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Side Effects


Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reactions rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice. The adverse event information from clinical trials does, however, provide a basis for identifying the adverse events that appear to be related to drug use and for approximating rates.

In multiple-dose, placebo-controlled trials, 607 hyponatremic patients (serum sodium < 135 mEq/L) were treated with SAMSCA. The mean age of these patients was 62 years; 70% of patients were male and 82% were Caucasian. One hundred eighty nine (189) tolvaptan-treated patients had a serum sodium < 130 mEq/L, and 52 patients had a serum sodium < 125 mEq/L. Hyponatremia was attributed to cirrhosis in 17% of patients, heart failure in 68% and SIADH/other in 16%. Of these patients, 223 were treated with the recommended dose titration (15 mg titrated to 60 mg as needed to raise serum sodium).

Overall, over 4,000 patients have been treated with oral doses of tolvaptan in open-label or placebo-controlled clinical trials. Approximately 650 of these patients had hyponatremia; approximately 219 of these hyponatremic patients were treated with tolvaptan for 6 months or more.

The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 5% more than placebo) seen in two 30-day, double-blind, placebo-controlled hyponatremia trials in which tolvaptan was administered in titrated doses (15 mg to 60 mg once daily) were thirst, dry mouth, asthenia, constipation, pollakiuria or polyuria and hyperglycemia. In these trials, 10% (23/223) of tolvaptan-treated patients discontinued treatment because of an adverse event, compared to 12% (26/220) of placebo-treated patients; no adverse reaction resulting in discontinuation of trial medication occurred at an incidence of > 1% in tolvaptan-treated patients.

Table 1 lists the adverse reactions reported in tolvaptan-treated patients with hyponatremia (serum sodium < 135 mEq/L) and at a rate at least 2% greater than placebo-treated patients in two 30-day, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. In these studies, 223 patients were exposed to tolvaptan (starting dose 15 mg, titrated to 30 and 60 mg as needed to raise serum sodium). Adverse events resulting in death in these trials were 6% in tolvaptan-treated-patients and 6% in placebo-treated patients.

Table 1: Adverse Reactions ( > 2% more than placebo) in Tolvaptan-Treated Patients in Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Hyponatremia Trials

System Organ Class
MedDRA Preferred Term
Tolvaptan 15 mg/day-60 mg/day
(N = 223)
n (%)
(N = 220)
n (%)
Gastrointestinal Disorders
Dry mouth 28 (13) 9 (4)
Constipation 16 (7) 4 (2)
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions
Thirsta 35 (16) 11 (5)
Asthenia 19 (9) 9 (4)
Pyrexia 9 (4) 2 (1)
Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders
Hyperglycemiab 14 (6) 2 (1)
Anorexiac 8 (4) 2 (1)
Renal and Urinary Disorders
Pollakiuria or polyuriad 25 (11) 7 (3)
The following terms are subsumed under the referenced ADR in Table 1:
bdiabetes mellitus;
cdecreased appetite;
durine output increased, micturition urgency, nocturia

In a subgroup of patients with hyponatremia (N = 475, serum sodium < 135 mEq/L) enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (mean duration of treatment was 9 months) of patients with worsening heart failure, the following adverse reactions occurred in tolvaptan-treated patients at a rate at least 2% greater than placebo: mortality (42% tolvaptan, 38% placebo), nausea (21% tolvaptan, 16% placebo), thirst (12% tolvaptan, 2% placebo), dry mouth (7% tolvaptan, 2% placebo) and polyuria or pollakiuria (4% tolvaptan, 1% placebo).

Gastrointestinal bleeding in patients with cirrhosis

In patients with cirrhosis treated with tolvaptan in the hyponatremia trials, gastrointestinal bleeding was reported in 6 out of 63 (10%) tolvaptan-treated patients and 1 out of 57 (2%) placebo treated patients.

The following adverse reactions occurred in < 2% of hyponatremic patients treated with SAMSCA and at a rate greater than placebo in double-blind placebo-controlled trials (N = 607 tolvaptan; N = 518 placebo) or in < 2% of patients in an uncontrolled trial of patients with hyponatremia (N = 111) and are not mentioned elsewhere in the label.

Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders: Disseminated intravascular coagulation

Cardiac Disorders: Intracardiac thrombus, ventricular fibrillation

Investigations: Prothrombin time prolonged

Gastrointestinal Disorders: Ischemic colitis

Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders: Diabetic ketoacidosis

Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders: Rhabdomyolysis

Nervous System: Cerebrovascular accident

Renal and Urinary Disorders: Urethral hemorrhage

Reproductive System and Breast Disorders (female): Vaginal hemorrhage

Respiratory, Thoracic, and Mediastinal Disorders: Pulmonary embolism, respiratory failure

Vascular disorder: Deep vein thrombosis

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of SAMSCA. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of an unknown size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Neurologic: Osmotic demyelination syndrome

Investigations: Hypernatremia

Removal of excess free body water increases serum osmolality and serum sodium concentrations. All patients treated with tolvaptan, especially those whose serum sodium levels become normal, should continue to be monitored to ensure serum sodium remains within normal limits. If hypernatremia is observed, management may include dose decreases or interruption of tolvaptan treatment, combined with modification of free-water intake or infusion. During clinical trials of hyponatremic patients, hypernatremia was reported as an adverse event in 0.7% of patients receiving tolvaptan vs. 0.6% of patients receiving placebo; analysis of laboratory values demonstrated an incidence of hypernatremia of 1.7% in patients receiving tolvaptan vs. 0.8% in patients receiving placebo.

