"Sept. 30, 2011 (San Diego) -- A disturbing number of people with heart problems who shouldn't be prescribed standard migraine medications like Amerge, Axert, Frova, Imitrex, Maxalt, Relpax, Treximet, and Zomig are given the drugs anyway, research"...
Mechanism of Action
Migraines are likely due to local cranial vasodilatation and/or to the release of sensory neuropeptides (vasoactive intestinal peptide, substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide) through nerve endings in the trigeminal system. The therapeutic activity of RELPAX for the treatment of migraine headache is thought to be due to the agonist effects at the 5-HT1B/1D receptors on intracranial blood vessels (including the arterio-venous anastomoses) and sensory nerves of the trigeminal system which result in cranial vessel constriction and inhibition of pro-inflammatory neuropeptide release.
Eletriptan is well absorbed after oral administration with peak plasma levels occurring approximately 1.5 hours after dosing to healthy subjects. In patients with moderate to severe migraine the median Tmax is 2.0 hours. The mean absolute bioavailability of eletriptan is approximately 50%. The oral pharmacokinetics are slightly more than dose-proportional over the clinical dose range. The AUC and Cmax of eletriptan are increased by approximately 20 to 30% following oral administration with a high fat meal. RELPAX can be taken with or without food.
The volume of distribution of eletriptan following IV administration is 138L. Plasma protein binding is moderate and approximately 85%.
The N-demethylated metabolite of eletriptan is the only known active metabolite. This metabolite causes vasoconstriction similar to eletriptan in animal models. Though the half-life of the metabolite is estimated to be about 13 hours, the plasma concentration of the N-demethylated metabolite is 10-20% of parent drug and is unlikely to contribute significantly to the overall effect of the parent compound.
The terminal elimination half-life of eletriptan is approximately 4 hours. Mean renal clearance (CLR) following oral administration is approximately 3.9 L/h. Non-renal clearance accounts for about 90% of the total clearance.
Age: The pharmacokinetics of eletriptan are generally unaffected by age. Blood pressure was increased to a greater extent in elderly subjects than in young subjects [see Use in Specific Populations ]. The pharmacokinetic disposition of eletriptan in the elderly is similar to that seen in younger adults.
There is a statistically significant increased half-life (from about 4.4 hours to 5.7 hours) between elderly (65 to 93 years of age) and younger adult subjects (18 to 45 years of age) [see Use In Specific Populations].
Gender: The pharmacokinetics of eletriptan are unaffected by gender.
Race: A comparison of pharmacokinetic studies run in western countries with those run in Japan has indicated an approximate 35% reduction in the exposure of eletriptan in Japanese male volunteers compared to western males. Population pharmacokinetic analysis of two clinical studies indicates no evidence of pharmacokinetic differences between Caucasians and non-Caucasian patients.
Menstrual Cycle: In a study of 16 healthy females, the pharmacokinetics of eletriptan remained consistent throughout the phases of the menstrual cycle.
Renal Impairment: There was no significant change in clearance observed in subjects with mild, moderate or severe renal impairment, though blood pressure elevations were observed in this population [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Hepatic Impairment: Subjects with mild or moderate hepatic impairment demonstrated an increase in both AUC (34%) and half-life. The Cmax was increased by 18%. No dose adjustment is necessary in subjects with mild or moderate hepatic impairment. The effects of severe hepatic impairment on eletriptan metabolism have not been evaluated [see Use in Specific Populations].
Drug Interaction Studies
CYP3A4 inhibitors: In vitro studies have shown that eletriptan is metabolized by the CYP3A4 enzyme. A clinical study demonstrated about a 3-fold increase in Cmax and about a 6-fold increase in the AUC of eletriptan when combined with ketoconazole. The half-life increased from 5 hours to 8 hours and the Tmax increased from 2.8 hours to 5.4 hours. Another clinical study demonstrated about a 2-fold increase in Cmax and about a 4-fold increase in AUC when erythromycin was co-administered with eletriptan. It has also been shown that co-administration of verapamil and eletriptan yields about a 2-fold increase in Cmax and about a 3-fold increase in AUC of eletriptan, and that co-administration of fluconazole and eletriptan yields about a 1.4-fold increase in Cmax and about a 2-fold increase in AUC of eletriptan.
RELPAX is contraindicated within at least 72 hours of treatment with the following potent CYP3A4 inhibitors: ketoconazole, itraconazole, nefazodone, troleandomycin, clarithromycin, ritonavir and nelfinavir. RELPAX should not be used within 72 hours with drugs that have demonstrated potent CYP3A4 inhibition [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
Propranolol: The Cmax and AUC of eletriptan were increased by 10 and 33%, respectively, in the presence of propranolol. No interactive increases in blood pressure were observed. No dosage adjustment appears to be needed for patients taking propranolol.
