"Nov. 28, 2012 -- Merck's experimental sleep drug suvorexant helps insomniacs fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, early data suggest.
Later studies reported at a sleep conference last June confirmed the findings, says W. Joseph "...
Serious Rash, Including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
Serious rash requiring hospitalization and discontinuation of treatment has been reported in association with the use of NUVIGIL (armodafinil) or modafinil (the racemic mixture of S- and R-enantiomers).
NUVIGIL has not been studied in pediatric patients in any setting and is not approved for use in pediatric patients for any indication.
In clinical trials of modafinil, the incidence of rash resulting in discontinuation was approximately 0.8% (13 per 1,585) in pediatric patients (age < 17 years); these rashes included 1 case of possible Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and 1 case of apparent multi-organ hypersensitivity reaction. Several of the cases were associated with fever and other abnormalities (e.g., vomiting, leukopenia). The median time to rash that resulted in discontinuation was 13 days. No such cases were observed among 380 pediatric patients who received placebo. on one side and “225” on the other Rare cases of serious or life-threatening rash, including SJS, Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), and Drug Rash with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) have been reported in adults and children in worldwide post-marketing experience. The reporting rate of TEN and SJS associated with modafinil use, which is generally accepted to be an underestimate due to underreporting, exceeds the background incidence rate. Estimates of the background incidence rate for these serious skin reactions in the general population range between 1 to 2 cases per million-person years.
Cases of serious rash similar to those observed with modafinil including skin and mouth blistering have been reported in adults in postmarketing experience with NUVIGIL.
There are no factors that are known to predict the risk of occurrence or the severity of rash associated with modafinil or armodafinil. Nearly all cases of serious rash associated with these drugs occurred within 1 to 5 weeks after treatment initiation. However, isolated cases have been reported after prolonged treatment (e.g., 3 months). Accordingly, duration of therapy cannot be relied upon as a means to predict the potential risk heralded by the first appearance of a rash.
Although benign rashes also occur with NUVIGIL, it is not possible to reliably predict which rashes will prove to be serious. Accordingly, NUVIGIL should be discontinued at the first sign of rash, unless the rash is clearly not drug-related. Discontinuation of treatment may not prevent a rash from becoming life-threatening or permanently disabling or disfiguring.
Angioedema And Anaphylaxis Reactions
Angioedema and hypersensitivity (with rash, dysphagia, and bronchospasm), were observed with NUVIGIL. Patients should be advised to discontinue therapy and immediately report to their physician any signs or symptoms suggesting angioedema or anaphylaxis (e.g., swelling of face, eyes, lips, tongue or larynx; difficulty in swallowing or breathing; hoarseness).
Multi-organ Hypersensitivity Reactions
Multi-organ hypersensitivity reactions, including at least one fatality in post-marketing experience, have occurred in close temporal association (median time to detection 13 days: range 4-33) to the initiation of modafinil. A similar risk of multi-organ hypersensitivity reactions with armodafinil cannot be ruled out.
Although there have been a limited number of reports, multi-organ hypersensitivity reactions may result in hospitalization or be life-threatening. There are no factors that are known to predict the risk of occurrence or the severity of multi-organ hypersensitivity reactions. Signs and symptoms of this disorder were diverse; however, patients typically, although not exclusively, presented with fever and rash associated with other organ system involvement. Other associated manifestations included myocarditis, hepatitis, liver function test abnormalities, hematological abnormalities (e.g., eosinophilia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia), pruritus, and asthenia. Because multi-organ hypersensitivity is variable in its expression, other organ system symptoms and signs, not noted here, may occur.
If a multi-organ hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, NUVIGIL should be discontinued. Although there are no case reports to indicate cross-sensitivity with other drugs that produce this syndrome, the experience with drugs associated with multi-organ hypersensitivity would indicate this to be a possibility.
Patients with abnormal levels of sleepiness who take NUVIGIL should be advised that their level of wakefulness may not return to normal. Patients with excessive sleepiness, including those taking NUVIGIL, should be frequently reassessed for their degree of sleepiness and, if appropriate, advised to avoid driving or any other potentially dangerous activity. Prescribers should also be aware that patients may not acknowledge sleepiness or drowsiness until directly questioned about drowsiness or sleepiness during specific activities.
