8 USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Prolonged use of opioid analgesics during pregnancy may cause neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. Available data with Sufentanil Citrate Injection in pregnant women are insufficient to inform a drug-associated risk for major birth defects and miscarriage.
In animal reproduction studies, embryolethality and maternal toxicity were noted in rabbits when sufentanil was administered intravenously at 0.9 times the human procedural dose of 30 mcg/kg during organogenesis. Decreased live fetuses and pup survival were noted in rats treated with sufentanil late in gestation and throughout lactation at doses below the human procedural dose. No malformations were observed in either rats or rabbits at doses below the human procedural dose [see Data]. The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 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. Sufentanil Citrate 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 Sufentanil Citrate 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.
The use of epidurally administered sufentanil in combination with bupivacaine 0.125% with or without epinephrine is indicated for labor and delivery. Sufentanil is not recommended for intravenous use or for use of larger epidural doses during labor and delivery because of potential risks to the newborn infant after delivery. In clinical trials, one case of severe fetal bradycardia associated with maternal hypotension was reported within 8 minutes of maternal administration of sufentanil 15 mcg plus bupivacaine 0.125% (10 mL total volume).
Pregnant rats were treated with intravenous sufentanil doses of 0.005, 0.02, or 0.08 mg/kg/day (0.03, 0.1, or 0.4 times the human total procedural dose of 30 mcg/kg based on body surface area, respectively). No malformations or embryotoxic effects were noted despite maternal toxicity (increased mortality in the mid- and high-dose group).
Pregnant rabbits were treated with intravenous sufentanil doses of 0.005, 0.02, or 0.08 mg/kg/day (0.05, 0.2, or 0.9 times the human total procedural dose of 30 mcg/kg based on body surface area, respectively). Decreased live fetuses per litter and decreased litter size in the high dose group were noted in the presence of maternal toxicity (decreased body weight gain and mortality in the high-dose group).
No evidence of malformations or adverse effects on the fetus was reported in a published study in which pregnant rats were administered 10, 50, or 100 mcg/kg/day sufentanil (0.05, 0.27, or 0.54 times the human procedural dose of 30 mcg/kg/day based on body surface area) continuously from Gestation Day 5 through Gestation Day 20 via subcutaneously implanted osmotic minipumps.
Pregnant rats were treated intravenously with sufentanil 0.005, 0.02, or 0.08 mg/kg/day (0.03, 0.1, or 0.4 times the human total procedural dose of 30 mcg/day based on body surface area, respectively) from Gestation Day 16 through Lactation Day 21. Sufentanil reduced birth weights in the mid- and high-dose groups, decreased live fetuses in the high-dose group, and decreased pup survival in all groups in the presence of maternal toxicity (decreased weight gain and increased mortality in all groups).
The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for Sufentanil Citrate Injection and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from Sufentanil Citrate Injection or from the underlying maternal condition.
Infants exposed to Sufentanil Citrate Injection through breast milk should be monitored for excess sedation and respiratory depression. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in breastfed infants when maternal administration of an opioid analgesic is stopped, or when breastfeeding is stopped.
8.3 Females and Males of Reproductive Potential
Chronic use of opioids may cause reduced fertility in females and males of reproductive potential. It is not known whether these effects on fertility are reversible [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].
8.4 Pediatric Use
The safety and efficacy of intravenous sufentanil in pediatric patients as young as 1 day old undergoing cardiovascular surgery have been documented in a limited number of cases. The clearance of sufentanil in healthy neonates is approximately one-half that in adults and children. The clearance rate of sufentanil can be further reduced by up to a third in neonates with cardiovascular disease, resulting in an increase in the elimination half-life of the drug.
8.5 Geriatric Use
Elderly patients (aged 65 years or older) may have increased sensitivity to sufentanil. 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 Sufentanil Citrate Injection slowly in geriatric patients and monitor closely for signs of central nervous system and respiratory depression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].
8.6 Hepatic Impairment
Sufentanil Citrate Injection should be administered with caution to patients with liver dysfunction because of the extensive hepatic metabolism. Reduce the dosage as needed and monitor closely for signs of respiratory depression, sedation, and hypotension.