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There have been postmarketing cases of metformin-associated lactic acidosis, including fatal cases. These cases had a subtle onset and were accompanied by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, myalgias, abdominal pain, respiratory distress, or increased somnolence; however, hypothermia, hypotension and resistant bradyarrhythmias have occurred with severe acidosis. Metformin-associated lactic acidosis was characterized by elevated blood lactate concentrations (>5 mmol/Liter), anion gap acidosis (without evidence of ketonuria or ketonemia), and an increased lactate/pyruvate ratio; metformin plasma levels were generally >5 mcg/mL. Metformin decreases liver uptake of lactate increasing lactate blood levels which may increase the risk of lactic acidosis, especially in patients at risk.
If metformin-associated lactic acidosis is suspected, general supportive measures should be instituted promptly in a hospital setting, along with immediate discontinuation of JANUMET XR. In JANUMET XR-treated patients with a diagnosis or strong suspicion of lactic acidosis, prompt hemodialysis is recommended to correct the acidosis and remove accumulated metformin (metformin hydrochloride is dialyzable, with a clearance of up to 170 mL/min under good hemodynamic conditions). Hemodialysis has often resulted in reversal of symptoms and recovery.
Educate patients and their families about the symptoms of lactic acidosis, and if these symptoms occur instruct them to discontinue JANUMET XR and report these symptoms to their healthcare provider.
For each of the known and possible risk factors for metformin-associated lactic acidosis, recommendations to reduce the risk of and manage metformin-associated lactic acidosis are provided below:
Renal Impairment: The postmarketing metformin-associated lactic acidosis cases primarily occurred in patients with significant renal impairment. The risk of metformin accumulation and metformin-associated lactic acidosis increases with the severity of renal impairment because metformin is substantially excreted by the kidney. Clinical recommendations based upon the patientâ€™s renal function include [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]:
- Before initiating JANUMET XR, obtain an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).
- JANUMET XR is contraindicated in patients with an eGFR less than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 . Discontinue JANUMET XR if the patientâ€™s eGFR later falls below 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
- Initiation of JANUMET XR is not recommended in patients with eGFR between 30 and 45 mL/min/1.73 m2 .
- In patients taking JANUMET XR whose eGFR later falls below 45 mL/min/1.73 m2, assess the benefit and risk of continuing therapy.
- Obtain an eGFR at least annually in all patients taking JANUMET XR. In patients at increased risk for the development of renal impairment (e.g., the elderly), renal function should be assessed more frequently.
The concomitant use of JANUMET XR with specific drugs may increase the risk of metforminassociated lactic acidosis: those that impair renal function, result in significant hemodynamic change, interfere with acid-base balance or increase metformin accumulation [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Therefore, consider more frequent monitoring of patients.
Age 65 Or Greater
The risk of metformin-associated lactic acidosis increases with the patientâ€™s age because elderly patients have a greater likelihood of having hepatic, renal, or cardiac impairment than younger patients. Assess renal function more frequently in elderly patients [see Use In Specific Populations].
Radiological Studies With Contrast
Administration of intravascular iodinated contrast agents in metformin-treated patients has led to an acute decrease in renal function and the occurrence of lactic acidosis. Stop JANUMET XR at the time of, or prior to, an iodinated contrast imaging procedure in patients with an eGFR between 30 and 60 mL/min/1.73 m2; in patients with a history of hepatic impairment, alcoholism, or heart failure; or in patients who will be administered intra-arterial iodinated contrast. Re-evaluate eGFR 48 hours after the imaging procedure, and restart JANUMET XR if renal function is stable.
Surgery And Other Procedures
Withholding of food and fluids during surgical or other procedures may increase the risk for volume depletion, hypotension and renal impairment. JANUMET XR should be temporarily discontinued while patients have restricted food and fluid intake.
Several of the postmarketing cases of metformin-associated lactic acidosis occurred in the setting of acute congestive heart failure (particularly when accompanied by hypoperfusion and hypoxemia). Cardiovascular collapse (shock), acute myocardial infarction, sepsis, and other conditions associated with hypoxemia have been associated with lactic acidosis and may also cause prerenal azotemia. When such events occur, discontinue JANUMET XR.
