"Miriam E. Tucker
Medscape Medical News
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the empagliflozin/linagliptin combination Glyxambi (Boehringer Ingelheim/Eli Lilly) as adjunctive treatment to diet and "...
Lactic acidosis is a rare, but serious, metabolic complication that can occur due to metformin accumulation during treatment with KOMBIGLYZE XR; when it occurs, it is fatal in approximately 50% of cases. Lactic acidosis may also occur in association with a number of pathophysiologic conditions, including diabetes mellitus, and whenever there is significant tissue hypoperfusion and hypoxemia. Lactic acidosis is characterized by elevated blood lactate levels ( > 5 mmol/L), decreased blood pH, electrolyte disturbances with an increased anion gap, and an increased lactate/pyruvate ratio. When metformin is implicated as the cause of lactic acidosis, metformin plasma levels > 5 μg/mL are generally found.
The reported incidence of lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin hydrochloride is very low (approximately 0.03 cases/1000 patient-years, with approximately 0.015 fatal cases/1000 patient-years). In more than 20,000 patient-years exposure to metformin in clinical trials, there were no reports of lactic acidosis. Reported cases have occurred primarily in diabetic patients with significant renal insufficiency, including both intrinsic renal disease and renal hypoperfusion, often in the setting of multiple concomitant medical/surgical problems and multiple concomitant medications. Patients with congestive heart failure requiring pharmacologic management, in particular those with unstable or acute congestive heart failure who are at risk of hypoperfusion and hypoxemia, are at increased risk of lactic acidosis. The risk of lactic acidosis increases with the degree of renal dysfunction and the patient's age. The risk of lactic acidosis may, therefore, be significantly decreased by regular monitoring of renal function in patients taking metformin and by use of the minimum effective dose of metformin. In particular, treatment of the elderly should be accompanied by careful monitoring of renal function. Metformin treatment should not be initiated in patients ≥ 80 years of age unless measurement of creatinine clearance demonstrates that renal function is not reduced, as these patients are more susceptible to developing lactic acidosis. In addition, metformin should be promptly withheld in the presence of any condition associated with hypoxemia, dehydration, or sepsis. Because impaired hepatic function may significantly limit the ability to clear lactate, metformin should generally be avoided in patients with clinical or laboratory evidence of hepatic disease. Patients should be cautioned against excessive alcohol intake when taking metformin since alcohol potentiates the effects of metformin hydrochloride on lactate metabolism. In addition, metformin should be temporarily discontinued prior to any intravascular radiocontrast study and for any surgical procedure.
The onset of lactic acidosis often is subtle and accompanied only by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, myalgias, respiratory distress, increasing somnolence, and nonspecific abdominal distress. There may be associated hypothermia, hypotension, and resistant bradyarrhythmias with more marked acidosis. The patient and the patient's physician must be aware of the possible importance of such symptoms and the patient should be instructed to notify the physician immediately if they occur. Metformin should be withdrawn until the situation is clarified. Serum electrolytes, ketones, blood glucose, and if indicated, blood pH, lactate levels, and even blood metformin levels may be useful. Once a patient is stabilized on any dose level of metformin, gastrointestinal symptoms, which are common during initiation of therapy, are unlikely to be drug related. Later occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms could be due to lactic acidosis or other serious disease.
Levels of fasting venous plasma lactate above the upper limit of normal, but less than 5 mmol/L, in patients taking metformin do not necessarily indicate impending lactic acidosis and may be explainable by other mechanisms, such as poorly controlled diabetes or obesity, vigorous physical activity, or technical problems in sample handling.
Lactic acidosis is a medical emergency that must be treated in a hospital setting. In a patient with lactic acidosis who is taking metformin, the drug should be discontinued immediately and general supportive measures promptly instituted. Because metformin hydrochloride is dialyzable (with a clearance of up to 170 mL/min under good hemodynamic conditions), prompt hemodialysis is recommended to correct the acidosis and remove the accumulated metformin. Such management often results in prompt reversal of symptoms and recovery [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
There have been postmarketing reports of acute pancreatitis in patients taking saxagliptin. After initiation of KOMBIGLYZE XR, patients should be observed carefully for signs and symptoms of pancreatitis. If pancreatitis is suspected, KOMBIGLYZE 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 KOMBIGLYZE XR.
