a positive contrast agent for radiographic studies.
Barium sulfate is biologically inert and has no known pharmacological effects.
Under physiological conditions, barium sulfate passes through the gastrointestinal tract in an unchanged form and is absorbed only in small, pharmacologically insignificant amounts.
After administration, advise patients to:
- Maintain adequate hydration [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Seek medical attention for worsening of constipation or slow gastrointestinal passage [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
- Seek medical attention for any delayed onset of hypersensitivity: rash, urticaria, or respiratory difficulty [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
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.