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Cases of QT prolongation and/or torsade de pointes have been reported in patients receiving droperidol at doses at or below recommended doses. Some cases have occurred in patients with no known risk factors for QT prolongation and some cases have been fatal.
Due to its potential for serious proarrhythmic effects and death, droperidol should be reserved for use in the treatment of patients who fail to show an acceptable response to other adequate treatments, either because of insufficient effectiveness or the inability to achieve an effective dose due to intolerable adverse effects from those drugs. Cases of QT prolongation and serious arrhythmias (e.g., torsade de pointes) have been reported in patients treated with droperidol. Based on these reports, all patients should undergo a 12-lead ECG prior to administration of droperidol to determine if a prolonged QT interval (i.e., QTc greater than 440 msec for males or 450 msec for females) is present. If there is a prolonged QT interval, droperidol should NOT be administered. For patients in whom the potential benefit of droperidol treatment is felt to outweigh the risks of potentially serious arrhythmias, ECG monitoring should be performed prior to treatment and continued for 2–3 hours after completing treatment to monitor for arrhythmias. Droperidol is contraindicated in patients with known or suspected QT prolongation, including patients with congenital long QT syndrome. Droperidol should be administered with extreme caution to patients who may be at risk for development of prolonged QT syndrome (e.g., congestive heart failure, bradycardia, use of a diuretic, cardiac hypertrophy, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, or administration of other drugs known to increase the QT interval). Other risk factors may include age over 65 years, alcohol abuse, and use of agents such as benzodiazepines, volatile anesthetics, and IV opiates. Droperidol should be initiated at a low dose and adjusted upward, with caution, as needed to achieve the desired effect.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Droperidol should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Labor and Delivery: There are insufficient data to support the use of droperidol in labor and delivery. Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether droperidol is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when droperidol is administered to a nursing mother. Pediatric Use: The safety of droperidol in children younger than 2 years of age has not been established. ADVERSE REACTIONS QT interval prolongation, torsade de pointes, cardiac arrest, and ventricular tachycardia have been reported in patients treated with droperidol. Some of these cases were associated with death. Some cases occurred in patients with no known risk factors, and some were associated with droperidol doses at or below recommended doses. Physicians should be alert to palpitations, syncope, or other symptoms suggestive of episodes of irregular cardiac rhythm in patients taking droperidol and promptly evaluate such cases. The most common somatic adverse reactions reported to occur with droperidol are mild to moderate hypotension and tachycardia. If hypotension occurs and is severe or persists, the possibility of hypovolemia should be considered and managed with appropriate parenteral fluid therapy. The most common behavioral adverse effects of droperidol include dysphoria, postoperative drowsiness, restlessness, hyperactivity and anxiety, which can either be the result of an inadequate dosage or of an adverse drug reaction. Postoperative hallucinatory episodes (sometimes associated with transient periods of mental depression) have also been reported. Other less common reported adverse reactions include anaphylaxis, dizziness, chills and/or shivering, laryngospasm and bronchospasm. Elevated blood pressure, with or without pre-existing hypertension, has been reported following administration of droperidol combined with fentanyl citrate or other parenteral analgesics. OVERDOSAGE Manifestations: The manifestations of droperidol overdosage are an extension of its pharmacologic actions and may include QT prolongation and serious arrhythmias. Treatment: In the presence of hypoventilation or apnea, oxygen should be administered and respiration should be assisted or controlled as indicated. A patent airway must be maintained. The patient should be carefully observed for 24 hours; body warmth and adequate fluid intake should be maintained. If hypotension occurs and is severe or persists, the possibility of hypovolemia should be considered and managed with appropriate parenteral fluid therapy. If significant extrapyramidal reactions occur in the context of an overdose, an anticholinergic should be administered. For additional Safety Information, including BOXED WARNING, please see Full Prescribing Information. You are encouraged to report Adverse Drug Events (ADEs) to American Regent Inc. at 1-800-734-9236 or to the FDA by visiting www.fda.gov/MedWatch or calling 1-800-FDA-1088.