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norepinephrine bitartrate injection, solution, concentrate
----------Levophed (Norepinephrine Bitartrate) 4 mg Injection, USP 4 mL Ampule
Norepinephrine (sometimes referred to as l-arterenol/Levarterenol or l-norepinephrine) is a sympathomimetic amine which differs from epinephrine by the absence of a methyl group on the nitrogen atom. Norepinephrine Bitartrate is (-)-a-(aminomethyl)-3,4-dihydroxybenzyl alcohol tartrate (1:1) (salt) monohydrate and has the following structural formula:
LEVOPHED is supplied in sterile aqueous solution in the form of the bitartrate salt to be administered by intravenous infusion following dilution. Norepinephrine is sparingly soluble in water, very slightly soluble in alcohol and ether, and readily soluble in acids. Each mL contains the equivalent of 1 mg base of norepinephrine, sodium chloride for isotonicity, and not more than 2 mg of
LEVOPHED functions as a peripheral vasoconstrictor (alpha-adrenergic action) and as an inotropic stimulator of the heart and dilator of coronary arteries (beta-adrenergic action).
Indications and Usage
For blood pressure control in certain acute hypotensive states (e.g., pheochromocytomectomy, sympathectomy, poliomyelitis, spinal
LEVOPHED should not be given to patients who are hypotensive from blood volume deficits except as an emergency measure to maintain coronary and cerebral artery perfusion until blood volume replacement therapy can be completed. If LEVOPHED is continuously administered to maintain blood pressure in the absence of blood volume replacement, the following may occur: severe peripheral and visceral vasoconstriction, decreased renal perfusion and urine output, poor systemic blood flow despite “normal” blood pressure, tissue hypoxia, and lactate acidosis.
Site of Infusion: Whenever possible, infusions of LEVOPHED should be given into a large vein, particularly an antecubital vein because, when administered into this vein, the risk of necrosis of the overlying skin from prolonged vasoconstriction is apparently very slight. Some authors have indicated that the femoral vein is also an acceptable route of administration. A catheter tie-in technique should be avoided, if possible, since the obstruction to blood flow around the tubing may cause stasis and increased local concentration of the drug. Occlusive vascular diseases (for example, atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, diabetic endarteritis, Buerger’s disease) are more likely to occur in the lower than in the upper extremity. Therefore, one should avoid the veins of the leg in elderly patients or in those suffering from such disorders. Gangrene has been reported in a lower extremity when infusions of LEVOPHED were given in an ankle vein.
Extravasation:The infusion site should be checked frequently for free flow. Care should be taken to avoid extravasation of LEVOPHED into the tissues, as local necrosis might ensue due to the vasoconstrictive action of the drug. Blanching along the course of the infused vein, sometimes without obvious extravasation, has been attributed to vasa vasorum constriction with increased permeability of the vein wall, permitting some leakage. This also may progress on rare occasions to superficial slough, particularly during infusion into leg veins in elderly patients or in those suffering from obliterative vascular disease. Hence, if blanching occurs, consideration should be given to the advisability of changing the infusion site at intervals to allow the effects of local vasoconstriction to subside.
Cyclopropane and halothane anesthetics increase cardiac autonomic irritability and therefore seem to sensitize the myocardium to the action of intravenously administered epinephrine or norepinephrine. Hence, the use of LEVOPHED during cyclopropane and halothane anesthesia is generally considered contraindicated because of the risk of producing ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation. The same type of cardiac arrhythmias may result from the use of LEVOPHED in patients with profound hypoxia or hypercarbia. LEVOPHED should be used with extreme caution in patients receiving monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) or antidepressants of the triptyline or imipramine types, because severe, prolonged hypertension may result.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility:
Studies have not been performed.
Pregnancy Category C:
Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with LEVOPHED. It is also not known whether LEVOPHED can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. LEVOPHED should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when LEVOPHED is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients has not been established.
Clinical studies of LEVOPHED 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. LEVOPHED infusions should not be administered into the veins in the leg in elderly patients (see PRECAUTIONS, General).
The following reactions can occur:
Body As A Whole: Ischemic injury due to potent vasoconstrictor action and tissue hypoxia.
Cardiovascular System: Bradycardia, probably as a reflex result of a rise in blood pressure, arrhythmias.
Nervous System: Anxiety, transient headache.
Respiratory System: Respiratory difficulty.
Skin and Appendages: Extravasation necrosis at injection site.
Prolonged administration of any potent vasopressor may result in plasma volume depletion which should be continuously corrected by appropriate fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy. If plasma volumes are not corrected, hypotension may recur when LEVOPHED is discontinued, or blood pressure may be maintained at the risk of severe peripheral and visceral vasoconstriction (e.g., decreasedrenal perfusion) with diminution in blood flow and tissue perfusion with subsequent tissue hypoxia and lactic acidosis and possible ischemic injury. Gangrene of extremities has been rarely reported. Overdoses or conventional doses in hypersensitive persons (e.g., hyperthyroid patients) cause severe hypertension with violent headache, photophobia, stabbing retrosternal pain, pallor, intense sweating, and vomiting.
Overdosage with LEVOPHED may result in headache, severe hypertension, reflex bradycardia, marked increase in peripheral resistance, and decreased cardiac output. In case of accidental overdosage, as evidenced by excessive blood pressure elevation, discontinue LEVOPHED until the condition of the patient stabilizes.
Dosage and Administration
Norepinephrine Bitartrate Injection is a concentrated, potent drug which must be diluted in dextrose containing solutions prior to infusion. An infusion of LEVOPHED should be given into a large vein (see PRECAUTIONS).
LEVOPHED, norepinephrine bitartrate injection, USP, contains the equivalent of 4 mg base of LEVOPHED per each 4 mL ampul (1 mg/mL).
Revised: 08/2010 General Injectables & Vaccines, Inc
Reproduced with permission of U.S. National Library of Medicine
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