Azithromycin for Injection: Indications, Dosage, Precautions, Adverse Effects
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Azithromycin for Injection - Product Information

Manufacture: Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC
Country: United States
Condition: Bacterial Infection, Community-acquired pneumonia (Pneumonia), Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Class: Macrolides
Form: Liquid solution, Intravenous (IV)
Ingredients: azithromycin, citric acid, sodium hydroxide for pH adjustment

Indications and Usage

To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of azithromycin for injection, USPand other antibacterial drugs, azithromycin for injection, USP should be used only to treat infections that are proven or strongly suspected to be caused by susceptible bacteria. When culture and susceptibility information are available, they should be considered in selecting or modifying antibacterial therapy. In the absence of such data, local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns may contribute to the empiric selection of therapy.zithromycin for injection, USP is a macrolide antibacterial drug indicated for the treatment of patients with infections caused by susceptible strains of the designated microorganisms in the conditions listed below.

Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Due to Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Legionella pneumophila, Moraxella catarrhalis, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, or Streptococcus pneumoniae in patients who require initial intravenous therapy.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Due to Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or Mycoplasma homin is in patients who require initial intravenous therapy. If anaerobic microorganisms are suspected of contributing to the infection, an antimicrobial agent with anaerobic activity should be administered in combination with azithromycin for injection, USP.zithromycin for injection, USP should be followed by azithromycin by the oral route as required [see Dosage and Administration].

Dosage and Administration

[see Indications and Usage and Clinical Pharmacology]

Community-Acquired Pneumonia

The recommended dose of azithromycin for injection for the treatment of adult patients with community-acquired pneumonia due to the indicated organisms is 500 mg as a single daily dose by the intravenous route for at least two days. Intravenous therapy should be followed by azithromycin by the oral route at a single, daily dose of 500 mg, administered as two 250 mg tablets to complete a 7 to 10 day course of therapy. The timing of the switch to oral therapy should be done at the discretion of the physician and in accordance with clinical response.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The recommended dose of azithromycin for injection for the treatment of adult patients with pelvic inflammatory disease due to the indicated organisms is 500 mg as a single daily dose by the intravenous route for one or two days. Intravenous therapy should be followed by azithromycin by the oral route at a single, daily dose of 250 mg to complete a 7 day course of therapy. The timing of the switch to oral therapy should be done at the discretion of the physician and in accordance with clinical response.

Preparation of the Solution for Intravenous Administration

The infusate concentration and rate of infusion for azithromycin for injection should be either 1 mg/mL over 3 hours or 2 mg/mL over 1 hour. Azithromycin for injection should not be given as a bolus or as an intramuscular injection.

Reconstitution

Prepare the initial solution of azithromycin for injection by adding 4.8 mL of Sterile Water for Injection to the 500 mg vial, and shaking the vial until all of the drug is dissolved. Since azithromycin for injection is supplied under vacuum, it is recommended that a standard 5 mL (non-automated) syringe be used to ensure that the exact amount of 4.8 mL of Sterile Water is dispensed. Each mL of reconstituted solution contains 100 mg azithromycin. Reconstituted solution is stable for 24 hours when stored below 30°C (86°F).

Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter prior to particulate matter is evident in reconstituted fluids, the drug solution should administration. If be discarded.

Dilute this solution further prior to administration as instructed below.

Dilution

To provide azithromycin over a concentration range of 1 to 2 mg/mL, transfer 5 mL of the 100 mg/mL azithromycin solution into the appropriate amount of any of the diluents listed below:

     Normal Saline (0.9% sodium chloride)

     1/2 Normal Saline (0.45% sodium chloride)

     5% Dextrose in Water

     Lactated Ringer’s Solution

     5% Dextrose in 1/2 Normal Saline (0.45% sodium chloride) with 20 mEq KCl

     5% Dextrose in Lactated Ringer’s Solution

     5% Dextrose in 1/3 Normal Saline (0.3% sodium chloride)

     5% Dextrose in 1/2 Normal Saline (0.45% sodium chloride)

     Normosol-M in 5% Dextrose

     Normosol-R in 5% Dextrose

When used with the Vial-Mate drug reconstitution device, please reference the Vial-Mate instructions for assembly and reconstitution.

Final Infusion Solution Concentration (mg/mL) Amount of Diluent (mL)
1 mg/mL 500 mL
2 mg/mL 250 mL

Other intravenous substances, additives, or medications should not be added to azithromycin for injection or infused simultaneously through the same intravenous line.

