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The replacement of a systemic corticosteroid with topical corticoid can be accompanied by signs of adrenal insufficiency, and in addition some patients may experience symptoms of withdrawal, e.g., joint and/or muscular pain, lassitude and depression. Patients previously treated for prolonged periods with systemic corticosteroids and transferred to NASAREL should be carefully monitored to avoid acute adrenal insufficiency in response to stress.
Careful attention must also be given to patients who have associated asthma or other clinical conditions where too rapid a decrease in systemic corticosteroids may exacerbate their symptoms.
The use of NASAREL with systemic prednisone as alternate day therapy or with daily doses of less than 7.5 mg could increase the likelihood of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis suppression compared to a therapeutic dose of either one alone. Therefore, NASAREL treatment should be used with caution in patients already on prednisone regimens for any disease.
Persons who are on drugs which suppress the immune system are more susceptible to infections than healthy individuals. Chicken pox and measles, for example, can have a more serious or even fatal course in nonimmune pediatric patients or adults on corticosteroids. In such pediatric patients or adults who have not had these diseases, particular care should be taken to avoid exposure. How the dose, route and duration of corticosteroid administration affects the risk of developing a disseminated infection is not known. The contribution of underlying disease and/or prior corticosteroid treatment to the risk is also not known. If a nonimmune patient is exposed to chicken pox, prophylaxis with varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) may be indicated. If exposed to measles, prophylaxis with pooled intramuscular immunoglobulin (IG) may be indicated. (See the respective package insert for complete VZIG and IG prescribing information). If chicken pox develops, treatment with antiviral agents may be considered.
General: Intranasal corticosteroids may also cause a reduction in growth velocity when administered to pediatric patients (see PRECAUTIONS, Pediatric Use section).
Symptomatic relief may not occur in some patients for as long as 2 weeks. Although systemic effects are minimal at recommended doses, NASAREL should not be continued beyond 3 weeks in the absence of significant symptomatic improvement. In clinical studies with flunisolide administered intranasally, the development of localized infections of the nose and pharynx with Candida albicans has occurred only rarely. When such an infection develops it may require treatment with appropriate local therapy or discontinuance of treatment with NASAREL. Since there is no evidence that exceeding the maximum recommended dose of NASAREL is more effective, higher doses should be avoided. Patients should be advised to clear their nasal passages of secretions prior to use. NASAREL should not be used in the presence of untreated local infection involving the nasal mucosa. Flunisolide should be used with caution, if at all, in patients with active or quiescent tuberculosis infection, fungal, bacterial or systemic viral infections or ocular herpes simplex.
As with other nasally inhaled corticosteroids, nasal septal perforations have been reported in rare instances with the use of flunisolide nasal sprays. Temporary or permanent loss of the sense of smell and taste have also been reported with the use of flunisolide nasal sprays.
Because of the inhibitory effect of corticosteroids on wound healing, a nasal corticosteroid should be used with caution in patients who have experienced recent nasal septal ulcers, recurrent epistaxis, nasal surgery or trauma, until healing has occurred.
Although systemic corticoid effects typical of Cushing's syndrome are minimal with recommended doses of topical steroids, this potential increases with excessive doses. If recommended doses are exceeded with long-term use, or if individuals are particularly sensitive, symptoms of hypercorticism could occur including suppression of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function and/or retardation of growth in pediatric patients. Therefore, larger than recommended doses of NASAREL should be avoided.
Carcinogenesis: Long-term studies were conducted in mice and rats using oral administration to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of the drug. Flunisolide was administered to mice at doses of 5, 50 and 500 mcg/kg/day (15, 150 and 1500 mcg/m 2 respectively), and to rats at doses of 0.5, 1 and 2.5 mcg/kg/day (3.0, 5.9 and 14.8 mcg/m 2 respectively). There was an increase in the incidence of benign pulmonary adenomas in mice, but not in rats. Female rats receiving the highest oral dose had an increased incidence of mammary adenocarcinoma compared to control rats. An increased incidence of this tumor type has been reported for other corticosteroids.
Impairment of Fertility: Female rats receiving high doses of flunisolide (200 mcg/kg/day or 1180 mcg/m 2 body surface area) showed some evidence of impaired fertility. Reproductive performance in the low (8 mcg/kg/day or 47.2 mcg/m 2 ) and mid-dose (40 mcg/kg/day or 236 mcg/m 2 ) groups was comparable to controls.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy Category C. As with other corticosteroids, flunisolide has been shown to be teratogenic and fetotoxic in rabbits and rats at oral doses of 40 and 200 mcg/kg/day (480 mcg/m 2 and 1180 mcg/m 2 ) respectively. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Flunisolide should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because other corticosteroids are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when flunisolide is administered to nursing women.
Pediatric Use: NASAREL is not recommended for use in pediatric patients less than 6 years of age as safety and efficacy have not been assessed in this age group. For pediatric patients 6 years of age and over, recommended maximum daily doses should not be exceeded in order to minimize the risk of systemic corticoid effects, including potential growth retardation. (See INDIVIDUALIZATION OF DOSAGE and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION) Controlled clinical studies have shown that intranasal corticosteroids may cause a reduction in growth velocity in pediatric patients. This effect has been observed in the absence of laboratory evidence of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression, suggesting that growth velocity is a more sensitive indicator of systemic corticosteroid exposure in pediatric patients than some commonly used tests of HPA axis function. The long-term effects of this reduction in growth velocity associated with intranasal corticosteroids, including the impact on final adult height, are unknown. The potential for "catch up" growth following discontinuation of treatment with intranasal corticosteroids has not been adequately studied. The growth of pediatric patients receiving intranasal corticosteroids, including NASAREL, should be monitored routinely (e.g., via stadiometry). The potential growth effects of prolonged treatment should be weighed against clinical benefits obtained and the availability of safe and effective noncorticosteroid treatment alternatives. To minimize the systemic effects of intranasal corticosteroids, including NASAREL, each patient should be titrated to the lowest dose that effectively controls his/her symptoms.
Geriatric Use: Clinical studies of NASAREL did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger 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.
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/8/2004
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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