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Related to Apokyn: Apomorphine hydrochloride

apomorphine hydrochloride

APO-go (UK), Apokyn

Pharmacologic class: Dopaminergic, dopamine-receptor agonist

Therapeutic class: Antiparkinsonian

Pregnancy risk category C


Unclear. May stimulate postsynaptic dopamine D2-type receptors in caudate-putamen of brain.


Ampules: 10 mg/ml in 2- and 3-ml cartridges

Indications and dosages

Acute intermittent treatment of hypomobility and "off" ("end-of-dose wearing off" and unpredictable "on/off") episodes associated with Parkinson's disease

Adults: 0.2-ml (2-mg) test dose injected subcutaneously during "off" state in setting where medical personnel can monitor blood pressure. If patient tolerates test dose, give 0.2 ml subcutaneously p.r.n. to treat "off" episodes no sooner than 2 hours after previous dose. Establish dosage based on tolerance and efficacy; increase in 0.1-ml (1 mg) increments, usually to 0.3 to 0.4 ml. Maximum dosage, 0.6 ml up to five times daily.

Patient who tolerates but doesn't respond to test dose may receive 0.4 ml (4 mg) at next observed "off" period, but no sooner than 2 hours after initial 0.2-ml test dose. If patient tolerates 0.4-ml test dose, give starting dosage of 0.3 ml (3 mg) p.r.n. to treat "off" episodes. If needed, increase in increments of 0.1 ml every few days on outpatient basis.

If patient doesn't tolerate 0.4-ml test dose, 0.3-ml test dose may be given during separate "off" period no sooner than 2 hours after 0.4-ml test dose.

If patient tolerates 0.3-ml test dose, starting dosage should be 0.2 ml p.r.n. to treat existing "off" episodes. If needed and if patient tolerates 0.2-ml dose, dosage can be increased to 0.3 ml after several days; in this case, it ordinarily shouldn't be increased to 0.4 ml on outpatient basis.

Dosage adjustment

• Mild or moderate renal impairment


• Hypersensitivity to drug or its components

• Concurrent use of 5-hydroxytryptamine3 (5-HT3) antagonists (such as alosetron, dolasetron, granisetron, ondansetron, palonosetron)


Use cautiously in:

• renal or hepatic impairment

• pregnant or breastfeeding patients

• children (safety and efficacy not established).


• If prescribed, give trimethobenzamide (antiemetic) for 3 days before starting apomorphine and continuing throughout therapy.

• Give only by subcutaneous injection.

Don't give I.V. because this may cause serious adverse events, such as I.V. crystallization of apomorphine, leading to thrombus formation and pulmonary embolism.

• Titrate dosage based on efficacy and patient tolerance.

• Check supine and standing blood pressure before giving test dose and 20, 40, and 60 minutes after. If patient experiences clinically significant orthostatic hypotension in response to test dose, don't give drug.

Adverse reactions

CNS: drowsiness, somnolence, dizziness, hallucinations, confusion, syncope, dyskinesias

CV: orthostatic hypotension, chest pain, chest pressure, angina, cardiac valvulopathy

EENT: rhinorrhea

GI: nausea, vomiting, retroperitoneal fibrosis

GU: priapism

Respiratory: pulmonary infiltrates, pleural effusion, pleural thickening

Other: yawning, edema of extremities, injection site reactions, abuse potential, allergic reactions


Drug-drug. Antihypertensive agents, vasodilators: increased incidence of hypotension, myocardial infarction, serious pneumonia, serious falls, bone and joint injuries

Dopamine antagonists: decreased apomorphine efficacy

5-HT3 antagonists: profound hypotension

Drug-behaviors. Alcohol use: additive drowsiness and somnolence

Patient monitoring

• Monitor for serious cardiovascular and respiratory adverse reactions.

• Monitor for unexpected somnolence, which may interfere with daily activities.

Patient teaching

• Instruct patient to take drug as described in patient instruction leaflet.

• Make sure patient knows that dosages are in milliliters, not milligrams.

• Instruct patient to rotate injection site.

• Inform patient that drug may cause hallucinations and unexpected sleepiness.

• Tell patient that drug may cause blood pressure to drop. Caution him to rise slowly from sitting or lying position.

• Urge patient to consult prescriber before taking other drugs.

• Caution patient not to use alcohol during therapy.

• Advise patient to avoid driving and other hazardous activities until drug effects are known.

• As appropriate, review all other significant adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs mentioned above.


(a-po-mor-feen) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: antiparkinson agents
Pharmacologic: dopamine agonists
Pregnancy Category: C


Acute, intermittent treatment of hypomotility, “off” episodes due to advanced Parkinson's disease.


Stimulation of specific dopamine receptors improves motor function.

Therapeutic effects

Improved motor function.


Absorption: Well absorbed (100%) following subcut administration.
Distribution: Enters CSF.
Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown.
Half-life: 40 min.

Time/action profile (blood levels)

subcutrapid10–60 min2 hr


Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity to apomorphine or bisulfites; Concurrent use of 5HT3 antagonists (granisetron, ondansetron, palonosetron, alosetron, dolasetron); Major psychotic disorder (may exacerbate condition); Lactation: May appear in human milk; discontinue medication or discontinue breast-feeding.
Use Cautiously in: Hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, bradycardia, congenital QTc prolongation or concurrent use of drugs causing QTc prolongation (↑ risk of serious arrhythmias); Mild to moderate renal impairment (↓ starting dose); Mild to moderate hepatic impairment; Obstetric: Use only if clearly needed; Pediatric: Safety not established; Geriatric: ↑ risk of confusion/hallucinations, falls, and cardiac, respiratory, and gastrointestinal events.
Exercise Extreme Caution in: Cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease (may exacerbate condition).

