Medically reviewed on Nov 15, 2018
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- Apomorphine Hydrochloride
- Apomorphine Hydrochloride Hemihydrate
Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.
Solution Cartridge, Subcutaneous, as hydrochloride:
Apokyn: 30 mg/3 mL (3 mL) [contains benzyl alcohol, sodium metabisulfite]
Brand Names: U.S.
- Anti-Parkinson Agent, Dopamine Agonist
Stimulates postsynaptic D2-type receptors within the caudate putamen in the brain.
Vd: Mean: 218 L
Not established; potential routes of metabolism include sulfation, N-demethylation, glucuronidation, and oxidation; catechol-O methyltransferase and nonenzymatic oxidation
Onset of Action
Time to Peak
Plasma: 10 to 60 minutes
Terminal: ~40 minutes
Special Populations: Renal Function Impairment
Cmax was increased by 50% in patients with moderate renal impairment.
Special Populations: Hepatic Function Impairment
Cmax was increased by 25% in patients with moderate hepatic impairment.
Use: Labeled Indications
Parkinson disease: Treatment of hypomobility “off” episodes with advanced Parkinson disease
Hypersensitivity to apomorphine or any component of the formulation; concomitant use with 5-HT3 antagonists
Canadian labeling: Additional contraindications (not in US labeling): Concomitant use with antihypertensives or vasodilators; severe hepatic or renal impairment
Begin antiemetic therapy (eg, trimethobenzamide) 3 days prior to initiation and continue only as long as necessary, and generally no longer than 2 months, due to increased risk of adverse events; apomorphine is intended to be used as adjunctive therapy with other anti-Parkinson agents.
Parkinson disease, “off” episode: SubQ: Initial test dose 2 mg, medical supervision required; see “Note”. Subsequent dosing is based on both tolerance and response to initial test dose.
If patient tolerates test dose and responds: Starting dose: 2 mg as needed; may increase dose in 1 mg increments every few days; maximum dose: 6 mg
If patient tolerates but does not respond to 2 mg test dose: Second test dose: 4 mg
If patient tolerates and responds to 4 mg test dose: Starting dose: 3 mg, as needed for “off” episodes; may increase dose in 1 mg increments every few days; maximum dose: 6 mg
If patient does not tolerate 4 mg test dose: Third test dose: 3 mg
If patient tolerates 3 mg test dose: Starting dose: 2 mg as needed for “off” episodes; after a few days, may increase dose up to 3 mg
If therapy is interrupted for >1 week, restart at 2 mg and gradually titrate dose.
Note: Medical supervision is required for all test doses with standing and supine blood pressure monitoring predose and 20-, 40-, and 60 minutes postdose (and after 60 minutes, if there is significant hypotension at 60 minutes). If subsequent test doses are required, wait >2 hours before another test dose is given; next test dose should be timed with another “off” episode. If a single dose is ineffective for a particular “off” episode, then a second dose should not be given. The average dosing frequency was 3 times/day in the development program with limited experience in dosing >5 times/day, single doses >6 mg, and with total daily doses >20 mg.
Refer to adult dosing.
Dosing: Renal Impairment
Mild-to-moderate impairment: Initial test dose: 1 mg; Starting dose: 1 mg as needed
Severe impairment: There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer's labeling (has not been studied).
Dosing: Hepatic Impairment
Mild-to-moderate impairment: No dosage adjustment necessary; use caution
Severe impairment: There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer's labeling (has not been studied).
SubQ: For subcutaneous administration only; do not administer IV (thrombus formation or pulmonary embolism may occur due to IV crystallization). Administer in abdomen, upper arm, or upper leg; change site with each injection. Three mL cartridges are used with a manual, reusable, multidose injector pen. Injector pen can deliver doses up to 1 mL in 0.02 mL increments.
Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions are permitted between 15°C and 30°C (59°F and 86°F).