Assessment of Renal Function
Metformin is substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of metformin accumulation and lactic acidosis increases with the degree of impairment of renal function. Therefore, KOMBIGLYZE XR is contraindicated in patients with renal impairment [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
Before initiation of KOMBIGLYZE XR, and at least annually thereafter, renal function should be assessed and verified as normal. In patients in whom development of renal impairment is anticipated (e.g., elderly), renal function should be assessed more frequently and KOMBIGLYZE XR discontinued if evidence of renal impairment is present.
Impaired Hepatic Function
Metformin use in patients with impaired hepatic function has been associated with some cases of lactic acidosis. Therefore, KOMBIGLYZE XR is not recommended in patients with hepatic impairment.
Vitamin B12 Concentrations
In controlled clinical trials of metformin of 29-week 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 KOMBIGLYZE 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 2-to 3-year intervals may be useful.
Alcohol potentiates the effect of metformin on lactate metabolism. Patients should be warned against excessive alcohol intake while receiving KOMBIGLYZE XR.
Use of KOMBIGLYZE XR should be temporarily suspended for any surgical procedure (except minor procedures not associated with restricted intake of food and fluids) and should not be restarted until the patient's oral intake has resumed and renal function has been evaluated as normal.
Change in Clinical Status of Patients with Previously Controlled Type 2 Diabetes
A patient with type 2 diabetes previously well controlled on KOMBIGLYZE 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, KOMBIGLYZE XR must be stopped immediately and other appropriate corrective measures initiated.
Hypoglycemia with Concomitant Use of Sulfonylurea or Insulin
When saxagliptin was used in combination with a sulfonylurea or with insulin, medications known to cause hypoglycemia, the incidence of confirmed hypoglycemia was increased over that of placebo used in combination with a sulfonylurea or with insulin. [See ADVERSE REACTIONS.] Therefore, a lower dose of the insulin secretagogue or insulin may be required to minimize the risk of hypoglycemia when used in combination with KOMBIGLYZE XR. [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]
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 beta-adrenergic blocking drugs.
Concomitant Medications Affecting Renal Function or Metformin Disposition
Concomitant medication(s) that may affect renal function or result in significant hemodynamic change or may interfere with the disposition of metformin, such as cationic drugs that are eliminated by renal tubular secretion [see DRUG INTERACTIONS], should be used with caution.
Radiologic Studies with Intravascular Iodinated Contrast Materials
Intravascular contrast studies with iodinated materials can lead to acute alteration of renal function and have been associated with lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin. Therefore, in patients in whom any such study is planned, KOMBIGLYZE XR should be temporarily discontinued at the time of or prior to the procedure, and withheld for 48 hours subsequent to the procedure and reinstituted only after renal function has been re-evaluated and found to be normal.
Cardiovascular collapse (shock), acute congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, and other conditions characterized by hypoxemia have been associated with lactic acidosis and may also cause prerenal azotemia. When such events occur in patients on KOMBIGLYZE XR therapy, the drug should be promptly discontinued.
There have been postmarketing reports of serious hypersensitivity reactions in patients treated with saxagliptin. These reactions include anaphylaxis, angioedema, and exfoliative skin conditions. Onset of these reactions occurred within the first 3 months after initiation of treatment with saxagliptin, with some reports occurring after the first dose. If a serious hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, discontinue KOMBIGLYZE 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 KOMBIGLYZE XR.
There have been no clinical studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with KOMBIGLYZE XR or any other antidiabetic drug.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Healthcare providers should instruct their patients to read the Medication Guide before starting KOMBIGLYZE XR therapy and to reread it each time the prescription is renewed. Patients should be instructed to inform their healthcare provider if they develop any unusual symptom or if any existing symptom persists or worsens.
