Diazepam Intensol: Package Insert and Label Information
DIAZEPAM INTENSOL- diazepam solution, concentrate
West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp.
WARNING: RISKS FROM CONCOMITANT USE WITH OPIOIDS; ABUSE, MISUSE, AND ADDICTION; and DEPENDENCE AND WITHDRAWAL REACTIONS
- Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.
- Reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
- Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required.
- Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation (see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS).
- The use of benzodiazepines, including diazepam, exposes users to risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes. Before prescribing diazepam and throughout treatment, assess each patient’s risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction (see WARNINGS).
- The continued use of benzodiazepines, including diazepam, may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. The risks of dependence and withdrawal increase with longer treatment duration and higher daily dose. Abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of diazepam after continued use may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. To reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue diazepam or reduce the dosage (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS).
Diazepam is a benzodiazepine derivative. Chemically, diazepam is 7-Chloro-1,3-dihydro-1-methyl-5-phenyl-2H -1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one. It is an off-white to yellow, crystalline powder, insoluble in water and has a molecular weight of 284.75. Its structural formula is as follows:
Each mL of Intensol TM Oral Solution (Concentrate) contains:
diazepam USP………………………………………………….. 5 mg
alcohol, D&C Yellow No. 10, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, succinic acid and water.
Diazepam is a benzodiazepine that exerts anxiolytic, sedative, muscle-relaxant, anticonvulsant and amnestic effects. Most of these effects are thought to result from a facilitation of the action of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.
After oral administration of diazepam, > 90% of diazepam is absorbed and the average time to achieve peak plasma concentrations is 1 to 1.5 hours with a range of 0.25 to 2.5 hours. Absorption is delayed and decreased when administered with a moderate fat meal. In the presence of food, mean lag times are approximately 45 minutes as compared with 15 minutes when fasting. There is also an increase in the average time to achieve peak concentrations to about 2.5 hours in the presence of food as compared with 1.25 hours when fasting. This results in an average decrease in Cmax of 20% in addition to a 27% decrease in AUC (range 15% to 50%) when administered with food.
Diazepam and its metabolites are highly bound to plasma proteins (diazepam 98%). Diazepam and its metabolites cross the blood-brain and placental barriers and are also found in breast milk in concentrations approximately one tenth of those in maternal plasma (days 3 to 9 post-partum). In young healthy males, the volume of distribution at steady-state is 0.8 to 1.0 L/kg. The decline in the plasma concentration-time profile after oral administration is biphasic. The initial distribution phase has a half-life of approximately 1 hour, although it may range up to > 3 hours.
Diazepam is N-demethylated by CYP3A4 and 2C19 to the active metabolite N-desmethyldiazepam, and is hydroxylated by CYP3A4 to the active metabolite temazepam. N-desmethyldiazepam and temazepam are both further metabolized to oxazepam. Temazepam and oxazepam are largely eliminated by glucuronidation.
The initial distribution phase is followed by a prolonged terminal elimination phase (half-life up to 48 hours). The terminal elimination half-life of the active metabolite N-desmethyldiazepam is up to 100 hours. Diazepam and its metabolites are excreted mainly in the urine, predominantly as their glucuronide conjugates. The clearance of diazepam is 20 to 30 mL/min in young adults. Diazepam accumulates upon multiple dosing and there is some evidence that the terminal elimination half-life is slightly prolonged.
Pharmacokinetics in Special Populations
In children 3 to 8 years old the mean half-life of diazepam has been reported to be 18 hours.
In full term infants, elimination half-lives around 30 hours have been reported, with a longer average half-life of 54 hours reported in premature infants of 28 to 34 weeks gestational age and 8 to 81 days post-partum. In both premature and full term infants the active metabolite desmethyldiazepam shows evidence of continued accumulation compared to children. Longer half-lives in infants may be due to incomplete maturation of metabolic pathways.
Elimination half-life increases by approximately 1 hour for each year of age beginning with a half-life of 20 hours at 20 years of age. This appears to be due to an increase in volume of distribution with age and a decrease in clearance. Consequently, the elderly may have lower peak concentrations, and on multiple dosing higher trough concentrations. It will also take longer to reach steady-state. Conflicting information has been published on changes of plasma protein binding in the elderly. Reported changes in free drug may be due to significant decreases in plasma proteins due to causes other than simply aging.
