PRECAUTIONS General As with any potent general anesthetic isoflurane should only be administered in an adequately equipped anesthetizing environment by those who are familiar with the pharmacology of the drug and qualified by training and experience to manage the anesthetized patient. Regardless of the anesthetics employed, maintenance of normal hemodynamics is important to the avoidance of myocardial ischemia in patients with coronary artery disease Isoflurane, like some other inhalational anesthetics, can react with desiccated carbon dioxide (CO2) absorbents to produce carbon monoxide which may result in elevated levels of carboxyhemoglobin in some patients. Case reports suggest that barium hydroxide lime and soda lime become desiccated when fresh gases are passed through the CO2 absorber cannister at high flow rates over many hours or days. When a clinician suspects that CO2 absorbent may be desiccated, it should be replaced before the administration of isoflurane. As with other halogenated anesthetic agents, isoflurane may cause sensitivity hepatitis in patients who have been sensitized by previous exposure to halogenated anesthetics (see CONTRAINDICATIONS ). Information for Patients Isoflurane, as well as other general anesthetics, may cause a slight decrease in intellectual function for 2 or 3 days following anesthesia. As with other anesthetics, small changes in moods and symptoms may persist for up to 6 days after administration. Effect of anesthetic and sedation drugs on early brain development Studies conducted in young animals and children suggest repeated or prolonged use of general anesthetic or sedation drugs in children younger than 3 years may have negative effects on their developing brains. Discuss with parents and caregivers the benefits, risks, and timing and duration of surgery or procedures requiring anesthetic and sedation drugs (See WARNINGS/Pediatric Neurotoxicity ). Laboratory Tests Transient increases in BSP retention, blood glucose and serum creatinine with decrease in BUN, serum cholesterol and alkaline phosphatase have been observed. Drug Interactions Isoflurane potentiates the muscle relaxant effect of all muscle relaxants, most notably nondepolarizing muscle relaxants, and MAC (minimum alveolar concentration) is reduced by concomitant administration of N2O. See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY . Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility Carcinogenesis Swiss ICR mice were given isoflurane to determine whether such exposure might induce neoplasia. Isoflurane was given at 1/2, 1/8 and 1/32 MAC for four in-utero exposures and for 24 exposures to the pups during the first nine weeks of life. The mice were killed at 15 months of age. The incidence of tumors in these mice was the same as in untreated control mice which were given the same background gases, but not the anesthetic. Mutagenesis Isoflurane was negative in the in vivo mouse micronucleus and in vitro human lymphocyte chromosomal aberration assay. In published studies, isoflurane was negative in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay (Ames test) in all strains tested (Salmonella typhimurium strains TA98, TA100, and TA1535) in the presence or absence of metabolic activation. Impairment of Fertility Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to isoflurane at concentrations of 0%, 0.15%, and 0.60% (0, 1/8, and 1/2 MAC) 2 hours per day for 14 consecutive days prior to mating. Isoflurane had no effects on either male or female fertility. Pregnancy Risk Summary There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. In animal reproduction studies, embrofetal toxicity was noted in pregnant mice exposed to 0.075% (increased post implantation losses) and 0.3% isoflurane (increased post implantation losses and decreased live-birth index) during organogenesis. Published studies in pregnant primates demonstrate that the administration of anesthetic and sedation drugs that block NMDA receptors and/or potentiate GABA activity during the period of peak brain development increases neuronal apoptosis in the developing brain of the offspring when used for longer than 3 hours. There are no data on pregnancy exposures in primates corresponding to periods prior to the third trimester in humans [See Data]. The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2-4% and 15-20%, respectively. Data Animal Data Pregnant rats were exposed to isoflurane at concentrations of 0%, 0.1%, or 0.4% for two hours per day during organogenesis (Gestational Days 6-15). Isoflurane did not cause malformations or clear maternal toxicity under these conditions. Pregnant mice exposed to isoflurane at concentrations of 0%, 0.075%, or 0.30% for 2 hours per day during organogenesis (Gestational Days 6-15). Isoflurane increased fetal toxicity (higher post implantation losses at 0.075 and 0.3% groups and significantly lower live-birth index in the 0.3% isoflurane treatment group). Isoflurane did not cause malformations or clear maternal toxicity under these conditions. Pregnant rats were exposed to concentrations of isoflurane at 0%, 0.1%, or 0.4% for 2 hours per day during late gestation (GD 15-20). Animals appeared slightly sedated during exposure. No adverse effects on the offspring or evidence of maternal toxicity were reported. This study did not evaluate neurobehavioral function including learning and memory in the first generation (F1) of pups. In a published study in primates, administration of an anesthetic dose of ketamine for 24 hours on Gestation Day 122 increased neuronal apoptosis in the developing brain of the fetus. In other published studies, administration of either isoflurane or propofol for 5 hours on Gestation Day 120 resulted in increased neuronal and oligodendrocyte apoptosis in the developing brain of the offspring. With respect to brain development, this time period corresponds to the third trimester of gestation in the human. The clinical significance of these findings is not clear; however, studies in juvenile animals suggest neuroapoptosis correlates with long-term cognitive deficits (See WARNINGS/ Pediatric Neurotoxicity , PRECAUTIONS/ Pediatric Use , and ANIMAL TOXICOLOGY AND/OR PHARMACOLOGY ). Nursing Mothers It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when isoflurane is administered to a nursing woman. Pediatric Use Published juvenile animal studies demonstrate that the administration of anesthetic and sedation drugs, such as isoflurane, that either block NMDA receptors or potentiate the activity of GABA during the period of rapid brain growth or synaptogenesis, results in widespread neuronal and oligodendrocyte cell loss in the developing brain and alterations in synaptic morphology and neurogenesis. Based on comparisons across species, the window of vulnerability to these changes is believed to correlate with exposures in the third trimester of gestation through the first several months of life, but may extend out to approximately 3 years of age in humans. In primates, exposure to 3 hours of ketamine that produced a light surgical plane of anesthesia did not increase neuronal cell loss, however, treatment regimens of 5 hours or longer of isoflurane increased neuronal cell loss. Data from isoflurane-treated rodents and ketamine-treated primates suggest that the neuronal and oligodendrocyte cell losses are associated with prolonged cognitive deficits in learning and memory. The clinical significance of these nonclinical findings is not known, and healthcare providers should balance the benefits of appropriate anesthesia in pregnant women, neonates, and young children who require procedures with the potential risks suggested by the nonclinical data. (See WARNINGS/ Pediatric Neurotoxicity , PRECAUTIONS/ Pregnancy , and ANIMAL TOXICOLOGY AND/OR PHARMACOLOGY ).