Storage

Store the white to off-white lyophilized cake at 20º to 25ºC (68º to 77ºF) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]. When diluted according to the instructions (1 mg/mL to 2 mg/mL), azithromycin for injection is stable for 24 hours at or below room temperature 30°C (86°F), or for 7 days if stored under refrigeration 5°C (41°F).

Dosage Forms and Strengths

Azithromycin for injection is supplied in lyophilized form in a 10 mL vial equivalent to 500 mg of azithromycin for intravenous administration.

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity

Azithromycin for injection is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to azithromycin, erythromycin, any macrolide or ketolide drugs.

Hepatic Dysfunction

Azithromycin for injection is contraindicated in patients with a history of cholestatic jaundice/hepatic dysfunction associated with prior use of azithromycin.

Warnings and Precautions

Hypersensitivity

Serious allergic reactions, including angioedema, anaphylaxis, and dermatologic reactions including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis have been reported in patients on azithromycin therapy [see Contraindications].

Fatalities have been reported. Despite initially successful symptomatic treatment of the allergic symptoms, when symptomatic therapy was discontinued, the allergic symptoms recurred soon thereafter in some patients without further azithromycin exposure. These patients required prolonged periods of observation and symptomatic treatment. The relationship of these episodes to the long tissue half-life of azithromycin and subsequent prolonged exposure to antigen is unknown at present.

If an allergic reaction occurs, the drug should be discontinued and appropriate therapy should be instituted. Physicians should be aware that the allergic symptoms may reappear after symptomatic therapy has been discontinued.

Hepatotoxicity

Abnormal liver function, hepatitis, cholestatic jaundice, hepatic necrosis, and hepatic failure have been reported, some of which have resulted in death. Discontinue azithromycin immediately if signs and symptoms of hepatitis occur.

QT Prolongation

Prolonged cardiac repolarization and QT interval, imparting a risk of developing cardiac arrhythmia and torsades de pointes, have been seen with treatment with macrolides, including azithromycin. Cases of torsades de pointes have been spontaneously reported during postmarketing surveillance in patients receiving azithromycin. Providers should consider the risk of QT prolongation, which can be fatal when weighing the risks and benefits of azithromycin for at-risk groups including:

  • patients with known prolongation of the QT interval, a history of torsades de pointes, congenital long QT syndrome, bradyarrhythmias or uncompensated heart failure
  • patients on drugs known to prolong the QT interval
  • patients with ongoing proarrhythmic conditions such as uncorrected hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia, clinically significant bradycardia, and in patients receiving Class IA (quinidine, procainamide) or Class III (dofetilide, amiodarone, sotalol) antiarrhythmic agents.

 Elderly patients may be more susceptible to drug-associated effects on the QT interval.

Clostridium Difficile-Associated Diarrhea

Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including azithromycin for injection and may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal colitis. Treatment with antibacterial agents alters the normal flora of the colon leading to overgrowth of C. difficile.

C. difficile produces toxins A and B which contribute to the development of CDAD. Hypertoxin producing strains of C. difficile cause increased morbidity and mortality, as these infections can be refractory to antibacterial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibacterial use. Careful medical history is necessary since CDAD has been reported to occur over two months after the administration of antibacterial agents.

If CDAD is suspected or confirmed, ongoing antibacterial use not directed against C. difficile may need to be discontinued. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management, protein supplementation, antibacterial treatment of C. difficile, and surgical evaluation should be instituted as clinically indicated.

Exacerbation of Myasthenia Gravis

Exacerbations of symptoms of myasthenia gravis and new onset of myasthenic syndrome have been reported in patients receiving azithromycin therapy.

Infusion Site Reactions

Azithromycin for injection should be reconstituted and diluted as directed and administered as an intravenous infusion over not less than 60 minutes [see Dosage and Administration].

Local IV site reactions have been reported with the intravenous administration of azithromycin. The incidence and severity of these reactions were the same when 500 mg azithromycin was given over 1 hour (2 mg/mL as 250 mL infusion) or over 3 hours (1 mg/mL as 500 mL infusion) [see Adverse Reactions].  All volunteers who received infusate concentrations above 2 mg/mL experienced local IV site reactions and, therefore, higher concentrations should be avoided.