Excessive Alcohol Intake
Alcohol potentiates the effect of metformin on lactate metabolism and this may increase the risk of metformin-associated lactic acidosis. Warn patients against excessive alcohol intake while receiving JANUMET XR.
Patients with hepatic impairment have developed with cases of metformin-associated lactic acidosis. This may be due to impaired lactate clearance resulting in higher lactate blood levels. Therefore, avoid use of JANUMET XR in patients with clinical or laboratory evidence of hepatic disease.
There have been postmarketing reports of acute pancreatitis, including fatal and non-fatal hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis, in patients taking sitagliptin with or without metformin. After initiation of JANUMET XR, patients should be observed carefully for signs and symptoms of pancreatitis. If pancreatitis is suspected, JANUMET XR should promptly be discontinued and appropriate management should be initiated. It is unknown whether patients with a history of pancreatitis are at increased risk for the development of pancreatitis while using JANUMET XR.
Assessment Of Renal Function
Metformin and sitagliptin are substantially excreted by the kidney.
JANUMET XR is contraindicated in patients with severe renal impairment [see CONTRAINDICATIONS and Lactic Acidosis].
There have been postmarketing reports of worsening renal function in patients taking sitagliptin with or without metformin, including acute renal failure, sometimes requiring dialysis. Before initiation of therapy with JANUMET XR and at least annually thereafter, renal function should be assessed. In patients in whom development of renal dysfunction is anticipated, particularly in elderly patients, renal function should be assessed more frequently and JANUMET XR discontinued if evidence of renal impairment is present.
Vitamin B12 Levels
In controlled clinical trials of metformin of 29 weeks duration, a decrease to subnormal levels of previously normal serum Vitamin B12 levels, without clinical manifestations, was observed in approximately 7% of patients. Such decrease, possibly due to interference with B12 absorption from the B12-intrinsic factor complex, is, however, very rarely associated with anemia and appears to be rapidly reversible with discontinuation of metformin or Vitamin B12 supplementation. Measurement of hematologic parameters on an annual basis is advised in patients on JANUMET XR and any apparent abnormalities should be appropriately investigated and managed. [See ADVERSE REACTIONS.]
Certain individuals (those with inadequate Vitamin B12 or calcium intake or absorption) appear to be predisposed to developing subnormal Vitamin B12 levels. In these patients, routine serum Vitamin B12 measurements at two-to three-year intervals may be useful.
Change In Clinical Status Of Patients With Previously Controlled Type 2 Diabetes
A patient with type 2 diabetes previously well controlled on JANUMET XR who develops laboratory abnormalities or clinical illness (especially vague and poorly defined illness) should be evaluated promptly for evidence of ketoacidosis or lactic acidosis. Evaluation should include serum electrolytes and ketones, blood glucose and, if indicated, blood pH, lactate, pyruvate, and metformin levels. If acidosis of either form occurs, JANUMET XR must be stopped immediately and other appropriate corrective measures initiated.
Use With Medications Known To Cause Hypoglycemia
When sitagliptin was used in combination with a sulfonylurea or with insulin, medications known to cause hypoglycemia, the incidence of hypoglycemia was increased over that of placebo used in combination with a sulfonylurea or with insulin [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Therefore, patients also receiving an insulin secretagogue (e.g., sulfonylurea) or insulin may require a lower dose of the insulin secretagogue or insulin to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Hypoglycemia does not occur in patients receiving metformin alone under usual circumstances of use, but could occur when caloric intake is deficient, when strenuous exercise is not compensated by caloric supplementation, or during concomitant use with other glucose-lowering agents (such as sulfonylureas and insulin) or ethanol. Elderly, debilitated, or malnourished patients, and those with adrenal or pituitary insufficiency or alcohol intoxication are particularly susceptible to hypoglycemic effects. Hypoglycemia may be difficult to recognize in the elderly, and in people who are taking β-adrenergic blocking drugs.
