5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
5.1 Risk of Cardiac Arrest with Use of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection in Obstetrical Anesthesia
There have been reports of cardiac arrest with difficult resuscitation or death during use of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection for epidural anesthesia in obstetrical patients. In most cases, this has followed use of the 0.75% (7.5 mg/mL) concentration. Resuscitation has been difficult or impossible despite apparently adequate preparation and appropriate management. Cardiac arrest has occurred after convulsions resulting from systemic toxicity, presumably following unintentional intravascular injection. The 0.75% (7.5 mg/mL) concentration of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection is not recommended for obstetrical anesthesia and should be reserved for surgical procedures where a high degree of muscle relaxation and prolonged effect are necessary.
5.2 Dose-Related Toxicity
The safety and effectiveness of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection depend on proper dosage, correct technique, adequate precautions, and readiness for emergencies. Careful and constant monitoring of cardiovascular and respiratory (adequacy of ventilation) vital signs and the patient's state of consciousness should be performed after injection of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection solutions.
Possible early warning signs of central nervous system (CNS) toxicity are restlessness, anxiety, incoherent speech, lightheadedness, numbness and tingling of the mouth and lips, metallic taste, tinnitus, dizziness, blurred vision, tremors, twitching, CNS depression, or drowsiness. Delay in proper management of dose-related toxicity, underventilation from any cause, and/or altered sensitivity may lead to the development of acidosis, cardiac arrest, and, possibly, death.
During major regional nerve blocks, such as those of the brachial plexus or lower extremity, the patient should have an indwelling intravenous catheter to assure adequate intravenous access. Use the lowest dosage of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection that results in effective anesthesia to avoid high plasma levels and serious adverse effects. Avoid rapid injection of a large volume of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection solution and administer fractional (incremental) doses when feasible.
Injection of repeated doses of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection may cause significant increases in plasma levels with each repeated dose due to slow accumulation of the drug or its metabolites, or to slow metabolic degradation. Tolerance to elevated blood levels varies with the status of the patient. Debilitated, elderly patients and acutely ill patients should be given reduced doses commensurate with their age and physical status.
Cases of methemoglobinemia have been reported in association with local anesthetic use. Although all patients are at risk for methemoglobinemia, patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, congenital or idiopathic methemoglobinemia, cardiac or pulmonary compromise, infants under 6 months of age, and concurrent exposure to oxidizing agents or their metabolites are more susceptible to developing clinical manifestations of the condition [see Drug Interactions (7.5)]. If local anesthetics must be used in these patients, close monitoring for symptoms and signs of methemoglobinemia is recommended.
Signs of methemoglobinemia may occur immediately or may be delayed some hours after exposure, and are characterized by a cyanotic skin discoloration and/or abnormal coloration of the blood. Methemoglobin levels may continue to rise; therefore, immediate treatment is required to avert more serious CNS and cardiovascular adverse effects, including seizures, coma, arrhythmias, and death. Discontinue Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection and any other oxidizing agents. Depending on the severity of the signs and symptoms, patients may respond to supportive care, i.e., oxygen therapy, hydration. A more severe clinical presentation may require treatment with methylene blue, exchange transfusion, or hyperbaric oxygen.
5.4 Antimicrobial Preservatives in Multiple-Dose Vials
Avoid use of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection solutions containing antimicrobial preservatives, i.e., those supplied in multiple-dose vials, for epidural or caudal anesthesia because safety has not been established with such use.
5.5 Chondrolysis with Intra-Articular Infusion
Intra-articular infusions of local anesthetics including Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection following arthroscopic and other surgical procedures is an unapproved use, and there have been post-marketing reports of chondrolysis in patients receiving such infusions. The majority of reported cases of chondrolysis have involved the shoulder joint; cases of gleno-humeral chondrolysis have been described in pediatric and adult patients following intra-articular infusions of local anesthetics with and without epinephrine for periods of 48 to 72 hours. There is insufficient information to determine whether shorter infusion periods are associated with chondrolysis. The time of onset of symptoms, such as joint pain, stiffness and loss of motion can be variable, but may begin as early as the 2nd month after surgery. Currently, there is no effective treatment for chondrolysis; patients who experienced chondrolysis have required additional diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and some required arthroplasty or shoulder replacement.
