February 23, 2017
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"A new two-dose herpes zoster vaccine called HZ/su is safe and reduces the risk for shingles and postherpetic neuralgia by nearly 90% in people aged 70 years and older, according to a study published in the September 15 issue of the New England"...





Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


GRALISE is not interchangeable with other gabapentin products because of differing pharmacokinetic profiles that affect the frequency of administration.

The safety and effectiveness of GRALISE in patients with epilepsy has not been studied.

Suicidal Behavior And Ideation

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including gabapentin, the active ingredient in GRALISE, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication. Patients treated with any AED for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or any unusual changes in mood or behavior.

Pooled analyses of 199 placebo-controlled clinical trials (mono- and adjunctive therapy) of 11 different AEDs showed that patients randomized to one of the AEDs had approximately twice the risk (adjusted Relative Risk 1.8, 95% CI:1.2, 2.7) of suicidal thinking or behavior compared to patients randomized to placebo. In these trials, which had a median treatment duration of 12 weeks, the estimated incidence rate of suicidal behavior or ideation among 27,863 AED-treated patients was 0.43%, compared to 0.24% among 16,029 placebo-treated patients, representing an increase of approximately one case of suicidal thinking or behavior for every 530 patients treated. There were four suicides in drug-treated patients in the trials and none in placebo-treated patients, but the number is too small to allow any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.

The increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with AEDs was observed as early as one week after starting drug treatment with AEDs and persisted for the duration of treatment assessed. Because most trials included in the analysis did not extend beyond 24 weeks, the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior beyond 24 weeks could not be assessed.

The risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior was generally consistent among drugs in the data analyzed. The finding of increased risk with AEDs of varying mechanisms of action and across a range of indications suggests that the risk applies to all AEDs used for any indication. The risk did not vary substantially by age (5-100 years) in the clinical trials analyzed. Table 3 shows absolute and relative risk by indication for all evaluated AEDs.

Table 3: Risk by Indication for Antiepileptic Drugs (including gabapentin, the active ingredient in GRALISE) in the Pooled Analysis

Indication Placebo Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients Drug Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients Relative Risk: Incidence of Events in Drug Patients/Incidence in Placebo Patients Risk Difference: Additional Drug Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients
Epilepsy 1.0 3.4 3.5 2.4
Psychiatric 5.7 8.5 1.5 2.9
Other 1.0 1.8 1.9 0.9
Total 2.4 4.3 1.8 1.9

The relative risk for suicidal thoughts or behavior was higher in clinical trials for epilepsy than in clinical trials for psychiatric or other conditions, but the absolute risk differences were similar for the epilepsy and psychiatric indications.

Anyone considering prescribing GRALISE must balance the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with the risk of untreated illness. Epilepsy and many other illnesses for which products containing active components that are AEDs (such as gabapentin, the active component in GRALISE) are prescribed are themselves associated with morbidity and mortality and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Should suicidal thoughts and behavior emerge during treatment, the prescriber needs to consider whether the emergence of these symptoms in any given patient may be related to the illness being treated.

Patients, their caregivers, and families should be informed that GRALISE contains gabapentin which is also used to treat epilepsy and that AEDs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of the signs and symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or the emergence of suicidal thoughts, behavior, or thoughts about self-harm. Behaviors of concern should be reported immediately to healthcare providers.

Withdrawal Of Gabapentin

Gabapentin should be withdrawn gradually. If GRALISE is discontinued, this should be done gradually over a minimum of 1 week or longer (at the discretion of the prescriber).

Tumorigenic Potential

In standard preclinical in vivo lifetime carcinogenicity studies, an unexpectedly high incidence of pancreatic acinar adenocarcinomas was identified in male, but not female, rats. The clinical significance of this finding is unknown.

In clinical trials of gabapentin therapy in epilepsy comprising 2,085 patient-years of exposure in patients over 12 years of age, new tumors were reported in 10 patients, and pre-existing tumors worsened in 11 patients, during or within 2 years after discontinuing the drug. However, no similar patient population untreated with gabapentin was available to provide background tumor incidence and recurrence information for comparison. Therefore, the effect of gabapentin therapy on the incidence of new tumors in humans or on the worsening or recurrence of previously diagnosed tumors is unknown.

