8 USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Prolonged use of opioid analgesics during pregnancy may cause neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. Available data with DEMEROL Injection are insufficient to inform a drug-associated risk for major birth defects and miscarriage. Formal animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with meperidine. Neural tube defects (exencephaly and cranioschisis) have been reported in hamsters administered a single bolus dose of meperidine during a critical period of organogenesis at 0.85 and 1.5 times the total human daily dose of 1200 mg. [see Data]
Adverse outcomes in pregnancy can occur regardless of the health of the mother or the use of medications. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2–4% and 15–20%, respectively.
Fetal/Neonatal Adverse Reactions
Prolonged use of opioid analgesics during pregnancy for medical or nonmedical purposes can result in physical dependence in the neonate and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome shortly after birth.
Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome presents as irritability, hyperactivity and abnormal sleep pattern, high pitched cry, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea, and failure to gain weight. The onset, duration, and severity of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome vary based on the specific opioid used, duration of use, timing and amount of last maternal use, and rate of elimination of the drug by the newborn. Observe newborns for symptoms of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and manage accordingly [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].
Labor or Delivery
Opioids cross the placenta and may produce respiratory depression and psycho-physiologic effects in neonates. An opioid antagonist, such as naloxone, must be available for reversal of opioid-induced respiratory depression in the neonate. DEMEROL Injection is not recommended for use in pregnant women during or immediately prior to labor, when other analgesic techniques are more appropriate. Opioid analgesics, including DEMEROL Injection, can prolong labor through actions which temporarily reduce the strength, duration, and frequency of uterine contractions. However, this effect is not consistent and may be offset by an increased rate of cervical dilation, which tends to shorten labor. Monitor neonates exposed to opioid analgesics during labor for signs of excess sedation and respiratory depression.
Formal reproductive and developmental toxicology studies for meperidine have not been completed.
In a published study, neural tube defects (exencephaly and cranioschisis) were noted following subcutaneous administration of meperidine hydrochloride (127 and 218 mg/kg, respectively) on Gestation Day 8 to pregnant hamsters (0.85 and 1.5 times the total daily dose of 1200 mg/day based on body surface area). The findings cannot be clearly attributed to maternal toxicity.
Meperidine appears in the milk of nursing mothers receiving the drug. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for DEMEROL Injection and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from DEMEROL Injection or from the underlying maternal condition.
8.3 Females and Males of Reproductive Potential
8.4 Pediatric Use
The safety and efficacy of DEMEROL Injection in patients less than 18 years of age have not been established.
The safety and effectiveness of meperidine in pediatric patients has not been established. Literature reports indicate that meperidine has a slower elimination rate in neonates and young infants compared to older children and adults. Neonates and young infants may also be more susceptible to the effects, especially the respiratory depressant effects. If meperidine use is contemplated in neonates or young infants, any potential benefits of the drug need to be weighed against the relative risk of the patient.
8.5 Geriatric Use
Elderly patients (aged 65 years or older) may have increased sensitivity to meperidine. In general, use caution when selecting a dosage for an elderly patient, 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.
Respiratory depression is the chief risk for elderly patients treated with opioids, and has occurred after large initial doses were administered to patients who were not opioid-tolerant or when opioids were co-administered with other agents that depress respiration. Titrate the dosage of DEMEROL Injection slowly in geriatric patients and monitor closely for signs of central nervous system and respiratory depression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
Meperidine is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function.
8.6 Hepatic Impairment
Accumulation of meperidine and/or its active metabolite, normeperidine, can also occur in patients with hepatic impairment. Elevated serum levels have been reported to cause central nervous system excitatory effects. Meperidine should therefore be used with caution in patients with hepatic impairment. Titrate the dosage of DEMEROL Injection slowly in patients with hepatic impairment and monitor closely for signs of central nervous system and respiratory depression.
8.7 Renal Impairment
Accumulation of meperidine and/or its active metabolite, normeperidine, can occur in patients with renal impairment. Meperidine should therefore be used with caution in patients with renal impairment. Titrate the dosage of DEMEROL Injection slowly in patients with renal impairment and monitor closely for signs of central nervous system and respiratory depression.