March 27, 2017
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Mechanism Of Action

The exact mechanism of action for clobazam, a 1,5-benzodiazepine, is not fully understood but is thought to involve potentiation of GABAergic neurotransmission resulting from binding at the benzodiazepine site of the GABAA receptor.


Effects On Electrocardiogram

The effect of ONFI 20 mg and 80 mg administered twice daily on QTc interval was evaluated in a randomized, evaluator blinded, placebo-, and active-controlled (moxifloxacin 400 mg) parallel thorough QT study in 280 healthy subjects. In a study with demonstrated ability to detect small effects, the upper bound of the one-sided 95% confidence interval for the largest placebo adjusted, baseline-corrected QTc based on the Fridericia correction method was below 10 ms, the threshold for regulatory concern. Thus, at a dose two times the maximum recommended dose, ONFI did not prolong the QTc interval to any clinically relevant extent.


The peak plasma levels (Cmax) and the area under the curve (AUC) of clobazam are dose-proportional over the dose range of 10-80 mg following single- or multiple-dose administration of ONFI. Based on a population pharmacokinetic analysis, the pharmacokinetics of clobazam are linear from 5-160 mg/day. Clobazam is converted to N-desmethylclobazam which has about 1/5 the activity of clobazam. The estimated mean elimination half-lives (t½) of clobazam and Ndesmethylclobazam were 36-42 hours and 71-82 hours, respectively.


Clobazam is rapidly and extensively absorbed following oral administration. The time to peak concentrations (Tmax) of clobazam tablets under fasted conditions Revised: December 2014 Page 16 of 36 ranged from 0.5 to 4 hours after single- or multiple-dose administrations. The relative bioavailability of clobazam tablets compared to an oral solution is approximately 100%. After single dose administration of the oral suspension under fasted conditions, the Tmax ranged from 0.5 to 2 hours. Based on exposure (Cmax and AUC) of clobazam, ONFI tablets and suspension were shown to have similar bioavailability under fasted conditions. The administration of ONFI tablets with food or when crushed in applesauce does not affect absorption. Although not studied, the oral bioavailability of the oral suspension is unlikely to be affected under fed conditions.


Clobazam is lipophilic and distributes rapidly throughout the body. The apparent volume of distribution at steady state was approximately 100 L. The In vitro plasma protein binding of clobazam and N-desmethylclobazam is approximately 80-90% and 70%, respectively.

Metabolism And Excretion

Clobazam is extensively metabolized in the liver, with approximately 2% of the dose recovered in urine and 1% in feces as unchanged drug. The major metabolic pathway of clobazam involves N-demethylation, primarily by CYP3A4 and to a lesser extent by CYP2C19 and CYP2B6. N-desmethylclobazam, an active metabolite, is the major circulating metabolite in humans, and at therapeutic doses, plasma concentrations are 3-5 times higher than those of the parent compound. Based on animal and In vitro receptor binding data, estimates of the relative potency of Ndesmethylclobazam compared to parent compound range from 1/5 to equal potency. N-desmethylclobazam is extensively metabolized, mainly by CYP2C19. Ndesmethylclobazam and its metabolites comprise ~94% of the total drug-related components in urine. Following a single oral dose of radiolabeled drug, approximately 11% of the dose was excreted in the feces and approximately 82% was excreted in the urine.

The polymorphic CYP2C19 is the major contributor to the metabolism of the pharmacologically active N-desmethylclobazam [see Pharmacogenomics]. In CYP2C19 poor metabolizers, levels of N-desmethylclobazam were 5-fold higher in plasma and 2- to 3-fold higher in the urine than in CYP2C19 extensive metabolizers.

Pharmacokinetics In Specific Populations


Population pharmacokinetic analyses showed that the clearance of clobazam is lower in elderly subjects compared to other age groups (ages 2 to 64). Dosing should be adjusted in the elderly [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].


Population pharmacokinetic analyses showed no difference in the clearance of clobazam between women and men.


Population pharmacokinetic analyses including Caucasian (75%), African American (15%), and Asian (9%) subjects showed that there is no evidence of clinically significant effect of race on the clearance of clobazam.

