Follistim AQ Cartridge
"By Kelli Miller
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Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD
March 5, 2015 -- Babies created from the DNA of two women and a man could be born as early as next year. Last month, the United Kingdom cleared the way for fert"...
Follistim AQ Cartridge
Mechanism of Action
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), the active component in Follistim AQ Cartridge, is required for normal follicular growth, maturation, and gonadal steroid production.
In women, the level of FSH is critical for the onset and duration of follicular development, and consequently for the timing and number of follicles reaching maturity. Follistim AQ Cartridge stimulates ovarian follicular growth in women who do not have primary ovarian failure. In order to effect the final phase of follicle maturation, resumption of meiosis and rupture of the follicle in the absence of an endogenous LH surge, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) must be given following treatment with Follistim AQ Cartridge when patient monitoring indicates appropriate follicular development parameters have been reached.
Follistim when administered with hCG stimulates spermatogenesis in men with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. FSH, the active component of Follistim, is the pituitary hormone responsible for spermatogenesis.
Pharmacokinetic parameters for Follistim AQ Cartridge were evaluated in an open-labeled, single-center, randomized study in 20 healthy women. Serum FSH values from a single subcutaneous injection of reconstituted Follistim lyophilized powder administered by conventional syringe were compared to those values following a single subcutaneous injection of Follistim AQ Cartridge administered with the Follistim Pen injector. Administration of follitropin beta with the Follistim Pen resulted an 18% increase in AUC0–∞ and Cmax. The 18% difference in serum FSH concentrations resulting from administration of the two formulations was due to differences between the anticipated and actual volume delivered with the conventional syringe. The pharmacokinetic parameters for Follistim AQ Cartridge are as follows:
Table 5: Mean (SD) Pharmacokinetic Parameters of a Single
Subcutaneous Injection of 150 IU of Follistim AQ Cartridge (n=20)
|AUC0–∞ (IU/L*h)||Cmax (IU/L)||tmax (h)||t½ (h)||CLapp (L/h/kg)|
|AUC0–∞ Area under the curve
Cmax Maximum concentration
tmax Time to maximum concentration
t½ Elimination half-life
The bioavailability of Follistim following subcutaneous and intramuscular administration was investigated in healthy, pituitary-suppressed, women given a single 300 international units dose. In these women, the area under the curve (AUC), expressed as the mean ± SD, was equivalent between the subcutaneous (455.6 ± 141.4 IU*h/L) and intramuscular (445.7 ± 135.7 IU*h/L) routes of administration. However, equivalence could not be established with respect to the peak serum FSH levels (Cmax). The Cmax achieved after subcutaneous administration and intramuscular administration was 5.41 ± 0.72 international units/L and 6.86 ± 2.90 international units/L, respectively. After subcutaneous or intramuscular injection the apparent dose absorbed was 77.8% and 76.4%, respectively.
The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a single, intramuscular dose (300 international units) of Follistim were also investigated in a group (n=8) of gonadotropin-deficient, but otherwise healthy women. In these women, FSH (mean ± SD) AUC was 339 ± 105 international units*h/L, Cmax was 4.3 ± 1.7 international units/L. Cmax occurred at approximately 27 ± 5.4 hours after intramuscular administration.
A multiple dose, dose proportionality, pharmacokinetic study of Follistim was completed in healthy, pituitary-suppressed, female subjects given subcutaneous doses of 75, 150, or 225 international units for 7 days. Steady-state blood concentrations of FSH were reached with all doses after 5 days of treatment based on the trough concentrations of FSH just prior to dosing (Ctrough). Peak blood concentrations with the 75, 150, and 225 international units dose were 4.30 ± 0.60 international units/L, 8.51 ± 1.16 international units/L and 13.92 ± 1.81 international units/L, respectively.
No PK studies were conducted using Follistim AQ Cartridge in men. Exposures of follitropin beta from Follistim AQ Cartridge and Follistim are expected to be equivalent after adjusting for the 18% difference in dose [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Serum levels of FSH were measured in a clinical study that compared the effects of two different dosing schedules of Follistim (150 international units three times a week or 225 international units twice a week) administered by subcutaneous injection concurrently with chorionic gonadotropin for induction of spermatogenesis in hypogonadotropic hypogonadal men. Administration of Follistim was started at Week 17. Mean serum trough concentrations of FSH remained fairly constant over the treatment period. At the end of treatment (Week 64), the mean serum trough concentrations of FSH were 2.09 international units/L in the 150 international units group and 3.22 international units/L in the 225 international units group. Serum trough concentrations of FSH measured prior to the first Follistim injection on the Mondays of active treatment period (Weeks 17 to 64) and one week after the end of treatment period are presented in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Mean (SD) Serum Trough Concentrations of FSH in
Men Following Subcutaneous Administration of Follistim Using Two Different Dosing
Schedules (150 International Units Three Times a Week or 225 International Units
Twice a Week)
The volume of distribution of Follistim in healthy, pituitary-suppressed, women following intravenous administration of a 300 international units dose was approximately 8 L.
The recombinant FSH in Follistim AQ Cartridge is biochemically very similar to urinary FSH and it is therefore anticipated that it is metabolized in the same manner.
The elimination half-life (t½) following a single subcutaneous injection of 150 IU of Follistim AQ Cartridge in women was 33.4 (4.2) hours. The clearance was 0.01 (0.003) L/h/kg.
Use in Specific Populations
Body weight: The effect of body weight on the pharmacokinetics of Follistim was evaluated in a group of European and Japanese women who were significantly different in terms of body weight. The European women had a body weight of (mean ± SD) 67.4 ± 13.5 kg and the Japanese subjects were 46.8 ± 11.6 kg. Following a single intramuscular dose of 300 international units of Follistim, the AUC was significantly smaller in European women (339 ± 105 international units*h/L) than in Japanese women (544 ± 201 international units*h/L). However, clearance per kg of body weight was essentially the same for the respective groups (0.014 and 0.013 L/hr/kg).