Loss Of Control Of Blood Glucose
When a patient stabilized on any diabetic regimen is exposed to stress such as fever, trauma, infection, or surgery, a temporary loss of glycemic control may occur. At such times, it may be necessary to withhold JANUMET XR and temporarily administer insulin. JANUMET XR may be reinstituted after the acute episode is resolved.
There have been postmarketing reports of serious hypersensitivity reactions in patients treated with sitagliptin, one of the components of JANUMET XR. These reactions include anaphylaxis, angioedema, and exfoliative skin conditions including Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Onset of these reactions occurred within the first 3 months after initiation of treatment with sitagliptin, with some reports occurring after the first dose. If a hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, discontinue JANUMET XR, assess for other potential causes for the event, and institute alternative treatment for diabetes. [See ADVERSE REACTIONS]
Use caution in a patient with a history of angioedema to another dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitor because it is unknown whether such patients will be predisposed to angioedema with JANUMET XR.
Severe And Disabling Arthralgia
There have been postmarketing reports of severe and disabling arthralgia in patients taking DPP-4 inhibitors. The time to onset of symptoms following initiation of drug therapy varied from one day to years. Patients experienced relief of symptoms upon discontinuation of the medication. A subset of patients experienced a recurrence of symptoms when restarting the same drug or a different DPP-4 inhibitor. Consider DPP-4 inhibitors as a possible cause for severe joint pain and discontinue drug if appropriate.
Postmarketing cases of bullous pemphigoid requiring hospitalization have been reported with DPP-4 inhibitor use. In reported cases, patients typically recovered with topical or systemic immunosuppressive treatment and discontinuation of the DPP-4 inhibitor. Tell patients to report development of blisters or erosions while receiving JANUMET XR. If bullous pemphigoid is suspected, JANUMET XR should be discontinued and referral to a dermatologist should be considered for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
There have been no clinical studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with JANUMET XR or any other anti-diabetic drug.
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Patients should be informed of the potential risks and benefits of JANUMET XR and of alternative modes of therapy. They should also be informed about the importance of adherence to dietary instructions, regular physical activity, periodic blood glucose monitoring and A1C testing, recognition and management of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and assessment for diabetes complications. During periods of stress such as fever, trauma, infection, or surgery, medication requirements may change and patients should be advised to seek medical advice promptly.
The risks of lactic acidosis due to the metformin component, its symptoms, and conditions that predispose to its development, as noted in WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, should be explained to patients. Patients should be advised to discontinue JANUMET XR immediately and to promptly notify their health practitioner if unexplained hyperventilation, myalgia, malaise, unusual somnolence, dizziness, slow or irregular heart beat, sensation of feeling cold (especially in the extremities) or other nonspecific symptoms occur. Gastrointestinal symptoms are common during initiation of metformin treatment and may occur during initiation of JANUMET XR therapy; however, patients should consult their physician if they develop unexplained symptoms. Although gastrointestinal symptoms that occur after stabilization are unlikely to be drug related, such an occurrence of symptoms should be evaluated to determine if it may be due to lactic acidosis or other serious disease. Instruct patients to inform their doctor that they are taking JANUMET XR prior to any surgical or radiological procedure, as temporary discontinuation of JANUMET XR may be required until renal function has been confirmed to have returned to its prior level [see Use In Specific Populations].
Patients should be advised to notify their health practitioner or call the Poison Control Center immediately in case of JANUMET XR overdose.
Patients should be counseled against excessive alcohol intake, either acute or chronic, while receiving JANUMET XR.
Patients should be informed about the importance of regular testing of renal function and hematological parameters when receiving treatment with JANUMET XR.
Patients should be informed that acute pancreatitis has been reported during postmarketing use of JANUMET. Patients should be informed that persistent severe abdominal pain, sometimes radiating to the back, which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting, is the hallmark symptom of acute pancreatitis. Patients should be instructed to promptly discontinue JANUMET XR and contact their physician if persistent severe abdominal pain occurs [see Use In Specific Populations].
Patients should be informed that the incidence of hypoglycemia is increased when sitagliptin with or without metformin is added to an insulin secretagogue (e.g., sulfonylurea) or insulin therapy and that a lower dose of the insulin secretagogue or insulin may be required to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.