Drug Reaction With Eosinophilia And Systemic Symptoms (DRESS)/Multiorgan Hypersensitivity

Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS), also known as Multiorgan Hypersensitivity, has been reported in patients taking antiepileptic drugs, including GRALISE. Some of these events have been fatal or life-threatening. DRESS typically, although not exclusively, presents with fever, rash, and/or lymphadenopathy in association with other organ system involvement, such as hepatitis, nephritis, hematological abnormalities, myocarditis, or myositis sometimes resembling an acute viral infection. Eosinophilia is often present. Because this disorder is variable in its expression, other organ systems not noted here may be involved.

It is important to note that early manifestations of hypersensitivity, such as fever or lymphadenopathy, may be present even though rash is not evident. If such signs or symptoms are present, the patient should be evaluated immediately. GRALISE should be discontinued if an alternative etiology for the signs or symptoms cannot be established.

Laboratory Tests

Clinical trial data do not indicate that routine monitoring of clinical laboratory procedures is necessary for the safe use of GRALISE. The value of monitoring gabapentin blood concentrations has not been established.

Patient Counseling Information

  • Advise patients that GRALISE is not interchangeable with other formulations of gabapentin.
  • Advise patients to take GRALISE only as prescribed. GRALISE may cause dizziness, somnolence, and other signs and symptoms of CNS depression.
  • Advise patients not to drive or operate other complex machinery until they have gained sufficient experience on GRALISE to gauge whether or not it adversely affects their mental and/or motor performance. Advise patients who require concomitant treatment with morphine to tell their prescriber if they develop signs of CNS depression such as somnolence. If this occurs the dose of GRALISE or morphine should be reduced accordingly.
  • Advise patients that if they miss a dose of GRALISE to take it with food as soon as they remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, just skip the missed dose and take the next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time.
  • Advise patients that if they take too much GRALISE, to call their healthcare provider or poison control center, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
Medication Guide

Advise patients of the availability of a Medication Guide, and instruct them to read the Medication Guide prior to taking GRALISE.

Suicidal Thoughts And Behavior

Advise patients, their caregivers, and families that AEDs, including gabapentin, the active ingredient in GRALISE, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or the emergence of suicidal thoughts, behavior, or thoughts about self-harm. Behaviors of concern should be reported immediately to healthcare providers [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Dosing And Administration

Advise patients that GRALISE should be taken orally once-daily with the evening meal. GRALISE tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not split, crush, or chew the tablets [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

Gabapentin was given in the diet to mice at 200, 600, and 2000 mg/kg/day and to rats at 250, 1000, and 2000 mg/kg/day for 2 years. A statistically significant increase in the incidence of pancreatic acinar cell adenoma and carcinomas was found in male rats receiving the high dose; the no-effect dose for the occurrence of carcinomas was 1000 mg/kg/day. Peak plasma concentrations of gabapentin in rats receiving the high dose of 2000 mg/kg/day were more than 10 times higher than plasma concentrations in humans receiving 1800 mg per day and in rats receiving 1000 mg/kg/day peak plasma concentrations were more than 6.5 times higher than in humans receiving 1800 mg/day. The pancreatic acinar cell carcinomas did not affect survival, did not metastasize and were not locally invasive. The relevance of this finding to carcinogenic risk in humans is unclear.

Studies designed to investigate the mechanism of gabapentin-induced pancreatic carcinogenesis in rats indicate that gabapentin stimulates DNA synthesis in rat pancreatic acinar cells In vitro and, thus, may be acting as a tumor promoter by enhancing mitogenic activity. It is not known whether gabapentin has the ability to increase cell proliferation in other cell types or in other species, including humans.