Geriatric Use: The pharmacokinetics of Follistim has not been studied in geriatric subjects.
Pediatric Use: The pharmacokinetics of Follistim has not been studied in pediatric subjects.
Renal Impairment: The effect of renal impairment on the pharmacokinetics of Follistim has not been studied.
Hepatic Impairment: The effect of hepatic impairment on the pharmacokinetics of Follistim has not been studied.
The efficacy of Follistim for ovulation induction was evaluated in a randomized, assessor-blind, parallel-group comparative, multicenter safety and efficacy study of 172 chronic anovulatory women (105 subjects on Follistim) who had previously failed to ovulate and/or conceive during clomiphene citrate treatment. The study results for ovulation rates are summarized in Table 6 and those for pregnancy rates are summarized in Table 7.
Table 6: Cumulative Ovulation Rates
|First treatment cycle||72%|
|Second treatment cycle||82%|
|Third treatment cycle||85%|
Table 7: Cumulative Ongoing*,† Pregnancy Rates
|First treatment cycle||14%|
|Second treatment cycle||19%|
|Third treatment cycle||23%|
|* All ongoing pregnancies were confirmed after
at least 12 weeks after the hCG injection.
† Study was not powered to demonstrate this outcome.
Controlled Ovarian Stimulation as Part of an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) Cycle
The efficacy of Follistim AQ Cartridge was evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, active-controlled study of 1,509 healthy normal ovulatory women (mean age, body weight, and body mass index of 32 years, 68 kg and 25 kg/m², respectively) treated for one cycle with controlled ovarian stimulation and pituitary suppression with a GnRH antagonist as part of an in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection cycle. This 2008 study was conducted in Europe and North America (United States and Canada). Approximately 54% of the subjects were from North America. The overall results, as well as the results from North America only, for clinical pregnancy are summarized in Table 8.
Table 8: Pregnancy Results from Treatment With Follistim
AQ Cartridge and a GnRH Antagonist in Normal Ovulatory Women Undergoing Controlled
Ovarian Stimulation as Part of an In Vitro Fertilization or Intracytoplasmic
Sperm Injection Cycle.* Intent-to-Treat Population (ITT)
|Parameter||Follistim AQ Cartridge Overall data
|Follistim AQ Cartridge North American data
|Clinical pregnancy rate/cycle initiation†||41.1%||48.9%|
|* single treatment cycle results
† Clinical pregnancy was assessed ≥ 6 weeks after transfer of one or two embryos.
Induction of Spermatogenesis
The safety and efficacy of Follistim administered by subcutaneous injection concomitantly with chorionic gonadotropin for injection (hCG) has been examined in a multicenter, open-label, non-comparator clinical study for induction of spermatogenesis in hypogonadotropic hypogonadal men. The study compared the effects of two different Follistim dosing schedules on semen parameters and serum levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). The multicenter study involved a 16-week pretreatment phase with hCG at a dosage of 1,500 international units twice a week to normalize serum testosterone levels. If serum testosterone levels did not normalize after 8 weeks of hCG treatment, the hCG dose could have been increased to 3,000 international units twice a week. This phase was followed by a 48-week treatment phase. Men who were still azoospermic after the pretreatment phase were randomized to receive either 225 international units Follistim together with 1,500 international units hCG twice a week or 150 international units Follistim three times a week together with 1,500 international units hCG twice weekly. Men who required 3,000 international units of hCG twice a week in the pretreatment phase were continued on that dosage during the treatment phase. The mean age of patients in both treatment groups was approximately 30 years (range 18 to 47 years). At baseline, mean left and right testis volumes were 4.61 ± 2.94 mL and 4.57 ± 3.00 mL, respectively, in the group receiving three weekly injections of Follistim. For the group receiving two weekly injections of Follistim, the mean left and right testis volumes were 6.54 ± 2.45 mL and 7.21 ± 2.94 mL, respectively, at baseline. The primary efficacy endpoint was the percentage of patients with a mean sperm density of ≥ 1 x 106/mL on their last two treatment assessments. The outcomes of treatment in the 30 men enrolled in the treatment phase are summarized in Table 9.
Table 9: Number of Men Receiving Follistim Who Achieved a
Mean Sperm Density of ≥ 106/mL on Their Last Two Treatment Assessments
|Sperm Density of ≥ 106/mL||Follistim 150 international units three times a week (n=15)||Follistim 225 international units twice a week (n=15)||Overall (n=30)|
Overall, the median time to reach a sperm concentration of 106 per mL was 165 days (range 25 to 327 days) in patients who demonstrated a sperm concentration of at least 106 per mL. The median time to reach a sperm concentration of at least 106 per mL was 186 days (range 25 to 327 days) for the 150 international units group and 141 days (range 43 to 204 days) for the 225 international units group. No pregnancy data were collected during the trial.
The local tolerance data were comparable between the two treatment groups. The mean percentage of days without pain calculated for all subjects in the treatment period was 91.3% for patients in the 150 international units (three times a week) and 76.0% for patients in the 225 international units (two times a week) Follistim treatment groups. In the 225 international units (twice per week) group, local symptoms judged as severe by the investigator were: itching in 1 patient (7%), pain in 2 patients (13%), bruising in 2 patients (13%), swelling in 2 patients (13%), and redness in 1 patient (7%). In the 150 international units (three times per week) group, 1 event in 1 patient (bruising, 7%) was judged as severe. No patient discontinued treatment due to injection site reaction or injection site pain.
Last reviewed on RxList: 9/6/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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