Alfuzosin: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Alizapride: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist). Avoid combination
Amifostine: Blood Pressure Lowering Agents may enhance the hypotensive effect of Amifostine. Management: When amifostine is used at chemotherapy doses, blood pressure lowering medications should be withheld for 24 hours prior to amifostine administration. If blood pressure lowering therapy cannot be withheld, amifostine should not be administered. Consider therapy modification
Amisulpride: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist). Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist) may diminish the therapeutic effect of Amisulpride. Avoid combination
Antiemetics (5HT3 Antagonists): May enhance the hypotensive effect of Apomorphine. Avoid combination
Antipsychotic Agents (First Generation [Typical]): May diminish the therapeutic effect of Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist). Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist) may diminish the therapeutic effect of Antipsychotic Agents (First Generation [Typical]). Management: Avoid concomitant therapy if possible and monitor for decreased effects of both agents when these combinations cannot be avoided. Atypical antipsychotics such as clozapine and quetiapine may be less likely to reduce the effects of anti-Parkinson agents. Consider therapy modification
Antipsychotic Agents (Second Generation [Atypical]): May diminish the therapeutic effect of Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist). Management: Consider using an alternative antipsychotic agent when possible in patients with Parkinson disease. If an atypical antipsychotic is necessary, consider using clozapine or quetiapine, which may convey the lowest interaction risk. Consider therapy modification
Barbiturates: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Blood Pressure Lowering Agents: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Hypotension-Associated Agents. Monitor therapy
Brimonidine (Topical): May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Bromopride: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist). Monitor therapy
Bromperidol: Blood Pressure Lowering Agents may enhance the hypotensive effect of Bromperidol. Bromperidol may diminish the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Avoid combination
BuPROPion: Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist) may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of BuPROPion. Monitor therapy
COMT Inhibitors: May decrease the metabolism of COMT Substrates. Monitor therapy
Diazoxide: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
DULoxetine: Blood Pressure Lowering Agents may enhance the hypotensive effect of DULoxetine. Monitor therapy
Herbs (Hypotensive Properties): May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Hypotension-Associated Agents: Blood Pressure Lowering Agents may enhance the hypotensive effect of Hypotension-Associated Agents. Monitor therapy
Levodopa: Blood Pressure Lowering Agents may enhance the hypotensive effect of Levodopa. Monitor therapy
Lormetazepam: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Methylphenidate: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist). Monitor therapy
Metoclopramide: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist). Monitor therapy
Molsidomine: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Naftopidil: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Nicergoline: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Nicorandil: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Nitroprusside: Blood Pressure Lowering Agents may enhance the hypotensive effect of Nitroprusside. Monitor therapy
Obinutuzumab: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Management: Consider temporarily withholding blood pressure lowering medications beginning 12 hours prior to obinutuzumab infusion and continuing until 1 hour after the end of the infusion. Consider therapy modification
Pentoxifylline: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Pholcodine: Blood Pressure Lowering Agents may enhance the hypotensive effect of Pholcodine. Monitor therapy
Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Prostacyclin Analogues: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
QT-prolonging Agents (Highest Risk): QT-prolonging Agents (Indeterminate Risk - Caution) may enhance the QTc-prolonging effect of QT-prolonging Agents (Highest Risk). Management: Monitor for QTc interval prolongation and ventricular arrhythmias when these agents are combined. Patients with additional risk factors for QTc prolongation may be at even higher risk. Monitor therapy
Quinagolide: May enhance the hypotensive effect of Blood Pressure Lowering Agents. Monitor therapy
Sulpiride: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Anti-Parkinson Agents (Dopamine Agonist). Avoid combination
Note: Frequency not always defined.
Cardiovascular: Angina pectoris (15%), chest pain (15%), chest pressure (15%)
Central nervous system: Drowsiness (35%), dizziness (20%), orthostatic hypotension (20%)
Gastrointestinal: Nausea (30%), vomiting (30%)
Neuromuscular & skeletal: Dyskinesia (24% to 35%), falling (30%)
Respiratory: Yawning (40%), rhinorrhea (20%)
1% to 10%:
Cardiovascular: Edema (10%), vasodilatation (3%), hypotension (2%), syncope (2%), cardiac failure
Central nervous system: Confusion (10%), hallucinations (10%), anxiety, depression, fatigue, headache, insomnia, pain
Endocrine & metabolic: Dehydration
Gastrointestinal: Constipation, diarrhea
Local: Injection site reaction
Neuromuscular & skeletal: Arthralgia, weakness
<1%, postmarketing, and/or case reports: Aggressive behavior, agitation, cardiac arrest, confusion, hemolytic anemia (combination therapy, Colosimo 1994; Frankel 1990), impulse control disorder, impulsivity, increased libido, myocardial infarction, panniculitis (focal), paranoia, priapism, psychosis (acute)
Concerns related to adverse effects:
• GI effects: Severe nausea and vomiting may occur. Pretreatment with antiemetic (eg, trimethobenzamide) is necessary and should be started 3 days prior to initiation of therapy and continued only as long as necessary to control nausea/vomiting, and generally no longer than 2 months. Trimethobenzamide increases the risk of somnolence, dizziness, and falls. Avoid use of antidopaminergic antiemetic agents (eg, promethazine, prochlorperazine, chlorpromazine, metoclopramide, haloperidol).
• Hallucinations/psychosis: May cause hallucinations or psychotic-like behavior or thoughts (eg, paranoia, delusions, confusion, disorientation, aggression, agitation, delirium) which may be severe; avoid in patients with major psychotic disorders.
• Hypersensitivity: If a hypersensitivity/allergic reaction to apomorphine occurs, discontinue therapy and do not rechallenge.