In mild and moderate cirrhosis, average half-life is increased. The average increase has been variously reported from 2-fold to 5-fold, with individual half-lives over 500 hours reported. There is also an increase in volume of distribution, and average clearance decreases by almost half. Mean half-life is also prolonged with hepatic fibrosis to 90 hours (range 66 to 104 hours), with chronic active hepatitis to 60 hours (range 26 to 76 hours), and with acute viral hepatitis to 74 hours (range 49 to 129 hours). In chronic active hepatitis, clearance is decreased by almost half.
Diazepam is indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or for the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.
In acute alcohol withdrawal, diazepam may be useful in the symptomatic relief of acute agitation, tremor, impending or acute delirium tremens and hallucinosis.
Diazepam is a useful adjunct for the relief of skeletal muscle spasm due to reflex spasm to local pathology (such as inflammation of the muscles or joints, or secondary to trauma), spasticity caused by upper motor neuron disorders (such as cerebral palsy and paraplegia), athetosis, and stiff-man syndrome.
Oral diazepam may be used adjunctively in convulsive disorders, although it has not proved useful as the sole therapy.
The effectiveness of diazepam in long-term use, that is, more than 4 months, has not been assessed by systematic clinical studies. The physician should periodically reassess the usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
Diazepam is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to this drug and, because of lack of sufficient clinical experience, in pediatric patients under 6 months of age. Diazepam is also contraindicated in patients with myasthenia gravis, severe respiratory insufficiency, severe hepatic insufficiency, and sleep apnea syndrome. It may be used in patients with open-angle glaucoma who are receiving appropriate therapy, but is contraindicated in acute narrow-angle glaucoma.
Risks from Concomitant Use with Opioids
Concomitant use of benzodiazepines, including diazepam, and opioids may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Because of these risks, reserve concomitant prescribing of these drugs for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate.
Observational studies have demonstrated that concomitant use of opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increases the risk of drug-related mortality compared to use of opioids alone. If a decision is made to prescribe diazepam concomitantly with opioids, prescribe the lowest effective dosages and minimum durations of concomitant use, and follow patients closely for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation. In patients already receiving an opioid analgesic, prescribe a lower initial dose of diazepam than indicated in the absence of an opioid and titrate based on clinical response. If an opioid is initiated in a patient already taking diazepam, prescribe a lower initial dose of the opioid and titrate based upon clinical response.
Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of respiratory depression and sedation when diazepam is used with opioids. Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use with the opioid have been determined (see PRECAUTIONS: Drug Interactions).
Abuse, Misuse, and Addiction
The use of benzodiazepines, including diazepam, exposes users to the risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines often (but not always) involve the use of doses greater than the maximum recommended dosage and commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes, including respiratory depression, overdose, or death (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE: Abuse).
Before prescribing diazepam and throughout treatment, assess each patient’s risk for abuse, misuse, and addiction (e.g., using a standardized screening tool). Use of diazepam, particularly in patients at elevated risk, necessitates counseling about the risks and proper use of diazepam along with monitoring for signs and symptoms of abuse, misuse, and addiction. Prescribe the lowest effective dosage; avoid or minimize concomitant use of CNS depressants and other substances associated with abuse, misuse, and addiction (e.g., opioid analgesics, stimulants); and advise patients on the proper disposal of unused drug. If a substance use disorder is suspected, evaluate the patient and institute (or refer them for) early treatment, as appropriate.
Dependence and Withdrawal Reactions
To reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions, use a gradual taper to discontinue diazepam or reduce the dosage (a patient-specific plan should be used to taper the dose) (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: Discontinuation or Dosage Reduction of Diazepam).
Patients at an increased risk of withdrawal adverse reactions after benzodiazepine discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction include those who take higher dosages, and those who have had longer durations of use.
Acute Withdrawal Reactions
The continued use of benzodiazepines, including diazepam, may lead to clinically significant physical dependence. Abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of diazepam after continued use, or administration of flumazenil (a benzodiazepine antagonist) may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening (e.g., seizures) (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE: Dependence).
Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome
In some cases, benzodiazepine users have developed a protracted withdrawal syndrome with withdrawal symptoms lasting weeks to more than 12 months (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE: Dependence).
Diazepam is not recommended in the treatment of psychotic patients and should not be employed instead of appropriate treatment.
Since diazepam has a central nervous system depressant effect, patients should be advised against the simultaneous ingestion of alcohol and other CNS-depressant drugs during diazepam therapy.
As with other agents that have anticonvulsant activity, when diazepam is used as an adjunct in treating convulsive disorders, the possibility of an increase in the frequency and/or severity of grand mal seizures may require an increase in the dosage of standard anticonvulsant medication. Abrupt withdrawal of diazepam in such cases may also be associated with a temporary increase in the frequency and/or severity of seizures.
