Both animal and human data suggest that AZACTAM is rarely cross-reactive with other beta-lactam antibiotics and weakly immunogenic. Treatment with aztreonam can result in hypersensitivity reactions in patients with or without prior exposure. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS.)
Careful inquiry should be made to determine whether the patient has any history of hypersensitivity reactions to any allergens.
While cross-reactivity of aztreonam with other beta-lactam antibiotics is rare, this drug should be administered with caution to any patient with a history of hypersensitivity to beta-lactams (eg, penicillins, cephalosporins, and/or carbapenems). Treatment with aztreonam can result in hypersensitivity reactions in patients with or without prior exposure to aztreonam. If an allergic reaction to aztreonam occurs, discontinue the drug and institute supportive treatment as appropriate (eg, maintenance of ventilation, pressor amines,antihistamines, corticosteroids). Serious hypersensitivity reactions may require epinephrine and other emergency measures. (See ADVERSE REACTIONS.)
Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) has been reported with use of nearly all antibacterial agents, including AZACTAM, 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 antimicrobial therapy and may require colectomy. CDAD must be considered in all patients who present with diarrhea following antibiotic 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 antibiotic use not directed against C. difficile may need to be discontinued. Appropriate fluid and electrolyte management, protein supplementation, antibiotic treatment of C. difficile, and surgical evaluation should be instituted as clinically indicated.
Rare cases of toxic epidermal necrolysis have been reported in association with aztreonam in patients undergoing bone marrow transplant with multiple risk factors including sepsis, radiation therapy and other concomitantly administered drugs associated with toxic epidermal necrolysis.
Prescribing AZACTAM in the absence of a proven or strongly suspected bacterial infection or a prophylactic indication is unlikely to provide benefit to the patient and increases the risk of the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
In patients with impaired hepatic or renal function, appropriate monitoring is recommended during therapy.
If an aminoglycoside is used concurrently with aztreonam, especially if high dosages of the former are used or if therapy is prolonged, renal function should be monitored because of the potential nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity of aminoglycoside antibiotics.
The use of antibiotics may promote the overgrowth of nonsusceptible organisms, including gram-positive organisms (Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus faecalis) and fungi. Should superinfection occur during therapy, appropriate measures should be taken.
Information for Patients
Patients should be counseled that antibacterial drugs including AZACTAM should only be used to treat bacterial infections. They do not treat viral infections (eg, the common cold). When AZACTAM is prescribed to treat a bacterial infection, patients should be told that although it is common to feel better early in the course of therapy, the medication should be taken exactly as directed. Skipping doses or not completing the full course of therapy may (1) decrease the effectiveness of the immediate treatment and (2) increase the likelihood that bacteria will develop resistance and will not be treatable by AZACTAM or other antibacterial drugs in the future.
Diarrhea is a common problem caused by antibiotics which usually ends when the antibiotic is discontinued. Sometimes after starting treatment with antibiotics, 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 antibiotic. If this occurs, patients should contact their physician as soon as possible.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Carcinogenicity studies in animals have not been performed.
Genetic toxicology studies performed in vivo and in vitro with aztreonam in several standard laboratory models revealed no evidence of mutagenic potential at the chromosomal or gene level.
Two-generation reproduction studies in rats at daily doses up to 20 times the maximum recommended human dose, prior to and during gestation and lactation, revealed no evidence of impaired fertility. There was a slightly reduced survival rate during the lactation period in the offspring of rats that received the highest dosage, but not in offspring of rats that received five times the maximum recommended human dose.
Pregnancy Category B
Aztreonam crosses the placenta and enters the fetal circulation.
Studies in pregnant rats and rabbits, with daily doses up to 15 and 5 times, respectively, the maximum recommended human dose, revealed no evidence of embryo- or fetotoxicity or teratogenicity. No drug induced changes were seen in any of the maternal, fetal, or neonatal parameters that were monitored in rats receiving 15 times the maximum recommended human dose of aztreonam during late gestation and lactation.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, aztreonam should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Aztreonam is excreted in human milk in concentrations that are less than 1% of concentrations determined in simultaneously obtained maternal serum; consideration should be given to temporary discontinuation of nursing and use of formula feedings.
The safety and effectiveness of intravenous AZACTAM have been established in the age groups 9 months to 16 years. Use of AZACTAM in these age groups is supported by evidence from adequate and well-controlled studies of AZACTAM in adults with additional efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetic data from noncomparative clinical studies in pediatric patients. Sufficient data are not available for pediatric patients under 9 months of age or for the following treatment indications/pathogens: septicemia and skin and skin-structure infections (where the skin infection is believed or known to be due to H. influenzae type b). In pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis, higher doses of AZACTAM may be warranted. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, and CLINICAL STUDIES.)
Clinical studies of AZACTAM did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 years and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients.7-10 In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
In elderly patients, the mean serum half-life of aztreonam increased and the renal clearance decreased, consistent with the age-related decrease in creatinine clearance.1-4 Since aztreonam is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, the risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, renal function should be monitored and dosage adjustments made accordingly (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION: Renal Impairment in Adult Patients and Dosage in the Elderly).
AZACTAM contains no sodium.