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Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk in Treating Psychiatric Disorders
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment.
Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) show that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18 to 24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.
The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk differences (drug vs. placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1000 patients treated) are provided in Table 2.
Table 2: Risk Differences in the Number of Suicidality
Cases by Age Group in the Pooled Placebo-Controlled Trials of Antidepressants
in Pediatric and Adult Patients
|Age Range||Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated|
|Increases Compared to Placebo|
|< 18 years||14 additional cases|
|18–24 years||5 additional cases|
|Decrease Compared to Placebo|
|25–64 years||1 fewer case|
|≥ 65 years||6 fewer cases|
No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.
It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.
All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases [see BOXED WARNING and Use In Specific Populations].
The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.
Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms.
Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to health care providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for APLENZIN should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose. Families and caregivers of adults being treated for depression should be similarly advised.
Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Suicide Risk in Smoking Cessation Treatment
APLENZIN is not approved for smoking cessation treatment; however, bupropion HCl sustained-release is approved for this use. Serious neuropsychiatric symptoms have been reported in patients taking bupropion for smoking cessation. These have included changes in mood (including depression and mania), psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, homicidal ideation, hostility, agitation, aggression, anxiety, and panic, as well as suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide [see BOXED WARNING and ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Observe patients for the occurrence of neuropsychiatric reactions. Instruct patients to contact a healthcare professional if such reactions occur.
In many of these cases, a causal relationship to bupropion treatment is not certain, because depressed mood can be a symptom of nicotine withdrawal. However, some of the cases occurred in patients taking bupropion who continued to smoke.
APLENZIN can cause seizure. The risk of seizure is dose-related. The dose should not exceed 522 mg once daily. Increase the dose gradually. Discontinue APLENZIN and do not restart treatment if the patient experiences a seizure.
The risk of seizures is also related to patient factors, clinical situations, and concomitant medications that lower the seizure threshold. Consider these risks before initiating treatment with APLENZIN. APLENZIN is contraindicated in patients with a seizure disorder or conditions that increase the risk of seizure (e.g., severe head injury, arteriovenous malformation, CNS tumor or CNS infection, severe stroke, anorexia nervosa or bulimia, or abrupt discontinuation of alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and antiepileptic drugs [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. The following conditions can also increase the risk of seizure: concomitant use of other medications that lower the seizure threshold (e.g., other bupropion products, antipsychotics, tricyclic antidepressants, theophylline, and systemic corticosteroids), metabolic disorders (e.g., hypoglycemia, hyponatremia, severe hepatic impairment, and hypoxia), or use of illicit drugs (e.g., cocaine) or abuse or misuse of prescription drugs such as CNS stimulants. Additional predisposing conditions include diabetes mellitus treated with oral hypoglycemic drugs or insulin, use of anorectic drugs, excessive use of alcohol, benzodiazepines, sedative/hypnotics, or opiates.
Incidence of Seizure with Bupropion Use
The incidence of seizure with APLENZIN has not been formally evaluated in clinical trials. In studies using bupropion HCl sustained-release up to 300 mg per day (equivalent to APLENZIN 348 mg per day) the incidence of seizure was approximately 0.1% (1/1000 patients). In a large prospective, follow-up study, the seizure incidence was approximately 0.4% (13/3200) with bupropion HCl immediate-release in the range of 300 mg to 450 mg per day (equivalent to APLENZIN 348 mg to 522 mg per day).
Additional data accumulated for bupropion immediate-release suggests that the estimated seizure incidence increases almost tenfold between 450 and 600 mg/day (equivalent to APLENZIN 522 mg and 696 mg per day). The risk of seizure can be reduced if the APLENZIN dose does not exceed 522 mg once daily and the titration rate is gradual.
Treatment with APLENZIN can result in elevated blood pressure and hypertension. Assess blood pressure before initiating treatment with APLENZIN, and monitor periodically during treatment.
In the 3 trials of bupropion HCl extended-release in seasonal affective disorder, there were significant elevations in blood pressure. Hypertension was reported as an adverse reaction for 2% of the bupropion group (11/537) and none in the placebo group (0/511). In the SAD trials, 2 patients treated with bupropion discontinued from the study because they developed hypertension. None of the placebo group discontinued because of hypertension. The mean increase in systolic blood pressure was 1.3 mmHg in the bupropion group and 0.1 mmHg in the placebo group. The difference was statistically significant (p=0.013). The mean increase in diastolic blood pressure was 0.8 mmHg in the bupropion group and 0.1 mmHg in the placebo group. The difference was not statistically significant (p=0.075). In the SAD trials, 82% of patients were treated with 300 mg per day, and 18% were treated with 150 mg per day. The mean daily dose was 270 mg per day. The mean duration of bupropion exposure was 126 days.
