FDA Approves Pediatric Use of Chemical Poisoning Treatment

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the pediatric use of Protopam Chloride (pralidoxime chloride), a drug used to treat poisoning by organophosphate pesticides and chemicals (e.g., nerve agents). The drug is approved to be administered either by intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injections.

"We know this drug has been widely used for many years to treat poisoning in pediatric patients in emergency situations," said Russell Katz, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Improving the drug's label with new dosing information for children will give health care professionals better guidance on how to use this drug safely and effectively."

Organophosphate pesticides are typically used in the farm setting and by professional exterminators. A person poisoned with organophosphate pesticides or chemicals (e.g., nerve agents) can have mild symptoms, such as a runny nose, teary eyes, or vomiting, to more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, weakness and convulsions. When chemical poisoning is suspected, medical attention should be sought immediately and the local poison control center should be contacted by dialing 800-222-1222, nationwide.

"It can be difficult to use IV drugs in children, particularly in emergency situations, so having the new option of IM injection may help health care professionals use this medicine quickly and accurately," said Dianne Murphy, M.D., director of the FDA's Office of Pediatric Therapeutics.

Protopam Chloride was approved by the FDA in 1964 to treat various types of pesticide and chemical poisoning in adults. The drug works as an antidote to pesticides and chemicals of the organophosphate class by slowing the attachment of the chemical to nerve endings.

Adverse reactions that have been reported in pediatric and adult use of the drug include: blurred vision, double vision, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, nausea, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate and increased blood pressure.

Protopam Chloride is made by Baxter Healthcare Corp., Deerfield, Ill.

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