Patients should be informed of the potential risks and benefits of KOMBIGLYZE XR and of alternative modes of therapy. Patients 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 of 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 KOMBIGLYZE XR immediately and to promptly notify their healthcare provider 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 KOMBIGLYZE 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.
Patients should be counseled against excessive alcohol intake while receiving KOMBIGLYZE XR.
Patients should be informed about the importance of regular testing of renal function and hematological parameters when receiving treatment with KOMBIGLYZE XR.
Patients should be informed that acute pancreatitis has been reported during postmarketing use of saxagliptin. Before initiating KOMBIGLYZE XR, patients should be questioned about other risk factors for pancreatitis, such as a history of pancreatitis, alcoholism, gallstones, or hypertriglyceridemia. Patients should also 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 KOMBIGLYZE XR and contact their physician if persistent severe abdominal pain occurs [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients should be informed that the incidence of hypoglycemia may be increased when KOMBIGLYZE XR is added to an insulin secretagogue (e.g., sulfonylurea) or insulin.
Patients should be informed that serious allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions, such as angioedema, anaphylaxis, and exfoliative skin conditions, have been reported during postmarketing use of saxagliptin. If symptoms of these allergic reactions (such as rash, skin flaking or peeling, urticaria, swelling of the skin, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing) occur, patients must stop taking KOMBIGLYZE XR and seek medical advice promptly.
Patients should be informed that KOMBIGLYZE XR must be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed, and that the inactive ingredients may occasionally be eliminated in the feces as a soft mass that may resemble the original tablet.
Patients should be informed that if they miss a dose of KOMBIGLYZE XR, they should take the next dose as prescribed, unless otherwise instructed by their healthcare provider. Patients should be instructed not to take an extra dose the next day.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
No animal studies have been conducted with KOMBIGLYZE XR to evaluate carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, or impairment of fertility. The following data are based on the findings in the studies with saxagliptin and metformin individually.
Saxagliptin did not induce tumors in either mice (50, 250, and 600 mg/kg) or rats (25, 75, 150, and 300 mg/kg) at the highest doses evaluated. The highest doses evaluated in mice were equivalent to approximately 870 (males) and 1165 (females) times the human exposure at the MRHD of 5 mg/day. In rats, exposures were approximately 355 (males) and 2217 (females) times the MRHD.
Long-term carcinogenicity studies have been performed in rats (dosing duration of 104 weeks) and mice (dosing duration of 91 weeks) at doses up to and including 900 mg/kg/day and 1500 mg/kg/day, respectively. These doses are both approximately 4 times 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 mice. Similarly, there was no tumorigenic potential observed with metformin in male rats. There was, however, an increased incidence of benign stromal uterine polyps in female rats treated with 900 mg/kg/day.
Saxagliptin was not mutagenic or clastogenic with or without metabolic activation in an in vitro Ames bacterial assay, an in vitro cytogenetics assay in primary human lymphocytes, an in vivo oral micronucleus assay in rats, an in vivo oral DNA repair study in rats, and an oral in vivo/in vitro cytogenetics study in rat peripheral blood lymphocytes. The active metabolite was not mutagenic in an in vitro Ames bacterial assay.
There was no evidence of a mutagenic potential of metformin in the following in vitro tests: Ames test (S. typhimurium), gene mutation test (mouse lymphoma cells), or chromosomal aberrations test (human lymphocytes). Results in the in vivo mouse micronucleus test were also negative.
Impairment of Fertility
In a rat fertility study, males were treated with oral gavage doses for 2 weeks prior to mating, during mating, and up to scheduled termination (approximately 4 weeks total) and females were treated with oral gavage doses for 2 weeks prior to mating through gestation day 7. No adverse effects on fertility were observed at exposures of approximately 603 (males) and 776 (females) times the MRHD. Higher doses that elicited maternal toxicity also increased fetal resorptions (approximately 2069 and 6138 times the MRHD). Additional effects on estrous cycling, fertility, ovulation, and implantation were observed at approximately 6138 times the MRHD.