Gabapentin did not demonstrate mutagenic or genotoxic potential in 3 In vitro and 4 in vivo assays. It was negative in the Ames test and the In vitro HGPRT forward mutation assay in Chinese hamster lung cells; it did not produce significant increases in chromosomal aberrations in the in vitro Chinese hamster lung cell assay; it was negative in the in vivo chromosomal aberration assay and in the in vivo micronucleus test in Chinese hamster bone marrow; it was negative in the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay; and it did not induce unscheduled DNA synthesis in hepatocytes from rats given gabapentin.

No adverse effects on fertility or reproduction were observed in rats at doses up to 2000 mg/kg (approximately 11 times the maximum recommended human dose on an mg/m² basis).

Use In Specific Populations


Pregnancy Category C: Gabapentin has been shown to be fetotoxic in rodents, causing delayed ossification of several bones in the skull, vertebrae, forelimbs, and hindlimbs. These effects occurred when pregnant mice received oral doses of 1000 or 3000 mg/kg/day during the period of organogenesis, or approximately 3 to 8 times the maximum dose of 1800 mg/day given to PHN patients on a mg/m² basis. The no effect level was 500 mg/kg/day representing approximately the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD] on a mg/m² body surface area (BSA) basis. When rats were dosed prior to and during mating, and throughout gestation, pups from all dose groups (500, 1000 and 2000 mg/kg/day) were affected. These doses are equivalent to approximately 3 to 11 times the MRHD on a mg/m² BSA basis. There was an increased incidence of hydroureter and/or hydronephrosis in rats in a study of fertility and general reproductive performance at 2000 mg/kg/day with no effect at 1000 mg/kg/day, in a teratology study at 1500 mg/kg/day with no effect at 300 mg/kg/day, and in a perinatal and postnatal study at all doses studied (500, 1000 and 2000 mg/kg/day). The doses at which the effects occurred are approximately 3 to 11 times the maximum human dose of 1800 mg/day on a mg/m² basis; the no-effect doses were approximately 5 times (Fertility and General Reproductive Performance study) and approximately equal to (Teratogenicity study) the maximum human dose on a mg/m² BSA basis. Other than hydroureter and hydronephrosis, the etiologies of which are unclear, the incidence of malformations was not increased compared to controls in offspring of mice, rats, or rabbits given doses up to 100 times (mice), 60 times (rats), and 50 times (rabbits) the human daily dose on a mg/kg basis, or 8 times (mice), 10 times (rats), or 16 times (rabbits) the human daily dose on a mg/m² BSA basis. In a teratology study in rabbits, an increased incidence of postimplantation fetal loss occurred in dams exposed to 60, 300, and 1500 mg/kg/day, or 0.6 to 16 times the maximum human dose on a mg/m² BSA basis. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

To provide information regarding the effects of in utero exposure to GRALISE, physicians are advised to recommend that pregnant patients taking GRALISE enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry. This can be done by calling the toll free number 1-888-233-2334, and must be done by patients themselves. Information on the registry can also be found at the website http://www.aedpregnancyregistry.org/.

Nursing Mothers

Gabapentin is secreted into human milk following oral administration. A nursed infant could be exposed to a maximum dose of approximately 1 mg/kg/day of gabapentin. Because the effect on the nursing infant is unknown, GRALISE should be used in women who are nursing only if the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of GRALISE in the management of postherpetic neuralgia in patients less than 18 years of age has not been studied.

Geriatric Use

The total number of patients treated with GRALISE in controlled clinical trials in patients with postherpetic neuralgia was 359, of which 63% were 65 years of age or older. The types and incidence of adverse events were similar across age groups except for peripheral edema, which tended to increase in incidence with age.

GRALISE is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney. Reductions in GRALISE dose should be made in patients with age-related compromised renal function. [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Hepatic Impairment

Because gabapentin is not metabolized, studies have not been conducted in patients with hepatic impairment.

Renal Impairment

GRALISE is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney. Dosage adjustment is necessary in patients with impaired renal function. GRALISE should not be administered in patients with CrCL between 15 and 30 or in patients undergoing hemodialysis.[see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/10/2016


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