"Nov. 2, 2012 -- Safety steps taken in the wake of the fungal meningitis outbreak have worsened drug shortages, raising questions about whether the U.S. must choose between the safety and the availability of crucial medicines.
Cognitive and Neuropsychiatric Adverse Reactions
Severe psychiatric symptoms and neurological impairment may occur during treatment with PRIALT. PRIALT is contraindicated in patients with a pre-existing history of psychosis. Monitor all patients frequently for evidence of cognitive impairment, hallucinations, or changes in mood or consciousness. PRIALT therapy can be interrupted or discontinued abruptly without evidence of withdrawal effects in the event of serious neurological or psychiatric signs or symptoms.
Events of acute psychiatric disturbances such as hallucinations (12%), paranoid reactions (3%), hostility (2%), delirium (2%), psychosis (1%), and manic reactions (0.4%) have been reported in patients treated with PRIALT. Patients with pretreatment psychiatric disorders may be at an increased risk. PRIALT may cause or worsen depression with the risk of suicide in susceptible patients. In placebo-controlled trials, there was a higher incidence of suicide, suicide attempts, and suicide ideations in PRIALT-treated patients than in the placebo group (0.27/patient year for PRIALT patients and 0.10/patient year for placebo patients).
Management of psychiatric complications may need to include discontinuation of PRIALT, treatment with psychotherapeutic agents and/or short-term hospitalization. Before drug is reinitiated, careful evaluation must be performed on an individual basis.
Use of PRIALT has been associated with cognitive impairment and decreased alertness/unresponsiveness. The following cognitive adverse reaction rates were reported: confusion (33%), memory impairment (22%), speech disorder (14%), aphasia (12%), thinking abnormal (8%), and amnesia (1%). Cognitive impairment may appear gradually after several weeks of treatment. Reduce the dose of PRIALT or discontinue the use of PRIALT if signs or symptoms of cognitive impairment develop, but other contributing causes must also be considered. The cognitive effects of PRIALT are generally reversible within 2 weeks after drug discontinuation. The median time to reversal of the individual cognitive effects ranged from 3 to 15 days. The elderly ( ≥ 65 years of age) are at higher risk for confusion. [see Use In Specific Populations]
There may be additive effects on cognitive impairment and decreased alertness when PRIALT is used in conjunction with other CNS-depressant drugs that may necessitate dosage adjustments.
Meningitis and Other Infections
Meningitis can occur due to inadvertent contamination of the microinfusion device and other means such as CSF seeding due to hematogenous or direct spread from an infected pump pocket or catheter tract. While meningitis is rare with an internal microinfusion device and surgically-implanted catheter, the incidence increases substantially with external devices. In PRIALT clinical trials, meningitis occurred in 3% (40) of patients in the PRIALT group using either internal or external microinfusion devices and 1% (1 case) of patients in the placebo group.
The risk of meningitis was particularly high in patients with external microinfusion devices and catheters, occurring in 38 out of 41 patients (93%), 37 of whom received PRIALT and one who received placebo.
Patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers must be particularly vigilant for the signs and symptoms of meningitis, including but not limited to fever, headache, stiff neck, altered mental status (e.g., lethargy, confusion, disorientation), nausea or vomiting, and occasionally seizures. Serious infection or meningitis can occur within 24 hours of a breach in sterility such as a disconnected catheter, the most common cause of meningitis with external microinfusion devices. The patient and health care provider must be familiar with the handling of the external microinfusion device and care of the catheter skin exit site.
Strict aseptic procedures must be used during the preparation of the PRIALT solution and refilling of the microinfusion device to decrease the risk of introducing contaminants or other environmental pathogens into the reservoir. In suspected cases (especially in immunocompromised patients) or in confirmed cases of meningitis, CSF cultures must be obtained and appropriate antibiotic therapy must be promptly instituted. Treatment of meningitis usually requires removal of the microinfusion system, catheter, and any other foreign body materials within the intrathecal space and, therefore, discontinuation of PRIALT therapy.
Reduced Level of Consciousness
Patients have become unresponsive or stuporous while receiving PRIALT. The incidence of unresponsiveness or stupor in clinical trials was 2% in PRIALT-treated patients. During these episodes, patients sometimes appear to be conscious and breathing is not depressed. If reduced levels of consciousness occur, discontinue PRIALT until the event resolves, and other etiologies (e.g., meningitis) must be considered. There is no known pharmacologic antagonist for this effect. Patients taking concomitant antiepileptics, neuroleptics, sedatives, or diuretics may be at higher risk of depressed levels of consciousness. If altered consciousness occurs, discontinue other CNS-depressant drugs as clinically appropriate.