Fertility of male or female rats was unaffected by metformin when administered at doses as high as 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 KOMBIGLYZE XR or its individual components. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, KOMBIGLYZE XR, like other antidiabetic medications, should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Coadministration of saxagliptin and metformin, to pregnant rats and rabbits during the period of organogenesis, was neither embryolethal nor teratogenic in either species when tested at doses yielding systemic exposures (AUC) up to 100 and 10 times the maximum recommended human doses (MRHD; saxagliptin 5 mg and metformin 2000 mg), respectively, in rats; and 249 and 1.1 times the MRHDs in rabbits. In rats, minor developmental toxicity was limited to an increased incidence of wavy ribs; associated maternal toxicity was limited to weight decrements of 11% to 17% over the course of the study, and related reductions in maternal food consumption. In rabbits, coadministration was poorly tolerated in a subset of mothers (12 of 30), resulting in death, moribundity, or abortion. However, among surviving mothers with evaluable litters, maternal toxicity was limited to marginal reductions in body weight over the course of gestation days 21 to 29; and associated developmental toxicity in these litters was limited to fetal body weight decrements of 7%, and a low incidence of delayed ossification of the fetal hyoid.
Saxagliptin was not teratogenic at any dose tested when administered to pregnant rats and rabbits during periods of organogenesis. Incomplete ossification of the pelvis, a form of developmental delay, occurred in rats at a dose of 240 mg/kg, or approximately 1503 and 66 times human exposure to saxagliptin and the active metabolite, respectively, at the MRHD of 5 mg. Maternal toxicity and reduced fetal body weights were observed at 7986 and 328 times the human exposure at the MRHD for saxagliptin and the active metabolite, respectively. Minor skeletal variations in rabbits occurred at a maternally toxic dose of 200 mg/kg, or approximately 1432 and 992 times the MRHD.
Saxagliptin administered to female rats from gestation day 6 to lactation day 20 resulted in decreased body weights in male and female offspring only at maternally toxic doses (exposures ≥ 1629 and 53 times saxagliptin and its active metabolite at the MRHD). No functional or behavioral toxicity was observed in offspring of rats administered saxagliptin at any dose.
Saxagliptin crosses the placenta into the fetus following dosing in pregnant rats.
Metformin was not teratogenic in rats and rabbits at doses up to 600 mg/kg/day. This represents an exposure of about 2 and 6 times the maximum recommended human daily dose of 2000 mg based on body surface area comparisons for rats and rabbits, respectively. Determination of fetal concentrations demonstrated a partial placental barrier to metformin.
No studies in lactating animals have been conducted with the combined components of KOMBIGLYZE XR. In studies performed with the individual components, both saxagliptin and metformin are secreted in the milk of lactating rats. It is not known whether saxagliptin or metformin are secreted in human milk. Because many drugs are secreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when KOMBIGLYZE XR is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness of KOMBIGLYZE XR in pediatric patients under 18 years of age have not been established. Additionally, studies characterizing the pharmacokinetics of KOMBIGLYZE XR in pediatric patients have not been performed.
Elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function. Because metformin is contraindicated in patients with renal impairment, carefully monitor renal function in the elderly and use KOMBIGLYZE XR with caution as age increases. [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]
In the six, double-blind, controlled clinical safety and efficacy trials of saxagliptin, 634 (15.3%) of the 4148 randomized patients were 65 years and over, and 59 (1.4%) patients were 75 years and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between patients ≥ 65 years old and the younger patients. While this clinical experience has 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. Metformin is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney. Because the risk of lactic acidosis with metformin is greater in patients with impaired renal function, KOMBIGLYZE XR should only be used in patients with normal renal function. The initial and maintenance dosing of metformin should be conservative in patients with advanced age due to the potential for decreased renal function in this population. Any dose adjustment should be based on a careful assessment of renal function. [See CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]
Last reviewed on RxList: 6/17/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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