Development of Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Prescribing azithromycin for injection in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria.

Adverse Reactions

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

In clinical trials of intravenous azithromycin for community-acquired pneumonia, in which 2 to 5 IV doses were given, the reported adverse reactions were mild to moderate in severity and were reversible upon discontinuation of the drug. The majority of patients in these trials had one or more co-morbid diseases and were receiving concomitant medications. Approximately 1.2% of the patients discontinued intravenous azithromycin therapy, and a total of 2.4% discontinued azithromycin therapy by either the intravenous or oral route because of clinical or laboratory side effects.

In clinical trials conducted in patients with pelvic inflammatory disease, in which 1 to 2 IV doses were given, 2% of women who received monotherapy with azithromycin and 4% who received azithromycin plus metronidazole discontinued therapy due to clinical side effects.

Clinical adverse reactions leading to discontinuations from these studies were gastrointestinal (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), and rashes; laboratory side effects leading to discontinuation were increases in transaminase levels and/or alkaline phosphatase levels.

Overall, the most common adverse reactions associated with treatment in adult patients who received IV/Oral azithromycin in studies of community-acquired pneumonia were related to the gastrointestinal system with diarrhea/loose stools (4.3%), nausea (3.9%), abdominal pain (2.7%), and vomiting (1.4%) being the most frequently reported. Approximately 12% of patients experienced a side effect related to the intravenous infusion; most common were pain at the injection site (6.5%) and local inflammation (3.1%).

The most common adverse reactions associated with treatment in adult women who received IV/Oral azithromycin in trials of pelvic inflammatory disease were related to the gastrointestinal system. Diarrhea (8.5%) and nausea (6.6%) were most commonly reported, followed by vaginitis (2.8%), abdominal pain (1.9%), anorexia (1.9%), rash and pruritus (1.9%). When azithromycin was co-administered with metronidazole in these trials, a higher proportion of women experienced adverse reactions of nausea (10.3%), abdominal pain (3.7%), vomiting (2.8%), infusion site reaction, stomatitis, dizziness, or dyspnea (all at 1.9%).

Adverse reactions that occurred with a frequency of 1% or less included the following:

Gastrointestinal: dyspepsia, flatulence, mucositis, oral moniliasis, and gastritis.

Nervous System: headache, somnolence.

Allergic: bronchospasm.

Special Senses: taste perversion.

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of azithromycin. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Adverse reactions reported with azithromycin during the post-marketing period in adult and/or pediatric patients for which a causal relationship may not be established include:

Allergic: Arthralgia, edema, urticaria and angioedema.

Cardiovascular: Arrhythmias including ventricular tachycardia and hypotension. There have been reports of QT prolongation and torsades de pointes.

Gastrointestinal: Anorexia, constipation, dyspepsia, flatulence, vomiting/diarrhea, pseudomembranous colitis, pancreatitis, oral candidiasis, pyloric stenosis, and reports of tongue discoloration.

General: Asthenia, paresthesia, fatigue, malaise and anaphylaxis (including fatalities).

Genitourinary: Interstitial nephritis and acute renal failure and vaginitis.

Hematopoietic: Thrombocytopenia.

Liver/biliary: Abnormal liver function, hepatitis, cholestatic jaundice, hepatic necrosis, and hepatic failure [see Warnings and Precautions].

Nervous System: Convulsions, dizziness/vertigo, headache, somnolence, hyperactivity, nervousness, agitation and syncope.

Psychiatric: Aggressive reaction and anxiety.

Skin/appendages: Pruritus, serious skin reactions including, erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Special Senses: Hearing disturbances including hearing loss, deafness and/or tinnitus and reports of taste/smell perversion and/or loss.

Laboratory Abnormalities

Significant abnormalities (irrespective of drug relationship) occurring during the clinical trials were reported as follows:

  • elevated ALT (SGPT), AST (SGOT), creatinine (4 to 6%)
  • elevated LDH, bilirubin (1 to 3%)
  • leukopenia, neutropenia, decreased platelet count, and elevated serum alkaline phosphatase (less than 1%) 

When follow-up was provided, changes in laboratory tests appeared to be reversible.

In multiple-dose clinical trials involving more than 750 patients treated with azithromycin (IV/Oral), less than 2% of patients discontinued azithromycin therapy because of treatment-related liver enzyme abnormalities.

