heparin sodium in 5% dextrose injection 50 units/ml and 100 units/ml Warnings and Precautions

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5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Fatal Medication Errors

Do not use this product as a "catheter lock flush" product. Heparin is supplied in various strengths. Fatal hemorrhages have occurred due to medication errors. Carefully examine all heparin products to confirm the correct container choice prior to administration of the drug.

5.2 Hemorrhage

Hemorrhage, including fatal events, has occurred in patients receiving heparin sodium. Avoid using heparin in the presence of major bleeding, except when the benefits of heparin therapy outweigh the potential risks.

Hemorrhage can occur at virtually any site in patients receiving heparin. Adrenal hemorrhage (with resultant acute adrenal insufficiency), ovarian hemorrhage, and retroperitoneal hemorrhage have occurred during anticoagulant therapy with heparin [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)]. A higher incidence of bleeding has been reported in patients, particularly women, over 60 years of age [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. An unexplained fall in hematocrit or fall in blood pressure should lead to serious consideration of a hemorrhagic event.

Use heparin sodium with caution in disease states in which there is increased risk of hemorrhage, including:

Cardiovascular — Subacute bacterial endocarditis. Severe hypertension.
Surgical — During and immediately following (a) spinal tap or spinal anesthesia or (b) major surgery, especially involving the brain, spinal cord or eye.
Hematologic — Conditions associated with increased bleeding tendencies, such as hemophilia, thrombocytopenia and some vascular purpuras.
Patients with hereditary antithrombin III deficiency receiving concurrent antithrombin III therapy – The anticoagulant effect of heparin is enhanced by concurrent treatment with antithrombin III (human) in patients with hereditary antithrombin III deficiency. To reduce the risk of bleeding, reduce the heparin dose during concomitant treatment with antithrombin III (human).
Gastrointestinal — Ulcerative lesions and continuous tube drainage of the stomach or small intestine.
Other — Menstruation, liver disease with impaired hemostasis.

5.3 Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia (HIT) and Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia and Thrombosis (HITT)

HIT is a serious immune-mediated reaction resulting from irreversible aggregation of platelets. HIT occurs in patients treated with heparin and is due to the development of antibodies to a platelet Factor 4-heparin complex that induce in vivo platelet aggregation. HIT may progress to the development of venous and arterial thromboses, a condition known as HITT. Thrombotic events may also be the initial presentation for HIT. These serious thromboembolic events include deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, cerebral vein thrombosis, limb ischemia, stroke, myocardial infarction, thrombus formation on a prosthetic cardiac valve, mesenteric thrombosis, renal arterial thrombosis, skin necrosis, gangrene of the extremities that may lead to amputation, and possibly death.

Once HIT or HITT is diagnosed or strongly suspected, discontinue all heparin sources (including heparin flushes) and use an alternative anticoagulant.

Immune-mediated HIT is diagnosed based on clinical findings supplemented by laboratory tests confirming the presence of antibodies to heparin, or platelet activation induced by heparin. Obtain platelet counts at baseline and periodically during heparin administration. A drop in platelet count greater than 50% from baseline is considered indicative of HIT. Platelet counts begin to fall 5 to 10 days after exposure to heparin in heparin-naïve individuals and reach a threshold by days 7 to 14. In contrast, “rapid onset” HIT can occur very quickly (within 24 hours following heparin initiation), especially in patients with a recent exposure to heparin (i.e., previous 3 months).

Thrombosis development shortly after documenting thrombocytopenia is a characteristic finding in almost half of all patients with HIT.

Monitor thrombocytopenia of any degree closely. If the platelet count falls below 100,000/mm3 or if recurrent thrombosis develops, promptly discontinue heparin, evaluate for HIT and HITT, and, if necessary, administer an alternative anticoagulant.

HIT or HITT can occur up to several weeks after the discontinuation of heparin therapy. Patients presenting with thrombocytopenia or thrombosis after discontinuation of heparin should be evaluated for HIT or HITT.

