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Long-Acting Hydrocodone-Containing Cough Product (marketed as Tussionex Pennkinetic Extended-Release Suspension)

Audience: Healthcare professionals, pharmacists, patients

[Posted 03/11/2008] FDA informed healthcare professionals of life-threatening adverse events and death in patients, including children, who have received Tussionex Pennkinetic Extended-Release Suspension (Tussionex). The reports indicate that healthcare professionals have prescribed Tussionex for patients younger than the approved age group of 6 years old and older, and more frequently than the labeled dosing interval of every 12 hours. Tussionex is contraindicated for use in patients less than 6 years of age because of their susceptibility to life-threatening and fatal respiratory depression.

Patients have administered the incorrect dose due to misinterpretation of the dosing directions, and have used inappropriate devices to measure the suspension. Overdose of Tussionex in older children, adolescents, and adults has also been associated with life-threatening and fatal respiratory depression. Prescribers should be familiar with the dosing recommendations of Tussionex before prescribing. In addition, patients and caregivers should use a properly marked measuring device to measure Tussionex to prevent overdose.