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • dizziness (most frequent)
  • hallucinations (most frequent)
  • somnolence (most frequent)
  • aggressive behavior
  • agitation
  • confusion
  • delirium
  • delusions
  • disorientation
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • paranoid ideation
  • urges (gambling, sexual)

Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat

  • rhinorrhea (most frequent)


  • cardiac arrest (life-threatening)
  • chest pain (most frequent)
  • hypotension (most frequent)
  • angina
  • HF
  • QTc prolongation


  • nausea (most frequent)
  • vomiting (most frequent)


  • priapism


  • flushing (most frequent)
  • pallor (most frequent)
  • sweating (most frequent)
  • melanoma


  • injection site pain


  • arthralgia
  • back pain
  • limb pain


  • aggravation of Parkinson's disease
  • dyskinesia


  • yawning (most frequent)


Drug-Drug interaction

Profound hypotension, loss of consciousness occurs with 5-HT3 antagonists.↑ risk of hypotension with alcohol, antihypertensives, vasodilators, especially nitrates.Dopamine antagonists, including neuroleptics and metoclopramide may ↓ efficacy.Drugs that prolong the QT interval may ↑ risk of QT interval prolongation.


Subcutaneous (Adults) Test dose—0.2 mL (2 mg); with further assessment and monitoring, doses should be titrated at 0.1 mL (1 mg) less than highest tolerated dose. Doses may be ↑ by 0.1 mL (1 mg) every few days as an outpatient or no more frequently than every 2 hours in a supervised setting. Only single doses should be used during a particular off period. If more than one week passes between doses, titration should be restarted at the 0.2 mL (2 mg) level. Doses should not exceed 0.6 mL (6 mg).


Solution for injection (contains bisulfites): 10 mg/mL

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess for nausea and vomiting; severe with recommended doses. Premedicate with an antiemetic prior to and for at least the first 2 mo of therapy. Do not administer 5-HT3 antagonist; results in profound hypotension and loss of consciousness.
  • Monitor BP standing and lying during dose titration. Orthostatic hypotension may occur any time during therapy but occurs more frequently during initial therapy or with a dose increase.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Risk for injury (Adverse Reactions)


  • Always prime the APOKYN pen before every injection and after loading a new cartridge.
    • Never dial the dose or attempt to correct a dialing error with the BD pen needle in the skin, as this may result in an incorrect dose.
    • Do not store or carry APOKYN pen with a pen needle attached. Use a new sterile BD pen needle with each injection.
  • Subcutaneous: Administer subcutaneously into stomach, upper arm, or upper leg. Pinch skin with finger and thumb and insert needle all the way into pinched skin. Push the injection button until a clicking sound is heard, and hold button for 5 min and gently rub injection site. Rotate site with each injection. Do not inject into skin that is red, sore, infected, or damaged. Solution should be clear and colorless; do not administer solution that is cloudy, green, or contains particles. Do not administer IV.
    • Store apomorphine at room temperature. Syringes can be filled from ampules the night before and stored in the refrigerator until next day.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Provide patient and caregiver with detailed instructions on preparation and injection of dose, use of dosing pen, storage, and disposal of equipment. Advise patient to read the Patient Package Insert and Directions for Use. Medication is dosed in mL, not mg. A dose of 1 mg is represented on dosing pen as 0.1 mL (1.0 mL equals 10 mg). Caution patient that apomorphine is not used to prevent “off” episodes and does not take the place of other medications for Parkinson's disease.
  • Advise patient to change positions slowly to prevent orthostatic hypotension. Caution patient to avoid drinking alcohol; will increase hypotensive effects of apomorphine.
  • May cause sudden bouts of falling asleep during activities of daily living. Advise patient to notify health care professional if daytime sleepiness occurs and to avoid other medications that cause drowsiness. May require discontinuation of apomorphine. Caution patients to avoid alcohol and other medications that cause sedation and to avoid driving and other activities requiring alertness until response to medication is known.
  • Caution patients that psychotic-like behavior including hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real), confusion, excessive suspicion, aggressive behavior, agitation, delusional beliefs (believing things that are not real), and disorganized thinking may occur or worsen. Notify health care professional if this occurs.
  • Advise patient to notify health care professional if or new or increased gambling, sexual, or other intense urges occur.
  • Advise patient to have periodic skin exams to check for lesions that may be melanoma.
  • Instruct patient to notify health care professional of all Rx or OTC medications, vitamins, or herbal products being taken and consult health care professional before taking any new medications.
  • Advise patients to notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or suspected or if breast feeding.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Improvement in ability to control movements when used during an “off” episode of Parkinson's disease. May improve ability to walk, talk, or move around.


a trademark for apomorphine.
References in periodicals archive ?
The UK company will pay more than one time the 2010 sales of Apokyn to Ipsen for the US rights.
The sole serious complication revolved a patient who experienced syncope and sinus arrest 16 minutes after receiving Apokyn.
We're proud to partner with Bertek to provide convenient distribution of Apokyn," asserts Greg Weishar, president and chief executive officer of PharmaCare, a subsidiary of CVS Corp.
Commercial opportunity for reformulating apomorphine was timely because the Orphan status of Apokyn was expiring in April 2011.