5.4 Thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia has been reported to occur in patients receiving heparin with a reported incidence of up to 30%. It can occur 2 to 20 days (average 5 to 9) following the onset of heparin therapy. Obtain platelet counts before and periodically during heparin therapy. Monitor thrombocytopenia of any degree closely. If the count falls below 100,000/mm3 or if recurrent thrombosis develops, promptly discontinue heparin, evaluate for HIT, and, if necessary, administer an alternative anticoagulant [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

5.5 Coagulation Testing and Monitoring

When using a full dose heparin regimen, adjust the heparin dose based on frequent blood coagulation tests. If the coagulation test is unduly prolonged or if hemorrhage occurs, heparin sodium should be discontinued promptly [see Overdosage (10)]. Periodic platelet counts, hematocrits and tests for occult blood in stool are recommended during the entire course of heparin therapy [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].

5.6 Heparin Resistance

Increased resistance to heparin is frequently encountered in fever, thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, infections with thrombosing tendencies, myocardial infarction, cancer and in postsurgical patients, and patients with antithrombin III deficiency.

Consider measurement of anti-thrombin levels if heparin resistance is suspected. Monitor coagulation tests frequently in such patients. It may be necessary to adjust the dose of heparin based on coagulation test monitoring, such as anti-Factor Xa levels and/or partial thromboplastin time.

5.7 Hypersensitivity Reactions

Hypersensitivity reactions with chills, fever and urticaria as the most usual manifestations and also asthma, rhinitis, lacrimation, and anaphylactoid reactions have been reported. Patients with documented hypersensitivity to heparin should be given the drug only in clearly life-threatening situations [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].

Because Heparin Sodium in 5% Dextrose Injection is derived from animal tissue, monitor for signs and symptoms of hypersensitivity when it is used in patients with a history of allergy to pork products.

This product 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.

5.8 Hyperkalemia

Heparin can suppress adrenal secretion of aldosterone leading to hyperkalemia, particularly in patients with diabetes mellitus, chronic renal failure, pre-existing metabolic acidosis, a raised plasma potassium, or taking potassium sparing drugs. The risk of hyperkalemia appears to increase with duration of therapy but is usually reversible upon discontinuation of heparin.

Measure plasma potassium in patients at risk of hyperkalemia before starting heparin therapy and periodically in all patients treated for more than 5 days or earlier as deemed fit by the clinician.

5.9 Elevations of Serum Aminotransferases

Significant elevations of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels have occurred in patients who have received heparin. Elevation of these enzymes in patients receiving heparin should be interpreted with caution. These elevations typically resolve upon heparin discontinuation.

Find heparin sodium in 5% dextrose injection 50 units/ml and 100 units/ml medical information:

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Warnings and Precautions

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Fatal Medication Errors

Do not use this product as a "catheter lock flush" product. Heparin is supplied in various strengths. Fatal hemorrhages have occurred due to medication errors. Carefully examine all heparin products to confirm the correct container choice prior to administration of the drug.

5.2 Hemorrhage

Hemorrhage, including fatal events, has occurred in patients receiving heparin sodium. Avoid using heparin in the presence of major bleeding, except when the benefits of heparin therapy outweigh the potential risks.

Hemorrhage can occur at virtually any site in patients receiving heparin. Adrenal hemorrhage (with resultant acute adrenal insufficiency), ovarian hemorrhage, and retroperitoneal hemorrhage have occurred during anticoagulant therapy with heparin [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)]. A higher incidence of bleeding has been reported in patients, particularly women, over 60 years of age [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. An unexplained fall in hematocrit or fall in blood pressure should lead to serious consideration of a hemorrhagic event.

Use heparin sodium with caution in disease states in which there is increased risk of hemorrhage, including:

Cardiovascular — Subacute bacterial endocarditis. Severe hypertension.
Surgical — During and immediately following (a) spinal tap or spinal anesthesia or (b) major surgery, especially involving the brain, spinal cord or eye.
Hematologic — Conditions associated with increased bleeding tendencies, such as hemophilia, thrombocytopenia and some vascular purpuras.
Patients with hereditary antithrombin III deficiency receiving concurrent antithrombin III therapy – The anticoagulant effect of heparin is enhanced by concurrent treatment with antithrombin III (human) in patients with hereditary antithrombin III deficiency. To reduce the risk of bleeding, reduce the heparin dose during concomitant treatment with antithrombin III (human).
Gastrointestinal — Ulcerative lesions and continuous tube drainage of the stomach or small intestine.
Other — Menstruation, liver disease with impaired hemostasis.

