Apomorphine should be given with caution to patients with renal, pulmonary or cardiovascular disease and persons prone to nausea and vomiting.
Extra caution is recommended during initiation of therapy in elderly and/or debilitated patients.
Since apomorphine may produce hypotension, even when given with domperidone pre-treatment, care should be exercised in patients with pre-existing cardiac disease or in patients taking vasoactive medicinal products such as antihypertensives, and especially in patients with pre-existing postural hypotension.
Since apomorphine, especially at high dose, may have the potential for QT prolongation, caution should be exercised when treating patients at risk for torsades de pointes arrhythmia.
When used in combination with domperidone, risk factors in the individual patient should be carefully assessed. This should be done before treatment initiation, and during treatment. Important risk factors include serious underlying heart conditions such as congestive cardiac failure, severe hepatic impairment or significant electrolyte disturbance. Also medication possibly affecting electrolyte balance, CYP3A4 metabolism or QT interval should be assessed. Monitoring for an effect on the QTc interval is advisable. An ECG should be performed:
- Prior to treatment with domperidone
- During the treatment initiation phase
- As clinically indicated thereafter
The patient should be instructed to report possible cardiac symptoms including palpitations, syncope, or near-syncope. They should also report clinical changes that could lead to hypokalaemia, such as gastroenteritis or the initiation of diuretic therapy. At each medical visit, risk factors should be revisited.
Apomorphine is associated with local subcutaneous effects. These can sometimes be reduced by the rotation of injection sites or possibly by the use of ultrasound (if available) in order to avoid areas of nodularity and induration.
Haemolytic anaemia and thrombocytopenia have been reported in patients treated with apomorphine. Haematology tests should be undertaken at regular intervals as with levodopa, when given concomitantly with apomorphine.
Caution is advised when combining apomorphine with other medicinal products, especially those with a narrow therapeutic range.
Neuropsychiatric problems co-exist in many patients with advanced Parkinson's disease. There is evidence that for some patients neuropsychiatric disturbances may be exacerbated by apomorphine. Special care should be exercised when apomorphine is used in these patients.
Apomorphine has been associated with somnolence and episodes of sudden sleep onset, particularly in patients with Parkinson's disease. Patients must be informed of this and advised to exercise caution whilst driving or operating machines during treatment with apomorphine. Patients who have experienced somnolence and/or an episode of sudden sleep onset must refrain from driving or operating machines. Furthermore, a reduction of dosage may be considered.
Patients should be regularly monitored for the development of impulse control disorders. Patients and carers should be made aware that behavioural symptoms of impulse control disorders including pathological gambling, increased libido, hypersexuality, compulsive spending or buying, binge eating and compulsive eating can occur in patients treated with dopamine agonists including apomorphine. Dose reduction/tapered discontinuation should be considered if such symptoms develop.
APO-go® PUMP contains sodium metabisulphite which may rarely cause severe allergic reactions and bronchospasm. This medicinal product contains less than 1 mmol sodium (23 mg) per 10ml, i.e. essentially “sodium-free”.