Dexpanthenol is a synthetic version of pantothenic acid, which is a B complex vitamin found in a wide variety of plant and animal species. Dexpanthenol injections are administered to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and prevent and treat ileus after GI surgery. Dexpanthenol can also treat other GI conditions that involve impaired activity. This substance was approved by the FDA in 1948.
The exact method of action for dexpanthenol is not known. The substance serves as a required precursor for acetylcholine synthesis, which in turn generates parasympathetic activity that regulates gastrointestinal action.
Dexpanthenol can be administered by IV or intramuscular injection. The pharmacokinetics in humans are unknown.
Rare allergic reactions have been reported after administration of dexpanthenol injection in combination with antibiotics, narcotics, and barbiturates.
Dexpanthenol is a pregnancy risk category C drug. During pregnancy, use dexpanthenol only if treatment benefits outweigh potential risks. Clear study results are unavailable.
It is not known whether dexpanthenol can be distributed through breast milk. Caution should be exercised when dexpanthenol is administered to a woman who is breast-feeding. Weigh the risk of indant drug exposure against the risk of an untreated maternal condition. If a breast-feeding infant experiences an adverse effect related to a maternally ingested drug, healthcare providers should report the effect to the FDA.
Management of adynamic ileus may include the correction of any fluid and electrolyte imbalance (especially hypokalemia), anemia and hypoproteinemia. Use caution when treating infection, and avoid drugs which are known to decrease gastrointestinal motility.
If the ileus is secondary to a mechanical GI obstruction, prioritize treatment of the obstruction.
- Use dexpanthenol only if clearly needing during pregnancy; animal reproductive studies have not been conducted. Dexpanthenol is a FDA pregnancy risk category C drug.
- It is not known whether dexpanthenol is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when dexpanthenol is administered to a woman who is breast-feeding.1 Consider the benefits of breast-feeding, the risk of potential infant drug exposure, and the risk of an untreated or inadequately treated condition. If a breast-feeding infant experiences an adverse effect related to a maternally ingested drug, healthcare providers are encouraged to report the adverse effect to the FDA.
Use caution when administering dexpanthenol concurrent with drugs that decrease gastrointestinal motility, such as opiate agonists; this may blunt the effectiveness of dexpanthenol.
There has been one case report of respiratory depression following dexpanthenol administration.
In a separate study, two patients experienced vomiting and diarrhea after surgery and dexpanthenol administration.
Rare allergic reactions have been reported such as pruritus, urticaria, unspecified rash, tingling, and difficulty breathing. Dexpanthenol should be discontinued if this occurs.