Renal Impairment

The effect of renal impairment on the pharmacokinetics of clobazam was evaluated in patients with mild (creatinine clearance [CLCR] > 50 to 80 mL/min; N=6) and moderate (CLCR=30 to 50 mL/min; N=6) renal dysfunction, with matching healthy controls (N=6), following administration of multiple doses of ONFI 20 mg/day. There were insignificant changes in Cmax (3-24%) and AUC ( ≤ 13%) for clobazam or Ndesmethylclobazam in patients with mild or moderate renal impairment compared to patients with normal renal function. Patients with severe renal impairment or ESRD were not included in this study.

Hepatic Impairment

There are limited data to characterize the effect of hepatic impairment on the pharmacokinetics of clobazam. In a small study, the pharmacokinetics of a 20 mg single oral dose of ONFI in 9 patients with liver impairment were compared to healthy controls (N=6). The Cmax and the mean plasma clearance of clobazam, as well as the Cmax of N-desmethylclobazam, showed no significant change compared to the healthy controls. The AUC values of N-desmethylclobazam in these patients were not available. Adjust dosage in patients with hepatic impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Drug Interaction Studies

In Vitro Studies

Clobazam did not inhibit CYP1A2, CYP2C8, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP3A4, UGT1A1, UGT1A4, UGT1A6, or UGT2B4 In vitro. N-desmethylclobazam showed weak inhibition of CYP2C9, UGT1A4, UGT1A6 and UGT2B4.

Clobazam and N-desmethylclobazam did not significantly increase CYP1A2 or CYP2C19 activities, but did induce CYP3A4 activity in a concentration-dependent manner. Clobazam and N-desmethylclobazam also increased UGT1A1 mRNA but at concentrations much higher than therapeutic levels. The potential for clobazam or N-desmethylclobazam to induce CYP2B6 and CYP2C8 has not been evaluated.

Clobazam and N-desmethylclobazam do not inhibit P-glycoprotein (P-gp), but are Pgp substrates.

In Vivo Studies

Potential for ONFI to Affect Other Drugs

The effect of repeated 40 mg once-daily doses of ONFI on the pharmacokinetic profiles of single-dose dextromethorphan (CYP2D6 substrate), midazolam (CYP3A4 substrate), caffeine (CYP1A2 substrate), and tolbutamide (CYP2C9 substrate), was studied when these probe substrates were given as a drug cocktail (N=18).

Clobazam increased AUC and Cmax of dextromethorphan by 90% and 59%, respectively, reflecting its inhibition of CYP2D6 In vivo. Drugs metabolized by CYP2D6 may require dose adjustment when used with ONFI.

Clobazam decreased the AUC and Cmax of midazolam by 27% and 24%, respectively, and increased the AUC and Cmax of the metabolite 1- hydroxymidazolam by 4-fold and 2-fold, respectively. This level of induction does not call for dosage adjustment of drugs that are primarily metabolized by CYP3A4 when used concomitantly with ONFI. Some hormonal contraceptives are metabolized by CYP3A4 and their effectiveness may be diminished when given with ONFI [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Repeated ONFI doses had no effect on caffeine and tolbutamide. A population pharmacokinetic analysis indicated clobazam did not affect the exposure of valproic acid (a CYP2C9/2C19 substrate) or lamotrigine (a UGT substrate).

Potential for Other Drugs to Affect ONFI

Co-administration of ketoconazole (a strong CYP3A4 inhibitor) 400 mg once-daily for 5 days increased clobazam AUC by 54%, with an insignificant effect on clobazam Cmax. There was no significant change in AUC and Cmax of N-desmethylclobazam (N=18).

Strong (e.g., fluconazole, fluvoxamine, ticlopidine) and moderate (e.g., omeprazole) inhibitors of CYP2C19 may result in up to a 5-fold increase in exposure to Ndesmethylclobazam, the active metabolite of clobazam, based on extrapolation from pharmacogenomic data [see Pharmacogenomics]. Dosage adjustment of ONFI may be necessary when co-administered with strong or moderate CYP2C19 inhibitors [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].