• Impulse control disorders: Has been associated with compulsive behaviors and/or loss of impulse control, which has manifested as pathological gambling, libido increases (hypersexuality), binge eating, and/or other intense urges. Dose reduction or discontinuation of therapy has been reported to reverse these behaviors in some, but not all cases.
• Melanoma: Risk for melanoma development is increased in Parkinson disease patients; drug causation or factors contributing to risk have not been established. Patients should be monitored closely and periodic skin examinations should be performed.
• Orthostatic hypotension/syncope: May cause orthostatic hypotension, especially during dose escalation, and syncope. Parkinson disease patients appear to have an impaired capacity to respond to a postural challenge. Use with caution in patients at risk of hypotension (such as those receiving antihypertensive drugs or concomitant ethanol consumption) or where transient hypotensive episodes would be poorly tolerated (cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease). Carefully monitor for signs and symptoms of postural hypotension (especially during dose escalation). Avoid ethanol during therapy.
• Pleural/retroperitoneal fibrosis: Ergot-derived dopamine agonists have also been associated with fibrotic complications (eg, retroperitoneal fibrosis, pleural thickening, cardiac valvulopathy, and pulmonary infiltrates); monitor closely for signs and symptoms of fibrosis; effects may or may not be reversible.
• Priapism: Has been reported; severe priapism may require medical attention.
• Somnolence: Somnolence and falling asleep while engaging in activities of daily living, without prior warning signs, has been reported. Monitor for daytime somnolence or preexisting sleep disorder; caution with concomitant sedating medication; discontinue if significant daytime sleepiness or episodes of falling asleep occur. Patients must be cautioned about performing tasks which require mental alertness (eg, operating machinery or driving). Use with caution in patients receiving other CNS depressants or psychoactive agents. Effects with other sedative drugs or ethanol may be potentiated.
• Cardiovascular disease: Use with caution in patients with cardiovascular disease; hypotension may cause coronary ischemia.
• Cerebrovascular disease: Use with caution in patients with cerebrovascular disease; hypotension may cause cerebral ischemia.
• Dyskinesias: Use with caution in patients with preexisting dyskinesias; may be exacerbated.
• Hepatic impairment: Use with caution in patients with hepatic impairment.
• Renal impairment: Use with caution in patients with renal impairment.
Concurrent drug therapy issues:
• Drug-drug interactions: Potentially significant interactions may exist, requiring dose or frequency adjustment, additional monitoring, and/or selection of alternative therapy. Consult drug interactions database for more detailed information.
• Elderly: Adverse effects (confusion and hallucinations), some serious, are reported more frequently in patients ≥65 years; use with caution.
• Patients at risk for torsades de pointes: Use with caution in patients with risk factors for torsades de pointes (hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, bradycardia, concurrent use of drugs that prolong QTc, or genetic predisposition).
Dosage form specific issues:
• Benzyl alcohol: Injection may contain benzyl alcohol which has been associated with "gasping syndrome" in neonates.
• Metabisulfite: Contains metabisulfite which may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
• Abuse: Rare cases of abuse have been reported.
• Appropriate administration: Do not give intravenously; thrombus formation or pulmonary embolism may occur.
• Discontinuation of therapy: Dopaminergic agents have been associated with a syndrome resembling neuroleptic malignant syndrome (eg, hyperpyrexia, confusion) on abrupt withdrawal or significant dosage reduction after long-term use.
• Falling: Patients with Parkinson disease are at risk of falling; apomorphine may increase this risk.
Supine and standing blood pressure and pulse predose and 20, 40, and 60 minutes postdose with each test dose; signs and symptoms of orthostatic hypotension; drowsiness or sleepiness; mental status and behavioral changes; periodic skin examinations.
Adverse events have been observed in animal reproduction studies.
• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)
• Patient may experience headache, rhinorrhea, yawning, injection site irritation, joint pain, insomnia, back pain, loss of strength and energy, constipation, diarrhea, or fatigue. Have patient report immediately to prescriber signs of a urinary tract infection (hematuria, burning or painful urination, polyuria, fever, lower abdominal pain, or pelvic pain), signs of dehydration (dry skin, dry mouth, dry eyes, increased thirst, tachycardia, dizziness, fast breathing, or confusion), signs of severe cerebrovascular disease (change in strength on one side is greater than the other, difficulty speaking or thinking, change in balance, or vision changes), severe dizziness, passing out, confusion, severe nausea, vomiting, skin growths, mole changes, uncontrollable urges, mood changes, behavioral changes, abnormal movements, hallucinations, sweating a lot, abnormal heartbeat, shortness of breath, excessive weight gain, swelling of arms or legs, angina, bruising, skin discoloration, narcolepsy, tachycardia, or priapism (HCAHPS).
• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.
Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- Drug class: dopaminergic antiparkinsonism agents
Other brands: Apokyn