In a study of bupropion immediate-release in MDD patients with stable congestive heart failure (N=36), bupropion was associated with an exacerbation of pre-existing hypertension in 2 patients, leading to discontinuation of bupropion treatment. There are no controlled studies assessing the safety of bupropion in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable cardiac disease.
Activation of Mania/Hypomania
Antidepressant treatment can precipitate a manic, mixed, or hypomanic manic episode. The risk appears to be increased in patients with bipolar disorder or who have risk factors for bipolar disorder. Prior to initiating APLENZIN, screen patients for a history of bipolar disorder and the presence of risk factors for bipolar disorder (e.g., family history of bipolar disorder, suicide, or depression). APLENZIN is not approved for the treatment of bipolar depression.
Psychosis and Other Neuropsychiatric Reactions
Depressed patients treated with bupropion have had a variety of neuropsychiatric signs and symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, psychosis, concentration disturbance, paranoia, and confusion. Some of these patients had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. In some cases, these symptoms abated upon dose reduction and/or withdrawal of treatment. Discontinue APLENZIN if these reactions occur.
Anaphylactoid/anaphylactic reactions have occurred during clinical trials with bupropion. Reactions have been characterized by pruritus, urticaria, angioedema, and dyspnea, requiring medical treatment. In addition, there have been rare, spontaneous postmarketing reports of erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and anaphylactic shock associated with bupropion. Instruct patients to discontinue APLENZIN and consult a health care provider if they develop an allergic or anaphylactoid/anaphylactic reaction (e.g., skin rash, pruritus, hives, chest pain, edema, and shortness of breath) during treatment.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Prescribers or other health professionals should inform patients, their families, and their caregivers about the benefits and risks associated with treatment with APLENZIN and should counsel them in its appropriate use.
A patient Medication Guide about “Antidepressant Medicines, Depression and Other Serious Mental Illnesses, and Suicidal Thoughts or Actions,” and other important information about using APLENZIN is available for APLENZIN. The prescriber or health professional should instruct patients, their families, and their caregivers to read the Medication Guide and should assist them in understanding its contents. Patients should be given the opportunity to discuss the contents of the Medication Guide and to obtain answers to any questions they may have. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.
Advise patients regarding the following issues and to alert their prescriber if these occur while taking APLENZIN.
Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk in Treating Psychiatric Disorders
Instruct patients, their families, and/or their caregivers to be alert to the emergence of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, mania, other unusual changes in behavior, worsening of depression, and suicidal ideation, especially early during antidepressant treatment and when the dose is adjusted up or down. Advise families and caregivers of patients to observe for the emergence of such symptoms on a day-to-day basis, since changes may be abrupt. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient's prescriber or health professional, especially if they are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms. Symptoms such as these may be associated with an increased risk for suicidal thinking and behavior and indicate a need for very close monitoring and possibly changes in the medication.
Severe Allergic Reactions
Educate patients on the symptoms of hypersensitivity and to discontinue APLENZIN if they have a severe allergic reaction.
Instruct patients to discontinue and not restart APLENZIN if they experience a seizure while on treatment. Advise patients that the excessive use or the abrupt discontinuation of alcohol, benzodiazepines, antiepileptic drugs, or sedatives/hypnotics can increase the risk of seizure. Advise patients to minimize or avoid the use of alcohol.
Educate patients that APLENZIN contains the same active ingredient (bupropion) found in ZYBAN, which is used as an aid to smoking cessation treatment, and that APLENZIN should not be used in combination with ZYBAN or any other medications that contain bupropion hydrochloride (such as WELLBUTRIN XL, the extended-release formulation, WELLBUTRIN SR, the sustained-release formulation, and WELLBUTRIN, the immediate-release formulation). In addition, there are a number of generic bupropion HCl products for the immediate, sustained, and extended-release formulations.
Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment
Advise patients that any CNS-active drug like APLENZIN Tablets may impair their ability to perform tasks requiring judgment or motor and cognitive skills. Advise patients that until they are reasonably certain that APLENZIN Tablets do not adversely affect their performance, they should refrain from driving an automobile or operating complex, hazardous machinery. APLENZIN treatment may lead to decreased alcohol tolerance.
Counsel patients to notify their healthcare provider if they are taking or plan to take any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, because APLENZIN Tablets and other drugs may affect each other's metabolism.
Advise patients to notify their healthcare provider if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy.
Precautions for Nursing Mothers
Communicate with the patient and pediatric healthcare provider regarding the infant's exposure to bupropion through human milk. Instruct patients to immediately contact the infant's healthcare provider if they note any side effect in the infant that concerns them or is persistent.
Instruct patients to swallow APLENZIN Tablets whole so that the release rate is not altered. Do not chew, divide, or crush tablets.
