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Brevibloc (Esmolol Hydrochloride) - Warnings and Precautions




Hypotension can occur at any dose but is dose-related. Patients with hemodynamic compromise or on interacting medications are at particular risk. Severe reactions may include loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, and death. For control of ventricular heart rate, maintenance doses greater than 200 mcg per kg per min are not recommended. Monitor patients closely, especially if pretreatment blood pressure is low. In case of an unacceptable drop in blood pressure, reduce or stop BREVIBLOC injection. Decrease of dose or termination of infusion reverses hypotension, usually within 30 minutes.


Bradycardia, including sinus pause, heart block, severe bradycardia, and cardiac arrest have occurred with the use of BREVIBLOC injection. Patients with first-degree atrioventricular block, sinus node dysfunction, or conduction disorders may be at increased risk. Monitor heart rate and rhythm in patients receiving BREVIBLOC [see Contraindications].

If severe bradycardia develops, reduce or stop BREVIBLOC.

Cardiac Failure

Beta blockers, like BREVIBLOC injection, can cause depression of myocardial contractility and may precipitate heart failure and cardiogenic shock. At the first sign or symptom of impending cardiac failure, stop BREVIBLOC and start supportive therapy [see Overdosage].

Intraoperative and Postoperative Tachycardia and/or Hypertension

Monitor vital signs closely and titrate BREVIBLOC slowly in the treatment of patients whose blood pressure is primarily driven by vasoconstriction associated with hypothermia.

Reactive Airways Disease

Patients with reactive airways disease should, in general, not receive beta blockers. Because of its relative beta1 selectivity and titratability, titrate BREVIBLOC to the lowest possible effective dose. In the event of bronchospasm, stop the infusion immediately; a beta2 stimulating agent may be administered with appropriate monitoring of ventricular rates.

Use in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus and Hypoglycemia

In patients with hypoglycemia, or diabetic patients (especially those with labile diabetes) who are receiving insulin or other hypoglycemic agents, beta blockers may mask tachycardia occurring with hypoglycemia, but other manifestations such as dizziness and sweating may not be masked.

Concomitant use of beta blockers and antidiabetic agents can enhance the effect of antidiabetic agents (blood glucose-lowering).

Infusion Site Reactions

Infusion site reactions have occurred with the use of BREVIBLOC injection. They include irritation, inflammation, and severe reactions (thrombophlebitis, necrosis, and blistering), in particular when associated with extravasation [see Adverse Reactions]. Avoid infusions into small veins or through a butterfly catheter.

If a local infusion site reaction develops, use an alternative infusion site and avoid extravasation.

Use in Patients with Prinzmetal's Angina

Beta blockers may exacerbate anginal attacks in patients with Prinzmetal's angina because of unopposed alpha receptor-mediated coronary artery vasoconstriction. Do not use nonselective beta blockers.

Use in Patients with Pheochromocytoma

If BREVIBLOC is used in the setting of pheochromocytoma, give it in combination with an alpha-blocker, and only after the alpha-blocker has been initiated. Administration of beta-blockers alone in the setting of pheochromocytoma has been associated with a paradoxical increase in blood pressure from the attenuation of beta-mediated vasodilation in skeletal muscle.

Use in Hypovolemic Patients

In hypovolemic patients, BREVIBLOC injection can attenuate reflex tachycardia and increase the risk of hypotension.

Use in Patients with Peripheral Circulatory Disorders

In patients with peripheral circulatory disorders (including Raynaud's disease or syndrome, and peripheral occlusive vascular disease), BREVIBLOC may aggravate peripheral circulatory disorders.

Abrupt Discontinuation of BREVIBLOC Injection

Severe exacerbations of angina, myocardial infarction, and ventricular arrhythmias have been reported in patients with coronary artery disease upon abrupt discontinuation of beta blocker therapy. Observe patients for signs of myocardial ischemia when discontinuing BREVIBLOC.

Heart rate increases moderately above pretreatment levels 30 minutes after BREVIBLOC discontinuation.


Beta blockers, including BREVIBLOC, have been associated with increases in serum potassium levels and hyperkalemia. The risk is increased in patients with risk factors such as renal impairment. Intravenous administration of beta blockers has been reported to cause potentially life-threatening hyperkalemia in hemodialysis patients. Monitor serum electrolytes during therapy with BREVIBLOC.

Use in Patients with Metabolic Acidosis

Beta blockers, including BREVIBLOC, have been reported to cause hyperkalemic renal tubular acidosis. Acidosis in general may be associated with reduced cardiac contractility.

Use in Patients with Hyperthyroidism

Beta-adrenergic blockade may mask certain chemical signs (e.g., tachycardia) of hyperthyroidism. Abrupt withdrawal of beta blockade might precipitate a thyroid storm; therefore, monitor patients for signs of thyrotoxicosis when withdrawing beta blocking therapy.

Use in Patients at Risk of Severe Acute Hypersensitivity Reactions

When using beta blockers, patients at risk of anaphylactic reactions may be more reactive to allergen exposure (accidental, diagnostic, or therapeutic).

Patients using beta blockers may be unresponsive to the usual doses of epinephrine used to treat anaphylactic or anaphylactoid reactions [see Drug Interactions].



Pregnancy Category C. Esmolol hydrochloride has been shown to produce increased fetal resorptions with minimal maternal toxicity in rabbits when given in doses approximately 8 times the maximum human maintenance dose (300 mcg/kg/min). There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. BREVIBLOC injection should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Teratogenicity studies in rats at intravenous dosages of esmolol hydrochloride up to 3000 mcg/kg/min (10 times the maximum human maintenance dosage) for 30 minutes daily produced no evidence of maternal toxicity, embryotoxicity or teratogenicity, while a dosage of 10,000 mcg/kg/min produced maternal toxicity and lethality. In rabbits, intravenous dosages up to 1000 mcg/kg/min for 30 minutes daily produced no evidence of maternal toxicity, embryotoxicity or teratogenicity, while 2500 mcg/kg/min produced minimal maternal toxicity and increased fetal resorptions.

Labor and Delivery

Although there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women, use of esmolol in the last trimester of pregnancy or during labor or delivery has been reported to cause fetal bradycardia, which continued after termination of drug infusion. BREVIBLOC injection should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from BREVIBLOC, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of BREVIBLOC in pediatric patients have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of BREVIBLOC injection did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they responded differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should usually start at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting greater frequency of decreased renal or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

Hepatic Impairment

No special precautions are necessary in patients with hepatic impairment because BREVIBLOC is metabolized by red-blood cell esterases [see Clinical Pharmacology].

Renal Impairment

No dosage adjustment is required for esmolol in patients with renal impairment receiving a maintenance infusion of esmolol 150 mcg/kg for 4 hours. There is no information on the tolerability of maintenance infusions of esmolol using rates in excess of 150 mcg/kg or maintained longer than 4 hours [see Clinical Pharmacology].

Page last updated: 2014-03-18

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