5.3 Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia (HIT) and Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia and Thrombosis (HITT)

HIT is a serious immune-mediated reaction resulting from irreversible aggregation of platelets. HIT occurs in patients treated with heparin and is due to the development of antibodies to a platelet Factor 4-heparin complex that induce in vivo platelet aggregation. HIT may progress to the development of venous and arterial thromboses, a condition known as HITT. Thrombotic events may also be the initial presentation for HIT. These serious thromboembolic events include deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, cerebral vein thrombosis, limb ischemia, stroke, myocardial infarction, thrombus formation on a prosthetic cardiac valve, mesenteric thrombosis, renal arterial thrombosis, skin necrosis, gangrene of the extremities that may lead to amputation, and possibly death.

Once HIT or HITT is diagnosed or strongly suspected, discontinue all heparin sources (including heparin flushes) and use an alternative anticoagulant.

Immune-mediated HIT is diagnosed based on clinical findings supplemented by laboratory tests confirming the presence of antibodies to heparin, or platelet activation induced by heparin. Obtain platelet counts at baseline and periodically during heparin administration. A drop in platelet count greater than 50% from baseline is considered indicative of HIT. Platelet counts begin to fall 5 to 10 days after exposure to heparin in heparin-naïve individuals and reach a threshold by days 7 to 14. In contrast, “rapid onset” HIT can occur very quickly (within 24 hours following heparin initiation), especially in patients with a recent exposure to heparin (i.e., previous 3 months).

Thrombosis development shortly after documenting thrombocytopenia is a characteristic finding in almost half of all patients with HIT.

Monitor thrombocytopenia of any degree closely. If the platelet count falls below 100,000/mm3 or if recurrent thrombosis develops, promptly discontinue heparin, evaluate for HIT and HITT, and, if necessary, administer an alternative anticoagulant.

HIT or HITT can occur up to several weeks after the discontinuation of heparin therapy. Patients presenting with thrombocytopenia or thrombosis after discontinuation of heparin should be evaluated for HIT or HITT.

5.4 Thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia has been reported to occur in patients receiving heparin with a reported incidence of up to 30%. It can occur 2 to 20 days (average 5 to 9) following the onset of heparin therapy. Obtain platelet counts before and periodically during heparin therapy. Monitor thrombocytopenia of any degree closely. If the count falls below 100,000/mm3 or if recurrent thrombosis develops, promptly discontinue heparin, evaluate for HIT, and, if necessary, administer an alternative anticoagulant [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

5.5 Coagulation Testing and Monitoring

When using a full dose heparin regimen, adjust the heparin dose based on frequent blood coagulation tests. If the coagulation test is unduly prolonged or if hemorrhage occurs, heparin sodium should be discontinued promptly [see Overdosage (10)]. Periodic platelet counts, hematocrits and tests for occult blood in stool are recommended during the entire course of heparin therapy [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].

5.6 Heparin Resistance

Increased resistance to heparin is frequently encountered in fever, thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, infections with thrombosing tendencies, myocardial infarction, cancer and in postsurgical patients, and patients with antithrombin III deficiency.

Consider measurement of anti-thrombin levels if heparin resistance is suspected. Monitor coagulation tests frequently in such patients. It may be necessary to adjust the dose of heparin based on coagulation test monitoring, such as anti-Factor Xa levels and/or partial thromboplastin time.

5.7 Hypersensitivity Reactions

Hypersensitivity reactions with chills, fever and urticaria as the most usual manifestations and also asthma, rhinitis, lacrimation, and anaphylactoid reactions have been reported. Patients with documented hypersensitivity to heparin should be given the drug only in clearly life-threatening situations [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].

Because Heparin Sodium in 5% Dextrose Injection is derived from animal tissue, monitor for signs and symptoms of hypersensitivity when it is used in patients with a history of allergy to pork products.

This product 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.

5.8 Hyperkalemia

Heparin can suppress adrenal secretion of aldosterone leading to hyperkalemia, particularly in patients with diabetes mellitus, chronic renal failure, pre-existing metabolic acidosis, a raised plasma potassium, or taking potassium sparing drugs. The risk of hyperkalemia appears to increase with duration of therapy but is usually reversible upon discontinuation of heparin.

Measure plasma potassium in patients at risk of hyperkalemia before starting heparin therapy and periodically in all patients treated for more than 5 days or earlier as deemed fit by the clinician.

5.9 Elevations of Serum Aminotransferases

Significant elevations of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels have occurred in patients who have received heparin. Elevation of these enzymes in patients receiving heparin should be interpreted with caution. These elevations typically resolve upon heparin discontinuation.

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