Patients should be informed that allergic reactions have been reported during postmarketing use of sitagliptin, one of the components of JANUMET XR. If symptoms of allergic reactions (including rash, hives, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing) occur, patients must stop taking JANUMET XR and seek medical advice promptly.
Inform patients that severe and disabling joint pain may occur with this class of drugs. The time to onset of symptoms can range from one day to years. Instruct patients to seek medical advice if severe joint pain occurs [see Use In Specific Populations].
Inform patients that bullous pemphigoid may occur with this class of drugs. Instruct patients to seek medical advice if blisters or erosions occur [see Use In Specific Populations].
Patients should be informed that the tablets must be swallowed whole and never split, crushed or chewed.
Patients should be informed that incompletely dissolved JANUMET XR tablets may be eliminated in the feces. Tell patients that, if they repeatedly see tablets in feces, they should report this finding to their healthcare provider. If a patient reports repeatedly observing tablets in feces, the healthcare provider should assess adequacy of glycemic control.
Physicians should instruct their patients to read the Medication Guide before starting JANUMET XR therapy and to reread each time the prescription is renewed. Patients should be instructed to inform their doctor if they develop any bothersome or unusual symptom, or if any symptom persists or worsens.
Response to all diabetic therapies should be monitored by periodic measurements of blood glucose and A1C levels, with a goal of decreasing these levels towards the normal range. A1C is especially useful for evaluating long-term glycemic control.
Initial and periodic monitoring of hematologic parameters (e.g., hemoglobin/hematocrit and red blood cell indices) and renal function (serum creatinine) should be performed, at least on an annual basis. While megaloblastic anemia has rarely been seen with metformin therapy, if this is suspected, Vitamin B12 deficiency should be excluded.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
No animal studies have been conducted with the combined products in JANUMET XR to evaluate carcinogenesis, mutagenesis or impairment of fertility. The following data are based on the findings in studies with sitagliptin and metformin individually.
A two-year carcinogenicity study was conducted in male and female rats given oral doses of sitagliptin of 50, 150, and 500 mg/kg/day. There was an increased incidence of combined liver adenoma/carcinoma in males and females and of liver carcinoma in females at 500 mg/kg. This dose results in exposures approximately 60 times the human exposure at the maximum recommended daily adult human dose (MRHD) of 100 mg/day based on AUC comparisons. Liver tumors were not observed at 150 mg/kg, approximately 20 times the human exposure at the MRHD. A two-year carcinogenicity study was conducted in male and female mice given oral doses of sitagliptin of 50, 125, 250, and 500 mg/kg/day. There was no increase in the incidence of tumors in any organ up to 500 mg/kg, approximately 70 times human exposure at the MRHD. Sitagliptin was not mutagenic or clastogenic with or without metabolic activation in the Ames bacterial mutagenicity assay, a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) chromosome aberration assay, an in vitro cytogenetics assay in CHO, an in vitro rat hepatocyte DNA alkaline elution assay, and an in vivo micronucleus assay.
In rat fertility studies with oral gavage doses of 125, 250, and 1000 mg/kg, males were treated for 4 weeks prior to mating, during mating, up to scheduled termination (approximately 8 weeks total), and females were treated 2 weeks prior to mating through gestation day 7. No adverse effect on fertility was observed at 125 mg/kg (approximately 12 times human exposure at the MRHD of 100 mg/day based on AUC comparisons). At higher doses, nondose-related increased resorptions in females were observed (approximately 25 and 100 times human exposure at the MRHD based on AUC comparison).
Long-term carcinogenicity studies have been performed in Sprague Dawley rats at doses of 150, 300, and 450 mg/kg/day in males and 150, 450, 900, and 1200 mg/kg/day in females. These doses are approximately 2, 4, and 8 times in males, and 3, 7, 12, and 16 times in females of the maximum recommended human daily dose of 2000 mg based on body surface area comparisons. No evidence of carcinogenicity with metformin was found in either male or female rats. A carcinogenicity study was also performed in Tg. AC transgenic mice at doses up to 2000 mg applied dermally. No evidence of carcinogenicity was observed in male or female mice.