5.6 Risk of Adverse Reactions Due to Drug Interactions with Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection
Risk of Severe, Persistent Hypertension Due to Drug Interactions Between Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors and Tricyclic Antidepressants
Administration of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection (containing a vasoconstrictor) in patients receiving monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) or tricyclic antidepressants may result in severe, prolonged hypertension. Concurrent use of these agents should generally be avoided. In situations when concurrent therapy is necessary, careful monitoring of the patient's hemodynamic status is essential [see Drug Interactions (7.2)].
Risk of Severe, Persistent Hypertension or Cerebrovascular Accidents Due to Drug Interactions Between Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection and Ergot-Type Oxytocic Drugs
Concurrent administration of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection and ergot-type oxytocic drugs may cause severe, persistent hypertension or cerebrovascular accidents. Avoid use of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection concomitantly with ergot-type oxytocic drugs [see Drug Interactions (7.3)].
Risk of Hypertension and Bradycardia Due to Drug Interactions Between Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection and Nonselective Beta-Adrenergic Antagonists
Administration of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection (containing a vasoconstrictor) in patients receiving nonselective beta-adrenergic antagonists may cause severe hypertension and bradycardia. Concurrent use of these agents should generally be avoided. In situations when concurrent therapy is necessary, careful monitoring of the patient's blood pressure and heart rate is essential [see Drug Interactions (7.4)].
5.7 Risk of Cardiac Arrest with Intravenous Regional Anesthesia Use (Bier Block)
There have been reports of cardiac arrest and death during the use of bupivacaine for intravenous regional anesthesia (Bier Block). Information on safe dosages and techniques of administration of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection in this procedure is lacking. Therefore, Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection is contraindicated for use with this technique [see Contraindications (4)].
5.8 Allergic-Type Reactions to Sulfites in Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection
Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection contains sodium metabisulfite, a sulfite that may cause allergic-type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes in certain susceptible people. The overall prevalence of sulfite sensitivity in the general population is unknown and probably low. Sulfite sensitivity is seen more frequently in asthmatic than in nonasthmatic people. Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection without epinephrine does not contain sodium metabisulfite.
5.9 Risk of Systemic Toxicities with Unintended Intravascular or Intrathecal Injection
Unintended intravascular or intrathecal injection of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection may be associated with systemic toxicities, including CNS or cardiorespiratory depression and coma, progressing ultimately to respiratory arrest. Unintentional intrathecal injection during the intended performance of caudal or lumbar epidural block or nerve blocks near the vertebral column has resulted in underventilation or apnea ("Total or High Spinal"). A high spinal has been characterized by paralysis of the legs, loss of consciousness, respiratory paralysis, and bradycardia [see Adverse Reactions (6)].
Aspirate for blood or cerebrospinal fluid (where applicable) before injecting Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection, both the initial dose and all subsequent doses, to avoid intravascular or intrathecal injection. However, a negative aspiration for blood or cerebrospinal fluid does not ensure against an intravascular or intrathecal injection.
Use of Test Dose with Epidural Anesthesia
To serve as a warning of unintended intravascular or intrathecal injection, 3 mL of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection without antimicrobial preservative (0.5% bupivacaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine) may be used as a test dose prior to administration of the full dose in caudal and lumbar epidural blocks [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)]. Three mL of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection without antimicrobial preservative (0.5% bupivacaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine) contains 15 mg bupivacaine and 15 mcg epinephrine. An intravascular or intrathecal injection is still possible even if results of the test dose are negative.
Signs/symptoms of unintended intravascular or intrathecal injection of the test dose of Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection and monitoring recommendations are described below.
- Unintended intravascular injection: Likely to produce a transient "epinephrine response" within 45 seconds, consisting of an increase in heart rate and/or systolic blood pressure, circumoral pallor, palpitations, and nervousness in the unsedated patient. The sedated patient may exhibit only a pulse rate increase of 20 or more beats per minute for 15 or more seconds. Therefore, following the test dose, the heart rate should be monitored for increases. Patients on beta-blockers may not manifest changes in heart rate, but blood pressure monitoring can detect a transient rise in systolic blood pressure.