In pre-approval narcolepsy, OSA and SWD controlled trials of NUVIGIL, anxiety, agitation, nervousness, and irritability were reasons for treatment discontinuation more often in patients on NUVIGIL compared to placebo (NUVIGIL 1.2% and placebo 0.3%). Depression was also a reason for treatment discontinuation more often in patients on NUVIGIL compared to placebo (NUVIGIL 0.6% and placebo 0.2%). Cases of suicide ideation were observed in clinical trials.
Caution should be exercised when NUVIGIL is given to patients with a history of psychosis, depression, or mania. If psychiatric symptoms develop in association with NUVIGIL administration, consider discontinuing NUVIGIL.
Psychiatric adverse reactions have been reported in patients treated with modafinil. Modafinil and armodafinil (NUVIGIL) are very closely related. Therefore, the incidence and type of psychiatric symptoms associated with NUVIGIL are expected to be similar to the incidence and type of these events with modafinil.
Post-marketing adverse reactions associated with the use of modafinil have included mania, delusions, hallucinations, suicidal ideation, and aggression, some resulting in hospitalization. Many, but not all, patients had a prior psychiatric history. One healthy male volunteer developed ideas of reference, paranoid delusions, and auditory hallucinations in association with multiple daily 600 mg doses of modafinil and sleep deprivation. There was no evidence of psychosis 36 hours after drug discontinuation.
Effects On Ability To Drive And Use Machinery
Although NUVIGIL has not been shown to produce functional impairment, any drug affecting the CNS may alter judgment, thinking or motor skills. Patients should be cautioned about operating an automobile or other hazardous machinery until it is reasonably certain that NUVIGIL therapy will not adversely affect their ability to engage in such activities.
In clinical studies of modafinil, cardiovascular adverse reactions, including chest pain, palpitations, dyspnea and transient ischemic T-wave changes on ECG were observed in three subjects in association with mitral valve prolapse or left ventricular hypertrophy. It is recommended that NUVIGIL tablets not be used in patients with a history of left ventricular hypertrophy or in patients with mitral valve prolapse who have experienced the mitral valve prolapse syndrome when previously receiving CNS stimulants. Findings suggestive of mitral valve prolapse syndrome include but are not limited to ischemic ECG changes, chest pain, or arrhythmia. If new onset of any of these findings occurs, consider cardiac evaluation.
Blood pressure monitoring in short term ( ≤ 3 months) pre-approval controlled trials of OSA, SWD, and narcolepsy showed small average increases in mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients receiving NUVIGIL as compared to placebo (1.2 to 4.3 mmHg in the various experimental groups). There was also a slightly greater proportion of patients on NUVIGIL requiring new or increased use of antihypertensive medications (2.9%) compared to patients on placebo (1.8%). There was a small, but consistent, average increase in pulse rate over placebo in pre-approval controlled trials. This increase varied from 0.9 to 3.5 BPM. Increased monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure may be appropriate in patients on NUVIGIL. Caution should be exercised when prescribing NUVIGIL to patients with known cardiovascular disease.
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
NUVIGIL is indicated for patients who have abnormal levels of sleepiness. NUVIGIL has been shown to improve, but not eliminate, this abnormal tendency to fall asleep. Therefore, patients should not alter their previous behavior with regard to potentially dangerous activities (e.g., driving, operating machinery) or other activities requiring appropriate levels of wakefulness, until and unless treatment with NUVIGIL has been shown to produce levels of wakefulness that permit such activities. Advise patients that NUVIGIL is not a replacement for sleep.
Continuing Previously Prescribed Treatments
Inform patients that it may be critical that they continue to take their previously prescribed treatments (e.g., patients with OSA receiving CPAP should continue to do so).
Discontinuing Drug Due to Adverse Reactions
Advise patients to stop taking NUVIGIL and contact their physician right away if they experience rash, depression, anxiety, or signs of psychosis or mania.
Advise patients to notify their physician if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy. Caution patients regarding the potential increased risk of pregnancy when using steroidal contraceptives (including depot or implantable contraceptives) with NUVIGIL and for one month after discontinuation of therapy.
Advise patients to notify their physician if they are breastfeeding an infant.
Advise patients to inform their physician if they are taking, or plan to take, any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, because of the potential for interactions between NUVIGIL and other drugs.
Advise patients that the use of NUVIGIL in combination with alcohol has not been studied. Advise patients that it is prudent to avoid alcohol while taking NUVIGIL.
Advise patients to stop taking NUVIGIL and to notify their physician right away if they develop a rash, hives, mouth sores, blisters, peeling skin, trouble swallowing or breathing or a related allergic phenomenon.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
In a mouse carcinogenicity study, armodafinil (R-modafinil) was administered at oral doses of up to300 mg/kg/day in males and 100 mg/kg/day in females for approximately two years, no tumorigenic effects were observed.