The effects of concomitant antiepileptic drugs that are CYP3A4 inducers (phenobarbital, phenytoin, and carbamazepine), CYP2C9 inducers (valproic acid, phenobarbital, phenytoin, and carbamazepine), and CYP2C9 inhibitors (felbamate and oxcarbazepine) were evaluated using data from clinical trials. Results of population pharmacokinetic analysis show that these concomitant antiepileptic drugs did not significantly alter the pharmacokinetics of clobazam or N-desmethylclobazam at steady-state.

Alcohol has been reported to increase the maximum plasma exposure of clobazam by approximately 50%. Alcohol may have additive CNS depressant effects when taken with ONFI [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, DRUG INTERACTIONS].


The polymorphic CYP2C19 is the main enzyme that metabolizes the pharmacologically active N-desmethylclobazam. Compared to CYP2C19 extensive metabolizers, N-desmethylclobazam AUC and Cmax are approximately 3-5 times higher in poor metabolizers (e.g., subjects with *2/*2 genotype) and 2 times higher in intermediate metabolizers (e.g., subjects with *1/*2 genotype). The prevalence of CYP2C19 poor metabolism differs depending on racial/ethnic background. Dosage in patients who are known CYP2C19 poor metabolizers may need to be adjusted [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

The systemic exposure of clobazam is similar for both CYP2C19 poor and extensive metabolizers.

Clinical Studies

The effectiveness of ONFI for the adjunctive treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome was established in two multicenter controlled studies (Study 1 and Study 2). Both studies were similar in terms of disease characteristics and concomitant AED treatments. The most common concomitant AED treatments at baseline included: valproate, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, and topiramate.

Study 1

Study 1 (N=238) was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study consisting of a 4-week baseline period followed by a 3-week titration period and 12- week maintenance period. Patients age 2-54 years with a current or prior diagnosis of LGS were stratified into 2 weight groups (12.5 kg to ≤ 30 kg or > 30 kg) and then randomized to placebo or one of three target maintenance doses of ONFI according to Table 5.

Table 5: Study 1 Total Daily Dose

  ≤ 30 kg Body Weight > 30 kg Body Weight
Low Dose 5 mg daily 10 mg daily
Medium Dose 10 mg daily 20 mg daily
High Dose 20 mg daily 40 mg daily

Doses above 5 mg/day were administered in two divided doses.

The primary efficacy measure was the percent reduction in the weekly frequency of drop seizures (atonic, tonic, or myoclonic), also known as drop attacks, from the 4- week baseline period to 12-week maintenance period.

The pre-dosing baseline mean weekly drop seizure frequency was 98, 100, 61, and 105 for the placebo, low-, medium-, and high-dose groups, respectively. Figure 1 presents the mean percent reduction in weekly drop seizures from this baseline. All dose groups of ONFI were statistically superior (p ≤ 0.05) to the placebo group. This effect appeared to be dose dependent.

Figure 1: Mean Percent Reduction from Baseline in Weekly Drop Seizure Frequency (Study 1)

Mean Percent Reduction from Baseline in Weekly Drop Seizure Frequency - Illustration

Figure 2 shows changes from baseline in weekly drop seizure frequency by category for patients treated with ONFI and placebo in Study 1. Patients in whom the seizure frequency increased are shown at left as “worse.” Patients in whom the seizure frequency decreased are shown in five categories.

Figure 2: Drop Seizure Response by Category for ONFI and Placebo (Study 1)

Drop Seizure Response by Category for ONFI and Placebo - Illustration

There was no evidence that tolerance to the therapeutic effect of ONFI developed during the 3-month maintenance period.

Study 2

Study 2 (N=68) was a randomized, double-blind comparison study of high- and lowdose ONFI, consisting of a 4-week baseline period followed by a 3-week titration period and 4-week maintenance period. Patients age 2-25 years with a current or prior diagnosis of LGS were stratified by weight, then randomized to either a low or high dose of ONFI, and then entered a 3-week titration period.

The primary efficacy measure was the percent reduction in the weekly frequency of drop seizures (atonic, tonic, or myoclonic), also known as drop attacks, from the 4- week baseline period to the 4-week maintenance period.

A statistically significantly greater reduction in seizure frequency was observed in the high-dose group compared to the low-dose group (median percent reduction of 93% vs 29%; p < 0.05).

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/3/2017
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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