The effect of eletriptan on other drugs: The effect of eletriptan on enzymes other than cytochrome P450 has not been investigated. In vitro human liver microsome studies suggest that eletriptan has little potential to inhibit CYP1A2, 2C9, 2E1 and 3A4 at concentrations up to 100 μM. While eletriptan has an effect on CYP2D6 at high concentration, this effect should not interfere with metabolism of other drugs when eletriptan is used at recommended doses. There is no in vitro or in vivo evidence that clinical doses of eletriptan will induce drug metabolizing enzymes. Therefore, eletriptan is unlikely to cause clinically important drug interactions mediated by these enzymes.
The efficacy of RELPAX in the acute treatment of migraines was evaluated in eight randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled studies. All eight studies used 40 mg. Seven studies evaluated an 80 mg dose and two studies included a 20 mg dose.
In all eight studies, randomized patients treated their headaches as outpatients. Seven studies enrolled adults and one study enrolled adolescents (age 11 to 17). Patients treated in the seven adult studies were predominantly female (85%) and Caucasian (94%) with a mean age of 40 years (range 18 to 78). In all studies, patients were instructed to treat a moderate to severe headache. Headache response, defined as a reduction in headache severity from moderate or severe pain to mild or no pain, was assessed up to 2 hours after dosing. Associated symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia were also assessed.
Maintenance of response was assessed for up to 24 hours post dose. In the adult studies, a second dose of RELPAX or other medication was allowed 2 to 24 hours after the initial treatment for both persistent and recurrent headaches. The incidence and time to use of these additional treatments were also recorded.
In the seven adult studies, the percentage of patients achieving headache response 2 hours after treatment was significantly greater among patients receiving RELPAX at all doses compared to those who received placebo. The two-hour response rates from these controlled clinical studies are summarized in Table 2.
Table 2: Percentage of Patients with Headache Response
(Mild or No Headache) 2 Hours Following Treatment
|Placebo||RELPAX 20 mg||RELPAX 40 mg||RELPAX 80 mg|
|Study 7||29.5% (n=122)||NA||57.5%* (n=492)||NA|
|* p value < 0.05 vs placebo
NA -Not Applicable
Comparisons of the performance of different drugs based upon results obtained in different clinical trials are never reliable. Because studies are generally conducted at different times, with different samples of patients, by different investigators, employing different criteria and/or different interpretations of the same criteria, under different conditions (dose, dosing regimen, etc.), quantitative estimates of treatment response and the timing of response may be expected to vary considerably from study to study.
The estimated probability of achieving an initial headache response within 2 hours following treatment is depicted in Figure 1.
Figure 1 : Estimated Probability of Initial Headache
Response Within 2 Hours*
*Figure 1 shows the Kaplan-Meier plot of probability over time of obtaining headache response (no or mild pain) following treatment with eletriptan. The plot is based on 7 placebo-controlled, outpatient trials in adults providing evidence of efficacy (Studies 1 through 7). Patients not achieving headache response or taking additional treatment prior to 2 hours were censored at 2 hours.
For patients with migraine-associated photophobia, phonophobia, and nausea at baseline, there was a decreased incidence of these symptoms following administration of RELPAX as compared to placebo.
Two to 24 hours following the initial dose of study treatment, patients were allowed to use additional treatment for pain relief in the form of a second dose of study treatment or other medication. The estimated probability of taking a second dose or other medications for migraine over the 24 hours following the initial dose of study treatment is summarized in Figure 2.
Figure 2 : Estimated Probability of Taking a Second
Dose / Other Medication Over the 24 Hours Following the First Dose*
*This Kaplan-Meier plot is based on data obtained in 7 placebo-controlled trials in adults (Studies 1 through 7). Patients were instructed to take a second dose of study medication as follows: a) in the event of no response at 2 hours (studies 2 and 4-7) or at 4 hours (study 3); b) in the event of headache recurrence within 24 hours (studies 2-7). Patients not using additional treatments were censored at 24 hours. The plot includes both patients who had headache response at 2 hours and those who had no response to the initial dose. It should be noted that the protocols did not allow re-medication within 2 hours post dose.
The efficacy of RELPAX was unaffected by the duration of attack, gender or age of the patient, relationship to menses, or concomitant use of estrogen replacement therapy/oral contraceptives or frequently used migraine prophylactic drugs.
In a single study in adolescents (n=274), there were no statistically significant differences between treatment groups. The headache response rate at 2 hours was 57% for both RELPAX 40 mg Tablets and placebo.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/21/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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