In a rat carcinogenicity study modafinil (a mixture of R- and S-modafinil) was administered at oral doses of up to 60 mg/kg/day for two years; no tumorigenic effects were observed.
At the highest doses studied in mouse and rat, the plasma armodafinil exposures (AUC) were less than that in humans at the MRHD of NUVIGIL (250 mg/day).
Armodafinil was negative in an in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay and in an in vitro chromosomal aberration assay in human lymphocytes.
Modafinil was negative in a series of in vitro (i.e., bacterial reverse mutation, mouse lymphoma tk, chromosomal aberration in human lymphocytes, cell transformation in BALB/3T3 mouse embryo cells) or in vivo (mouse bone marrow micronucleus) assays.
Impairment of Fertility
A fertility and early embryonic development (to implantation) study was not conducted with armodafinil alone.
Oral administration of modafinil (doses of up to 480 mg/kg/day) to male and female rats prior to and throughout mating, and continuing in females through day 7 of gestation produced an increase in the time to mate at the highest dose; no effects were observed on other fertility or reproductive parameters. The no-effect dose of 240 mg/kg/day was associated with a plasma armodafinil AUC less than that in humans at the MRHD of NUVIGIL.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of armodafinil in pregnant women. Intrauterine growth restriction and spontaneous abortion have been reported in association with armodafinil and modafinil. Although the pharmacology of armodafinil is not identical to that of the sympathomimetic amines, it does share some pharmacologic properties with this class. Certain of these drugs have been associated with intrauterine growth restriction and spontaneous abortions. Whether the cases reported with armodafinil are drug-related is unknown. In studies of armodafinil (R-modafinil) and modafinil (a mixture of R- and S-modafinil) conducted in rats (armodafinil, modafinil) and rabbits (modafinil), developmental toxicity was observed at clinically relevant plasma exposures. NUVIGIL should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Oral administration of armodafinil (60, 200, or 600 mg/kg/day) to pregnant rats throughout organogenesis resulted in increased incidences of fetal visceral and skeletal variations and decreased fetal body weight at the highest dose. The highest no-effect dose for embryofetal developmental toxicity in rat (200 mg/kg/day) was associated with a plasma armodafinil exposure (AUC) less than that in humans at the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of NUVIGIL (250 mg/day).
Modafinil (50, 100, or 200 mg/kg/day) administered orally to pregnant rats throughout organogenesis caused, in the absence of maternal toxicity, an increase in resorptions and an increased incidence of visceral and skeletal variations in the offspring at the highest dose tested. The higher no-effect dose for embryofetal developmental toxicity in rat (100 mg/kg/day) was associated with a plasma armodafinil AUC less than that in humans at the MRHD of NUVIGIL. However, in a subsequent study of up to 480 mg/kg/day of modafinil, no adverse effects on embryofetal development were observed.
Modafinil administered orally to pregnant rabbits throughout organogenesis at doses of up to 100 mg/kg/day had no effect on embryofetal development; however, the doses used were too low to adequately assess the effects of modafinil on embryofetal development. In a subsequent developmental toxicity study evaluating doses of 45, 90, and 180 mg/kg/day in pregnant rabbits, the incidences of fetal structural alterations and embryofetal death were increased at the highest dose. The highest no-effect dose for developmental toxicity (100 mg/kg/day) was associated with a plasma armodafinil AUC less than that in humans at the MRHD of NUVIGIL.
Modafinil administration to rats throughout gestation and lactation at oral doses of up to 200 mg/kg/day resulted in decreased viability in the offspring at doses greater than 20 mg/kg/day, a dose resulting in a plasma armodafinil AUC less than that in humans at the MRHD of NUVIGIL. No effects on postnatal developmental and neurobehavioral parameters were observed in surviving offspring.
A pregnancy registry has been established to collect information on the pregnancy outcomes of women exposed to NUVIGIL. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register pregnant patients, or pregnant women may enroll themselves in the registry by calling 1-866-404-4106 (toll free).
It is not known whether armodafinil or its metabolites are excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when NUVIGIL is administered to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established. Serious rash has been seen in pediatric patients receiving modafinil [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
In elderly patients, elimination of armodafinil and its metabolites may be reduced as a consequence of aging. Therefore, consideration should be given to the use of lower doses and close monitoring in this population [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/27/2015
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