Advise patients that they may notice in their stool something that looks like a tablet. This is normal. The medication in APLENZIN is contained in a non-absorbable shell that has been specially designed to slowly release drug in the body. When this process is completed, the empty shell is eliminated from the body.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Lifetime carcinogenicity studies were performed in rats and mice at doses up to 300 and 150 mg/kg/day bupropion hydrochloride, respectively. These doses are approximately 7 and 2 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD), respectively, on a mg/m² basis. In the rat study there was an increase in nodular proliferative lesions of the liver at doses of 100 to 300 mg/kg/day of bupropion hydrochloride (approximately 2 to 7 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis); lower doses were not tested. The question of whether or not such lesions may be precursors of neoplasms of the liver is currently unresolved. Similar liver lesions were not seen in the mouse study, and no increase in malignant tumors of the liver and other organs was seen in either study.
Bupropion produced a positive response (2 to 3 times control mutation rate) in 2 of 5 strains in one Ames bacterial mutagenicity assay, but was negative in another. Bupropion produced an increase in chromosomal aberrations in 1 of 3 in vivo rat bone marrow cytogenetic studies.
A fertility study in rats at doses up to 300 mg/kg/day revealed no evidence of impaired fertility.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
Data from epidemiological studies including pregnant women indicate no increased risk of congenital malformations with APLENZIN exposure in pregnancy. Data regarding the risk of congenital cardiovascular malformations with first trimester bupropion exposure is inconsistent. No clear evidence of teratogenicity was observed in reproductive developmental studies conducted in rats and rabbits. However, in rabbits, slightly increased incidences of fetal malformations and skeletal variations were observed at the lowest dose tested (25 mg/kg/day, approximately equal to the MRHD on a mg/m² basis) and greater and decreased fetal weights were seen at 50 mg/kg and greater. APLENZIN should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Consider the risk of untreated depression when discontinuing or changing treatment with antidepressant medications during pregnancy and postpartum.
Data from a retrospective cohort study using the United Healthcare database (1213 infants exposed to bupropion in the first trimester) demonstrated no greater risk for congenital malformations overall or cardiovascular malformations specifically after first trimester bupropion exposure compared to exposure to all other antidepressants in the first trimester, or to bupropion exposure outside of the first trimester. A retrospective case-controlled study included 6853 infants with cardiac defects and 5753 with noncardiac defects from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. This study found an association between infants with left outflow tract defects (LVOTO) with maternal bupropion use but not among infants with other types of heart defects or six other noncardiac defect categories. A subsequent reanalysis of the United Healthcare database, to assess the risk of cardiovascular malformations, particularly LVOTO, lacked adequate power to detect an increased risk.
In studies conducted in rats and rabbits, bupropion was administered orally at doses of up to 450 and 150 mg/kg/day, respectively (approximately 11 and 7 times the MRHD, respectively, on a mg/m² basis), during the period of organogenesis. No clear evidence of teratogenic activity was found in either species; however, in rabbits, slightly increased incidences of fetal malformations and skeletal variations were observed at the lowest dose tested (25 mg/kg/day, approximately equal to the MRHD on a mg/m² basis) and greater. Decreased fetal weights were observed at 50 mg/kg and greater. When rats were administered bupropion at oral doses of up to 300 mg/kg/day (approximately 7 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis) prior to mating and throughout pregnancy and lactation, there were no apparent adverse effects on offspring development.
Labor and Delivery
The effect of APLENZIN Tablets on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.
Bupropion and its metabolites are present in human milk. In a lactation study of ten women, levels of orally dosed bupropion and its active metabolites were measured in expressed milk. The average daily infant exposure (assuming 150 ml/kg daily consumption) to bupropion and its active metabolites was 2% of the maternal weight-adjusted dose. Exercise caution when APLENZIN is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness in the pediatric population have not been established. When considering the use of APLENZIN in a child or adolescent, balance the potential risks with the clinical need [see BOXED WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Of the approximately 6000 patients who participated in clinical trials with bupropion hydrochloride sustained-release tablets (depression and smoking cessation studies), 275 were ≥ 65 years old and 47 were ≥ 75 years old. In addition, several hundred patients ≥ 65 years of age participated in clinical trials using the immediate-release formulation of bupropion hydrochloride (depression studies). No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects. Reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Bupropion is extensively metabolized in the liver to active metabolites, which are further metabolized and excreted by the kidneys. The risk of adverse reactions may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, it may be necessary to consider this factor in dose selection; it may be useful to monitor renal function [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
APLENZIN should be used with caution in patients with renal impairment. Consider a reduced dose and/or frequency of dosing, because bupropion its metabolites are cleared renally and may accumulate in such patients to a greater extent than usual. The patient should be closely monitored for possible adverse reactions that could indicate high drug or metabolite levels. Monitor closely for adverse reactions that could indicate high bupropion or metabolite exposures [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
For patients with severe hepatic impairment, the maximum APLENZIN dose is 174 mg every other day. In patients with mild to moderate impairment, consider reducing the dose and/or frequency of dosing [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/24/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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