Genotoxicity assessments in the Ames test, gene mutation test (mouse lymphoma cells), chromosomal aberrations test (human lymphocytes) and in vivo mouse micronucleus tests were negative. Fertility of male or female rats was not affected by metformin when administered at doses up to 600 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 3 times the maximum recommended human daily dose based on body surface area comparisons.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category B
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women with JANUMET XR or its individual components; therefore, the safety of JANUMET XR in pregnant women is not known. JANUMET XR should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., maintains a registry to monitor the pregnancy outcomes of women exposed to JANUMET XR while pregnant. Healthcare providers are encouraged to report any prenatal exposure to JANUMET XR by calling the Pregnancy Registry at 1-800986- 8999.
No animal studies have been conducted with the combined products in JANUMET XR to evaluate effects on reproduction. The following data are based on findings in studies performed with sitagliptin or metformin individually.
Reproduction studies have been performed in rats and rabbits. Doses of sitagliptin up to 125 mg/kg (approximately 12 times the human exposure at the maximum recommended human dose) did not impair fertility or harm the fetus. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies with sitagliptin in pregnant women.
Sitagliptin administered to pregnant female rats and rabbits from gestation day 6 to 20 (organogenesis) was not teratogenic at oral doses up to 250 mg/kg (rats) and 125 mg/kg (rabbits), or approximately 30 and 20 times human exposure at the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 100 mg/day based on AUC comparisons. Higher doses increased the incidence of rib malformations in offspring at 1000 mg/kg, or approximately 100 times human exposure at the MRHD.
Sitagliptin administered to female rats from gestation day 6 to lactation day 21 decreased body weight in male and female offspring at 1000 mg/kg. No functional or behavioral toxicity was observed in offspring of rats.
Placental transfer of sitagliptin administered to pregnant rats was approximately 45% at 2 hours and 80% at 24 hours postdose. Placental transfer of sitagliptin administered to pregnant rabbits was approximately 66% at 2 hours and 30% at 24 hours.
Metformin was not teratogenic in rats and rabbits at doses up to 600 mg/kg/day, which represent 3 and 6 times the maximum recommended human daily dose of 2000 mg based on body surface area comparison for rats and rabbits, respectively. However, because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, metformin hydrochloride should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly needed.
No studies in lactating animals have been conducted with the combined components of JANUMET XR. In studies performed with the individual components, both sitagliptin and metformin are secreted in the milk of lactating rats. It is not known whether sitagliptin or metformin are excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when JANUMET XR is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness of JANUMET XR in pediatric patients under 18 years have not been established.
Because sitagliptin and metformin are substantially excreted by the kidney, and because aging can be associated with reduced renal function, renal function should be assessed more frequently in elderly patients. [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS; CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]
Of the total number of subjects (N=3884) in premarketing Phase II and III clinical studies of sitagliptin, 725 patients were 65 years and over, while 61 patients were 75 years and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between subjects 65 years and over and younger subjects. While this and other reported clinical experience have not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Controlled clinical studies of metformin did not include sufficient numbers of elderly patients to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients, although other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and young patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy and the higher risk of lactic acidosis. Assess renal function more frequently in elderly patients. [See CONTRAINDICATIONS; WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS; CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]
Metformin is substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of metformin accumulation and lactic acidosis increases with the degree of renal impairment. JANUMET XR is contraindicated in severe renal impairment, patients with an eGFR below 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 . [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. The dose of the sitagliptin component should be limited to 50 mg once daily if eGFR falls below 45 mL/min/1.73m2 .
Use of metformin in patients with hepatic impairment has been associated with some cases of lactic acidosis. JANUMET XR is not recommended in patients with hepatic impairment. [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/31/2017
Additional Janumet XR Information
- Janumet XR Drug Interactions Center: sitagliptin-metformin oral
- Janumet XR Side Effects Center
- Janumet XR FDA Approved Prescribing Information including Dosage
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