Drug Interactions

Nelfinavir

Co-administration of nelfinavir at steady-state with a single oral dose of azithromycin resulted in increased azithromycin serum concentrations. Although a dose adjustment of azithromycin is not recommended when administered in combination with nelfinavir, close monitoring for known adverse reactions of azithromycin, such as liver enzyme abnormalities and hearing impairment, is warranted [see Adverse Reactions].

Warfarin

Spontaneous post-marketing reports suggest that concomitant administration of azithromycin may potentiate the effects of oral anticoagulants such as warfarin, although the prothrombin time was not affected in the dedicated drug interaction study with azithromycin and warfarin. Prothrombin times should be carefully monitored while patients are receiving azithromycin and oral anticoagulants concomitantly.

Potential Drug-Drug Interaction with Macrolides

Interactions with the following drugs listed below have not been reported in clinical trials with azithromycin; however, no specific drug interaction studies have been performed to evaluate potential drug-drug interaction. However, drug interactions have been observed with other macrolide products. Until further data are developed regarding drug interactions when digoxin or phenytoin are used with azithromycin careful monitoring of patients is advised.

Use in Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects.Pregnancy Category B

Reproductive and development studies have not been conducted using IV administration of azithromycin to animals. Reproduction studies have been performed in rats and mice using oral administration at doses up to moderately maternally toxic dose concentrations (i.e., 200 mg/kg/day). These daily doses in rats and mice based on body surface area, are estimated to be 4 and 2 times, respectively, an adult daily dose of 500 mg. In the animal studies, no evidence of harm to the fetus due to azithromycin was found. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, azithromycin should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Nursing Mothers

Azithromycin has been reported to be excreted in human breast milk in small amounts. Caution should be exercised when azithromycin is administered to a nursing woman.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of azithromycin for injection in children or adolescents under 16 years have not been established. In controlled clinical studies, azithromycin has been administered to pediatric patients (age 6 months to 16 years) by the oral route. For information regarding the use of azithromycin for oral suspension in the treatment of pediatric patients, [see Indications and Usage, and Dosage and Administration] of the prescribing information for azithromycin for oral suspension 100 mg/5 mL and 200 mg/5 mL bottles.

Geriatric Use

Pharmacokinetic studies with intravenous azithromycin have not been performed in older volunteers. Pharmacokinetics of azithromycin following oral administration in older volunteers (65 to 85 years old) were similar to those in younger volunteers (18 to 40 years old) for the 5 day therapeutic regimen.

In multiple-dose clinical trials of intravenous azithromycin in the treatment of community-acquired pneumonia, 45% of patients (188/414) were at least 65 years of age and 22% of patients (91/414) were at least 75 years of age. No overall differences in safety were observed between these subjects and younger subjects in terms of adverse reactions, laboratory abnormalities, and discontinuations. Similar decreases in clinical response were noted in azithromycin- and comparator-treated patients with increasing age.

Azithromycin for injection contains 114 mg (4.96 mEq) of sodium per vial. At the usual recommended doses, patients would receive 114 mg (4.96 mEq) of sodium. The geriatric population may respond with a blunted natriuresis to salt loading. The total sodium content from dietary and non-dietary sources may be clinically important with regard to such diseases as congestive heart failure.

Elderly patients may be more susceptible to development of torsades de pointes arrhythmias than younger patients [see Warnings and Precautions].

Overdosage

Adverse reactions experienced in higher than recommended doses were similar to those seen at normal doses particularly nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. In the event of overdosage, general symptomatic and supportive measures are indicated as required.

How Supplied/Storage and Handling

Azithromycin for injection, USP is supplied in lyophilized form under a vacuum in a 10 mL vial equivalent to 500 mg of azithromycin for intravenous administration. Each vial also contains sodium hydroxide and 413.6 mg citric acid.

Product
No.
NDC
No.
309810 63323-398-10 500 mg per vial in packages of 10.

Patient Counseling Information

Patients should be informed of the following serious and potentially serious adverse reactions that have been associated with azithromycin for injection, USP.

Diarrhea: Inform patients that diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibacterial drugs which usually ends when the antibacterial is discontinued. Sometimes after starting treatment with antibacterials, patients can develop watery and bloody stools (with or without stomach cramps and fever) even as late as two or more months after having taken the last dose of the antibacterial. If this occurs, patients should notify their physician as soon as possible.