Elevation of Serum Creatine Kinase
In clinical studies, 40% of PRIALT-treated patients had serum creatine kinase (CK) levels above the upper limit of normal (ULN), and 11% had CK levels that were greater than three times the ULN. In cases where CK was fractionated, only the muscle isoenzyme (MM) was elevated. The time to occurrence was sporadic, but the greatest incidence of CK elevation was during the first two months of treatment. One case of symptomatic myopathy with EMG findings, and two cases of acute renal failure associated with rhabdomyolysis and extreme CK elevations (17,000–27,000 IU/L) have been reported in PRIALT-treated patients.
Therefore, monitor serum CK in patients undergoing treatment with PRIALT periodically (e.g., every other week for the first month and monthly as appropriate thereafter). Evaluate patients clinically and obtain CK measurements in the setting of new neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., myalgias, myasthenia, muscle cramps, asthenia) or a reduction in physical activity. If these symptoms continue and CK levels remain elevated or continue to rise, reduce the dose or discontinue the use of PRIALT.
Withdrawal From Opiates
PRIALT is not an opiate and cannot prevent or relieve the symptoms associated with the withdrawal of opiates.
For patients being withdrawn from intrathecal opiates or intrathecal opiate infusion, gradually taper over a few weeks and replace with a pharmacologically equivalent dose of oral opiates.
Driving and Operating Machinery
Use of PRIALT has been associated with cognitive impairment and decreased alertness/unresponsiveness. Therefore, caution patients against engaging in hazardous activities that require complete mental alertness or motor coordination such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
No carcinogenicity studies have been conducted in animals.
Ziconotide was negative in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay, in vitro mouse lymphoma assay, in vivo mouse micronucleus assay, and in the in vitro Syrian hamster embryo (SHE) cell transformation assay.
Ziconotide did not affect male fertility in rats when administered as a continuous intravenous infusion at a dose of up to 10 mg/kg/day when administered for approximately 8 weeks, including a 28-day pre-mating period, or female fertility at a dose of 3 mg/kg/day when administered for approximately 6 weeks, including a 14-day pre-mating period. Estimated exposures for the male and female rats were approximately 6500-fold and 1700-fold higher, respectively, than the expected exposure resulting from the maximum recommended human daily intrathecal dose of 0.8 mcg/hr (19.2 mcg/day) based on plasma exposure.
Female fertility in rats was significantly affected following continuous intravenous infusion at a dose of 10 mg/kg/day. Significant reductions in corpora lutea, implantation sites, and number of live fetuses were observed.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
Ziconotide was embryolethal in rats when given as a continuous intravenous infusion during the major period of organogenesis as evidenced by significant increases in post-implantation loss because of an absence or a reduced number of live fetuses. Estimated exposure for embryolethality in the rat was approximately 700-fold above the expected exposure resulting from the maximum recommended human daily intrathecal dose of 0.8 mcg/hr (19.2 mcg/day). Ziconotide was not teratogenic in female rats when given as a continuous intravenous infusion at doses up to 30 mg/kg/day or in female rabbits up to 5 mg/kg/day during the major period of organ development. Estimated exposures in the female rat and rabbit were approximately 26,000-fold and 940-fold higher than the expected exposure resulting from the maximum recommended human daily dose of 0.8 mcg/hr (19.2 mcg/day) based on plasma exposure. Maternal toxicity in the rat and rabbit, as evidenced by decreased body weight gain and food consumption, was present at all dose levels. Maternal toxicity in the rat led to reduced fetal weights and transient, delayed ossification of the pubic bones at doses ≥ 15 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 8900-fold higher than the expected exposure resulting from the maximum recommended human daily intrathecal dose of 0.8 mcg/hr (19.2 mcg/day) based on plasma exposure. The no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) for embryo-fetal development in rats was 0.5 mg/kg/day and in rabbits was 5 mg/kg/day. Estimated NOAEL exposures in the rat and rabbit were approximately 400-fold and 940-fold higher than the expected exposure resulting from the maximum recommended human daily intrathecal dose of 0.8 mcg/hr (19.2 mcg/day) based on plasma exposure.
In a pre- and post-natal study in rats, ziconotide given as a continuous intravenous infusion did not affect pup development or reproductive performance up to a dose of 10 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 3800-fold higher than the expected exposure resulting from the maximum recommended human daily intrathecal dose of 0.8 mcg/hr (19.2 mcg/day) based on plasma exposure. Maternal toxicity, as evidenced by clinical observations, and decreases in body weight gain and food consumption were observed at all doses.
No adequate and well-controlled studies have been conducted in pregnant women. Because animal studies are not always predictive of human response, PRIALT should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies risk to the fetus.
Labor and Delivery
The effect of PRIALT on labor and delivery in humans is not known.
It is not known whether PRIALT is excreted in human breast milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from PRIALT, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Of the total number of subjects in clinical studies of PRIALT, 22% were 65 and over, while 7% were 75 and over. In all trials, there was a higher incidence of confusion in older patients (42% for ≥ 65 year old versus 29% for < 65 year old subgroups). Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between elderly and younger patients. In general, the 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: 9/12/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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