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Methotrexate Vial Overdosage



Overdosage, including fatal overdosage, has occurred with methotrexate [see Warnings and Precautions (5.19)].

Manifestations of overdosage include adverse reactions reported at pharmacologic doses, particularly hematologic and gastrointestinal reactions (e.g., leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia, pancytopenia, myelosuppression, mucositis, stomatitis, oral ulceration, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal ulceration, or gastrointestinal bleeding). In some cases, no symptoms were reported; however, sepsis or septic shock, renal failure, and aplastic anemia were also reported.

Manifestations of intrathecal overdosage include CNS symptoms (e.g., headache, nausea and vomiting, seizure or convulsion, and acute toxic encephalopathy). In some cases, no symptoms were reported; however, cerebellar herniation associated with increased intracranial pressure and acute toxic encephalopathy have also been reported.


Leucovorin and levoleucovorin are indicated to diminish the toxicity and counteract the effect of inadvertently administered overdosages of methotrexate. Administer leucovorin or levoleucovorin as soon as possible after overdosage (refer to the leucovorin or levoleucovorin prescribing information). Monitor serum methotrexate concentrations closely to guide leucovorin or levoleucovorin therapy. Monitor serum creatinine concentrations closely because high serum methotrexate concentrations may cause renal damage leading to acute renal failure.

Glucarpidase is indicated for the treatment of toxic methotrexate concentrations in patients with delayed methotrexate clearance due to impaired renal function (refer to the glucarpidase prescribing information). If glucarpidase is used, do not administer leucovorin within 2 hours before or after a dose of glucarpidase because leucovorin is a substrate for glucarpidase.

Hydration and urinary alkalinization may be necessary to prevent the precipitation of methotrexate and/or its metabolites in the renal tubules. Neither hemodialysis nor peritoneal dialysis has been shown to improve methotrexate elimination. However, effective clearance of methotrexate has been reported with acute, intermittent hemodialysis using a high-flux dialyzer.

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