INDICATIONS AND USAGE
Acetadote, administered intravenously within 8 to 10 hours after ingestion of a potentially hepatotoxic quantity of acetaminophen, is indicated to prevent or lessen hepatic injury [ see Dosage and Administration (2) and Acetaminophen Assays Interpretation and Methodology (1.1, 1.2) ].
On admission for suspected acetaminophen overdose, a serum blood sample should be drawn at least 4 hours after ingestion to determine the acetaminophen level and will serve as a basis for determining the need for treatment with acetylcysteine. If the patient presents after 4 hours post-ingestion, the serum acetaminophen sample should be determined immediately.
Acetadote should be administered within 8 hours from acetaminophen ingestion for maximal protection against hepatic injury for patients whose serum acetaminophen levels fall above the "possible" toxicity line on the Rumack-Matthew nomogram (line connecting 150 mcg/mL at 4 hours with 37.5 mcg/mL at 12 hours); [ see Acetaminophen Assays Interpretation and Methodology (1.1, 1.2) ]. If the time of ingestion is unknown, or the serum acetaminophen level is not available, cannot be interpreted, or is not available within the 8 hour time interval from acetaminophen ingestion, Acetadote should be administered immediately if 24 hours or less have elapsed from the reported time of ingestion of an overdose of acetaminophen, regardless of the quantity reported to have been ingested.
The aspartate aminotransferase (AST, SGOT), alanine aminotranferase (ALT, SGPT), bilirubin, prothrombin time, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), blood glucose, and electrolytes also should be determined in order to monitor hepatic and renal function and electrolyte and fluid balance.
NOTE: The critical ingestion-treatment interval for maximal protection against severe hepatic injury is between 0 8 hours. Efficacy diminishes progressively after 8 hours and treatment initiation between 15 and 24 hours post-ingestion of acetaminophen yields limited efficacy. However, it does not appear to worsen the condition of patients and it should not be withheld, since the reported time of ingestion may not be correct.
Acetaminophen Assays Interpretation and Methodology Acute Ingestion
The acute ingestion of acetaminophen in quantities of 150 mg/kg or greater may result in hepatic toxicity. However, the reported history of the quantity of a drug ingested as an overdose is often inaccurate and is not a reliable guide to therapy of the overdose. Therefore, plasma or serum acetaminophen concentrations, determined as early as possible, but no sooner than four hours following an acute overdose, are essential in assessing the potential risk of hepatotoxicity. If an assay for acetaminophen cannot be obtained, it is necessary to assume that the overdose is potentially toxic.
Interpretation of Acetaminophen Assays
- When results of the plasma acetaminophen assay are available, refer to the nomogram in Figure 1 to determine if plasma concentration is in the potentially toxic range. Values above the line connecting 200 mcg/mL at 4 hours with 50 mcg/mL at 12 hours (probable line) are associated with a probability of hepatic toxicity if an antidote is not administered.
- If the predetoxification plasma level is above the line connecting 150 mcg/mL at 4 hours with 37.5 mcg/mL at 12 hours (possible line), continue with maintenance doses of acetylcysteine. It is better to err on the safe side and thus this line, defining possible toxicity, is plotted 25% below the line defining probable toxicity.
- If the predetoxification plasma level is below the line connecting 150 mcg/mL at 4 hours with 37.5 mcg/mL at 12 hours (possible line), there is minimal risk of hepatic toxicity, and acetylcysteine treatment may be discontinued.
Estimating Potential for Hepatotoxicity: The following depiction of the Rumack-Matthew nomogram has been developed to estimate the probability that plasma levels in relation to intervals post-ingestion will result in hepatotoxicity.
Figure 1. Rumack-Matthew Nomogram: Plasma or Serum Acetaminophen Concentration vs. Time Post Acetaminophen Ingestion (Rumack BH, Matthew H. Acetaminophen poisoning and toxicity. Pediatrics. 1975;55:871-876 and Rumack BH, Peterson RC, Kock GG, Amara IA. Acetaminophen overdose. 662 cases with evaluation of oral acetylcysteine treatment. Arch Intern Med. 1981;141:380-385).
Acetaminophen Assays Interpretation and Methodology Repeated Supratherapeutic Ingestion
Repeated Supratherapeutic Ingestion (RSI) is defined as ingestion of acetaminophen at doses higher than those recommended for extended periods of time. The nomogram does not apply to patients with RSI. Treatment is based on the acetaminophen and elevated AST/ALT levels indicative of potential toxicity due to acetaminophen. For specific treatment information regarding the clinical management of repeated supratherapeutic acetaminophen overdose, please contact your regional poison center at 1-800-222-1222, or alternatively, a special health professional assistance line for acetaminophen overdose at 1-800-525-6115.
Figure 2. Acetadote Treatment Flow Chart
*Acetaminophen levels drawn less than 4 hours post-ingestion may be misleading.
# With an extended-release preparation, an acetaminophen level drawn less than 8 hours post-ingestion may be misleading. Draw a second level at 4 to 6 hours after the initial level. If either falls above the toxicity line, acetylcysteine treatment should be initiated.
***Acetylcysteine may be withheld until acetaminophen assay results are available as long as initiation of treatment is not delayed beyond 8 hours post-ingestion. If more than 8 hours post-ingestion, start acetylcysteine treatment immediately.