- Unintended intrathecal injection: Evidenced within a few minutes by signs of spinal block (e.g., decreased sensation of the buttocks, paresis of the legs, or, in the sedated patient, absent knee jerk).
The test dose itself may produce a systemic toxic reaction, high spinal or epinephrine-induced cardiovascular effects [see Overdosage (10)].
5.10 Risk of Toxicity in Patients with Hepatic Impairment
Because amide local anesthetics such as bupivacaine are metabolized by the liver, consider reduced dosing and increased monitoring for bupivacaine systemic toxicity in patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment who are treated with Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection, especially with repeat doses [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].
5.11 Risk of Use in Patients with Impaired Cardiovascular Function
Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection should be given in reduced doses in patients with impaired cardiovascular function (e.g., hypotension, heartblock) because they may be less able to compensate for functional changes associated with the prolongation of AV conduction produced by Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection. Monitor patients closely for blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG changes.
5.12 Risk of Ischemic Injury or Necrosis in Body Areas with Limited Blood Supply
Use Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection in carefully restricted quantities in areas of the body supplied by end arteries or having otherwise compromised blood supply such as digits, nose, external ear, or penis. Patients with hypertensive vascular disease may exhibit exaggerated vasoconstrictor response. Ischemic injury or necrosis may result.
5.13 Risk of Cardiac Arrhythmias with Concomitant Use of Potent Inhalation Anesthetics
Serious dose-related cardiac arrhythmias may occur if preparations containing a vasoconstrictor such as epinephrine (e.g., Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection) are used in patients during or following the administration of potent inhalation anesthetics [see Drug Interactions (7.6)]. In deciding whether to concurrently use Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection with potent inhalation anesthetics in the same patient, the combined action of both agents upon the myocardium, the concentration and volume of vasoconstrictor used, and the time since injection, when applicable, should be taken into account.
5.14 Risk of Adverse Reactions with Use in Head and Neck Area
Small doses of local anesthetics (e.g., Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection) injected into the head and neck area, including retrobulbar, dental, and stellate ganglion blocks, may produce adverse reactions similar to systemic toxicity seen with unintentional intravascular injections of larger doses. The injection procedures require the utmost care. Confusion, convulsions, respiratory depression, and/or respiratory arrest, and cardiovascular stimulation or depression have been reported. These reactions may be due to intra-arterial injection of the local anesthetic with retrograde flow to the cerebral circulation. They may also be due to puncture of the dural sheath of the optic nerve during retrobulbar block with diffusion of any local anesthetic along the subdural space to the midbrain. Monitor circulation and respiration and constantly observe patients receiving Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection blocks. Resuscitative equipment and drugs, and personnel for treating adverse reactions should be immediately available. Dosage recommendations should not be exceeded [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].
5.15 Risk of Respiratory Arrest with Use in Ophthalmic Surgery
Clinicians who perform retrobulbar blocks should be aware that there have been reports of respiratory arrest following local anesthetic injection. Prior to retrobulbar block (e.g., with Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection/Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection), as with all other regional procedures, resuscitative equipment and drugs, and personnel to manage respiratory arrest or depression, convulsions, and cardiac stimulation or depression should be immediately available [see Warnings and Precautions (5.14)]. As with other anesthetic procedures, patients should be constantly monitored following ophthalmic blocks for signs of these adverse reactions, which may occur following relatively low total doses.
A concentration of 0.75% bupivacaine is indicated for retrobulbar block; however, this concentration is not indicated for any other peripheral nerve block, including the facial nerve, and not indicated for local infiltration, including the conjunctiva [see Indications and Usage (1)].
5.16 Risk of Inadvertent Trauma to Tongue, Lips, and Buccal Mucosa in Dental Applications
Because of the long duration of anesthesia, when Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection [0.5% (5 mg/mL) of bupivacaine] is used for dental injections, warn patients about the possibility of inadvertent trauma to tongue, lips, and buccal mucosa and advise them not to chew solid foods until sensation returns [see Patient Counseling Information (17)].