Adenoscan (adenosine) is an injection medication that is used to dilate blood-vessels in the heart during a cardiac stress test. Unfortunately, the FDA has received 6 reports of heart attacks and 27 reports of death from Adenoscan between 1995 – 2013. In November 2013, the FDA strengthened warnings about the risk of heart attacks and death from Adenoscan.
What is Adenoscan?
Adenoscan (adinosine) is a medication that is used during cardiac stress tests, which are used to diagnose heart disease by testing blood-flow to the heart during exercise and at rest. About 50% of people who undergo a cardiac stress test are unable to use a treadmill or stationary bike, and they must be given a medication like Adenoscan, which stresses the heart without exercise.
Problems with Adenoscan and Cardiac Stress Tests
Adenoscan significantly increases blood-flow in coronary arteries (vessels that supply the heart muscle with oxygenated blood). In people who have obstructed or narrow coronary arteries, Adenoscan may cause blood to flow preferentially through healthy, unobstructed arteries. This can cut off the blood-flow to a narrow artery, which can cause a heart attack or death.
FDA Safety Warning for Adenoscan
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed their database of adverse events and found evidence linking Adenoscan and Lexiscan with heart attacks and death. Between May 18, 1995 and April 10, 2013, there were 6 heart attacks and 27 deaths following Adenoscan administration. Most of the injuries occurred within 6 hours. The FDA also found that a few deaths occurred when Adenoscan was used during exercise stress testing, which is not approved by the FDA.
Adenoscan Prescribing Information Updated
The Prescribing Information for Adenoscan carries the following warning about the risk of heart attacks and death:
“Fatal and nonfatal cardiac arrest, sustained ventricular tachycardia (requiring resuscitation), and myocardial infarction have occurred following Adenoscan infusion. Avoid use in patients with symptoms or signs of acute myocardial ischemia, for example, unstable angina or cardiovascular instability; these patients may be at greater risk of serious cardiovascular reactions to Adenoscan. Appropriate resuscitative measures should be available.”
Cardiovascular Adenoscan Side Effects
- Respiratory distress
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Low blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Reduced blood-flow to the heart
- Heart attack