An increased risk of congenital malformations and other developmental abnormalities associated with the use of benzodiazepine drugs during pregnancy has been suggested. There may also be non-teratogenic risks associated with the use of benzodiazepines during pregnancy. There have been reports of neonatal flaccidity, respiratory and feeding difficulties, and hypothermia in children born to mothers who have been receiving benzodiazepines late in pregnancy. In addition, children born to mothers receiving benzodiazepines on a regular basis late in pregnancy may be at some risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms during the postnatal period.
Diazepam has been shown to be teratogenic in mice and hamsters when given orally at daily doses of 100 mg/kg or greater (approximately eight times the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD = 1 mg/kg/day] or greater on a mg/m2 basis). Cleft palate and encephalopathy are the most common and consistently reported malformations produced in these species by administration of high, maternally toxic doses of diazepam during organogenesis. Rodent studies have indicated that prenatal exposure to diazepam doses similar to those used clinically can produce long-term changes in cellular immune responses, brain neurochemistry, and behavior.
In general, the use of diazepam in women of childbearing potential, and more specifically during known pregnancy, should be considered only when the clinical situation warrants the risk to the fetus. The possibility that a woman of childbearing potential may be pregnant at the time of institution of therapy should be considered. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Patients should also be advised that if they become pregnant during therapy or intend to become pregnant they should communicate with their physician about the desirability of discontinuing the drug.
Labor and Delivery
Special care must be taken when diazepam is used during labor and delivery, as high single doses may produce irregularities in the fetal heart rate and hypotonia, poor sucking, hypothermia, and moderate respiratory depression in the neonates. With newborn infants it must be remembered that the enzyme system involved in the breakdown of the drug is not yet fully developed (especially in premature infants).
Diazepam passes into breast milk. Breastfeeding is therefore not recommended in patients receiving diazepam.
If diazepam is to be combined with other psychotropic agents or anticonvulsant drugs, careful consideration should be given to the pharmacology of the agents to be employed — particularly with known compounds that may potentiate the action of diazepam, such as phenothiazines, narcotics, barbiturates, MAO inhibitors and other antidepressants (see Drug Interactions).
The usual precautions are indicated for severely depressed patients or those in whom there is any evidence of latent depression or anxiety associated with depression, particularly the recognition that suicidal tendencies may be present and protective measures may be necessary.
Psychiatric and paradoxical reactions are known to occur when using benzodiazepines (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Should this occur, use of the drug should be discontinued. These reactions are more likely to occur in children and the elderly.
A lower dose is recommended for patients with chronic respiratory insufficiency, due to the risk of respiratory depression.
Benzodiazepines should be used with extreme caution in patients with a history of alcohol or drug abuse (see DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE).
In debilitated patients, it is recommended that the dosage be limited to the smallest effective amount to preclude the development of ataxia or oversedation (2 mg to 2.5 mg once or twice daily, initially, to be increased gradually as needed and tolerated).
Some loss of response to the effects of benzodiazepines may develop after repeated use of diazepam for a prolonged time.
Information for Patients
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Risks from Concomitant Use with Opioids
Advise both patients and caregivers about the risks of potentially fatal respiratory depression and sedation when diazepam is used with opioids and not to use such drugs concomitantly unless supervised by a health care provider. Advise patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the effects of concomitant use with the opioid have been determined (see WARNINGS: Risks from Concomitant Use with Opioids and PRECAUTIONS: Drug Interactions).
Abuse, Misuse, and Addiction
Inform patients that the use of diazepam, even at recommended dosages, exposes users to risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose and death, especially when used in combination with other medications (e.g., opioid analgesics), alcohol, and/or illicit substances. Inform patients about the signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse, misuse, and addiction; to seek medical help if they develop these signs and/or symptoms; and on the proper disposal of unused drug (see WARNINGS: Abuse, Misuse, and Addiction and DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE).
Inform patients that the continued use of diazepam may lead to clinically significant physical dependence and that abrupt discontinuation or rapid dosage reduction of diazepam may precipitate acute withdrawal reactions, which can be life-threatening. Inform patients that in some cases, patients taking benzodiazepines have developed a protracted withdrawal syndrome with withdrawal symptoms lasting weeks to more than 12 months. Instruct patients that discontinuation or dosage reduction of diazepam may require a slow taper (see WARNINGS: Dependence and Withdrawal Reactions and DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE).
Patients should be advised against the simultaneous ingestion of alcohol and other CNS-depressant drugs during diazepam therapy. As is true of most CNS-acting drugs, patients receiving diazepam should be cautioned against engaging in hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness, such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle.
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