Immune System Disorders

Hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylactic shock and rash generalized [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].

Read the Samsca (tolvaptan tablets) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


Effects Of Drugs On Tolvaptan

Ketoconazole and Other Strong CYP 3A Inhibitors

SAMSCA is metabolized primarily by CYP 3A. Ketoconazole is a strong inhibitor of CYP 3A and also an inhibitor of P-gp. Co-administration of SAMSCA and ketoconazole 200 mg daily results in a 5-fold increase in exposure to tolvaptan. Co-administration of SAMSCA with 400 mg ketoconazole daily or with other strong CYP 3A inhibitors (e.g., clarithromycin, itraconazole, telithromycin, saquinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir and nefazodone) at the highest labeled dose would be expected to cause an even greater increase in tolvaptan exposure. Thus, SAMSCA and strong CYP 3A inhibitors should not be co-administered [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CONTRAINDICATIONS].

Moderate CYP 3A Inhibitors

The impact of moderate CYP 3A inhibitors (e.g., erythromycin, fluconazole, aprepitant, diltiazem and verapamil) on the exposure to co-administered tolvaptan has not been assessed. A substantial increase in the exposure to tolvaptan would be expected when SAMSCA is coadministered with moderate CYP 3A inhibitors. Co-administration of SAMSCA with moderate CYP3A inhibitors should therefore generally be avoided [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Grapefruit Juice

Co-administration of grapefruit juice and SAMSCA results in a 1.8-fold increase in exposure to tolvaptan [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

P-gp Inhibitors

Reduction in the dose of SAMSCA may be required in patients concomitantly treated with P-gp inhibitors, such as e.g., cyclosporine, based on clinical response [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Rifampin and Other CYP 3A Inducers

Rifampin is an inducer of CYP 3A and P-gp. Co-administration of rifampin and SAMSCA reduces exposure to tolvaptan by 85%. Therefore, the expected clinical effects of SAMSCA in the presence of rifampin and other inducers (e.g., rifabutin, rifapentin, barbiturates, phenytoin, carbamazepine and St. John's Wort) may not be observed at the usual dose levels of SAMSCA.

The dose of SAMSCA may have to be increased [Dosage and Administration (2.3) and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS (5.5)].

Lovastatin, Digoxin, Furosemide, and Hydrochlorothiazide

Co-administration of lovastatin, digoxin, furosemide, and hydrochlorothiazide with SAMSCA has no clinically relevant impact on the exposure to tolvaptan.

Effects Of Tolvaptan On Other Drugs


Digoxin is a P-gp substrate. Co-administration of SAMSCA with digoxin increased digoxin AUC by 20% and Cmax by 30%.

Warfarin, Amiodarone, Furosemide, and Hydrochlorothiazide

Co-administration of tolvaptan does not appear to alter the pharmacokinetics of warfarin, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, or amiodarone (or its active metabolite, desethylamiodarone) to a clinically significant degree.


SAMSCA is a weak inhibitor of CYP 3A. Co-administration of lovastatin and SAMSCA increases the exposure to lovastatin and its active metabolite lovastatin-β hydroxyacid by factors of 1.4 and 1.3, respectively. This is not a clinically relevant change.

Pharmacodynamic Interactions

Tolvaptan produces a greater 24 hour urine volume/excretion rate than does furosemide or hydrochlorothiazide. Concomitant administration of tolvaptan with furosemide or hydrochlorothiazide results in a 24 hour urine volume/excretion rate that is similar to the rate after tolvaptan administration alone.

Although specific interaction studies were not performed, in clinical studies tolvaptan was used concomitantly with beta-blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and potassium sparing diuretics. Adverse reactions of hyperkalemia were approximately 1-2% higher when tolvaptan was administered with angiotensin receptor blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and potassium sparing diuretics compared to administration of these medications with placebo. Serum potassium levels should be monitored during concomitant drug therapy.

As a V2 receptor antagonist, tolvaptan may interfere with the V2 agonist activity of desmopressin (dDAVP). In a male subject with mild Von Willebrand (vW) disease, intravenous infusion of dDAVP 2 hours after administration of oral tolvaptan did not produce the expected increases in vW Factor Antigen or Factor VIII activity. It is not recommended to administer SAMSCA with a V2 agonist.

Read the Samsca Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/17/2014

Side Effects

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