"Feb. 23, 2012 -- The FDA has warned that treatment with antipsychotic drugs increases the risk of death among elderly patients with dementia, and now a new study confirms that some drugs are riskier than others.
Compared to patients t"...
Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analysis of 17 placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. SEROQUEL is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see BOXED WARNING].
Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Adolescents and Young Adults
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment. Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18-24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.
The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk differences (drug vs. placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1000 patients treated) are provided in Table 2.
Table 2: Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of
Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated
|Age Range||Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated|
|Increases Compared to Placebo|
|< 18||14 additional cases|
|18-24||5 additional cases|
|Decreases Compared to Placebo|
|25-64||1 fewer case|
|≥ 65||6 fewer cases|
No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.
It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.
All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.
The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.
Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms.
Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for SEROQUEL should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.
Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder
A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown. However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, including SEROQUEL, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression.
Cerebrovascular Adverse Reactions, Including Stroke, in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis
In placebo-controlled trials with risperidone, aripiprazole, and olanzapine in elderly subjects with dementia, there was a higher incidence of cerebrovascular adverse reactions (cerebrovascular accidents and transient ischemic attacks) including fatalities compared to placebo-treated subjects. SEROQUEL is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see also BOXED WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
A potentially fatal symptom complex sometimes referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) has been reported in association with administration of antipsychotic drugs, including SEROQUEL. Rare cases of NMS have been reported with SEROQUEL. Clinical manifestations of NMS are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmia). Additional signs may include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis) and acute renal failure.
The diagnostic evaluation of patients with this syndrome is complicated. In arriving at a diagnosis, it is important to exclude cases where the clinical presentation includes both serious medical illness (e.g., pneumonia, systemic infection, etc.) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms (EPS). Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, drug fever and primary central nervous system (CNS) pathology.
The management of NMS should include: 1) immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy; 2) intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring; and 3) treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available. There is no general agreement about specific pharmacological treatment regimens for NMS.
If a patient requires antipsychotic drug treatment after recovery from NMS, the potential reintroduction of drug therapy should be carefully considered. The patient should be carefully monitored since recurrences of NMS have been reported.
Atypical antipsychotic drugs have been associated with metabolic changes that include hyperglycemia/diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and body weight gain. While all of the drugs in the class have been shown to produce some metabolic changes, each drug has its own specific risk profile. In some patients, a worsening of more than one of the metabolic parameters of weight, blood glucose, and lipids was observed in clinical studies. Changes in these metabolic profiles should be managed as clinically appropriate.
Hyperglycemia and Diabetes Mellitus
Hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma or death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics, including quetiapine. Assessment of the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and glucose abnormalities is complicated by the possibility of an increased background risk of diabetes mellitus in patients with schizophrenia and the increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus in the general population. Given these confounders, the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and hyperglycemia-related adverse reactions is not completely understood. However, epidemiological studies suggest an increased risk of treatment-emergent hyperglycemia-related adverse reactions in patients treated with the atypical antipsychotics. Precise risk estimates for hyperglycemia-related adverse reactions in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics are not available.
Patients with an established diagnosis of diabetes mellitus who are started on atypical antipsychotics should be monitored regularly for worsening of glucose control. Patients with risk factors for diabetes mellitus (e.g., obesity, family history of diabetes) who are starting treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing at the beginning of treatment and periodically during treatment. Any patient treated with atypical antipsychotics should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycemia including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, and weakness. Patients who develop symptoms of hyperglycemia during treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing. In some cases, hyperglycemia has resolved when the atypical antipsychotic was discontinued; however, some patients required continuation of anti-diabetic treatment despite discontinuation of the suspect drug.
Table 3: Fasting Glucose – Proportion of Patients
Shifting to ≥ 126 mg/dL in Short-Term ( ≤ 12 weeks) Placebo-Controlled
|Laboratory Analyte||Category Change (At Least Once) from Baseline||Treatment Arm||N||Patients n (%)|
|Fasting Glucose||Normal to High ( < 100 mg/dL to ≥ 126 mg/dL)||Quetiapine||2907||71 (2.4%)|
|Borderline to High ( ≥ 100 mg/dL and||Quetiapine||572||67 (11.7%)|
|< 126 mg/dL to ≥ 126 mg/dL)||Placebo||279||33 (11.8%)|
|2. Includes SEROQUEL and SEROQUEL XR data.|
In a 24-week trial (active-controlled, 115 patients treated with SEROQUEL) designed to evaluate glycemic status with oral glucose tolerance testing of all patients, at week 24 the incidence of a treatment-emergent post-glucose challenge glucose level ≥ 200 mg/dL was 1.7% and the incidence of a fasting treatment-emergent blood glucose level ≥ 126 mg/dL was 2.6%. The mean change in fasting glucose from baseline was 3.2 mg/dL and mean change in 2 hour glucose from baseline was -1.8 mg/dL for quetiapine.
In 2 long-term placebo-controlled randomized withdrawal clinical trials for bipolar I disorder maintenance, mean exposure of 213 days for SEROQUEL (646 patients) and 152 days for placebo (680 patients), the mean change in glucose from baseline was +5.0 mg/dL for SEROQUEL and –0.05 mg/dL for placebo. The exposure-adjusted rate of any increased blood glucose level ( ≥ 126 mg/dL) for patients more than 8 hours since a meal (however, some patients may not have been precluded from calorie intake from fluids during fasting period) was 18.0 per 100 patient years for SEROQUEL (10.7% of patients; n=556) and 9.5 for placebo per 100 patient years (4.6% of patients; n=581).
Children and Adolescents
In a placebo-controlled SEROQUEL monotherapy study of adolescent patients (13–17 years of age) with schizophrenia (6 weeks duration), the mean change in fasting glucose levels for SEROQUEL (n=138) compared to placebo (n=67) was – 0.75 mg/dL versus –1.70 mg/dL. In a placebo-controlled SEROQUEL monotherapy study of children and adolescent patients (10–17 years of age) with bipolar mania (3 weeks duration), the mean change in fasting glucose level for SEROQUEL (n=170) compared to placebo (n=81) was 3.62 mg/dL versus –1.17 mg/dL. No patient in either study with a baseline normal fasting glucose level ( < 100 mg/dL) or a baseline borderline fasting glucose level ( ≥ 100 mg/dL and < 126 mg/dL) had a treatment-emergent blood glucose level of ≥ 126 mg/dL.
In a placebo-controlled SEROQUEL XR monotherapy study (8 weeks duration) of children and adolescent patients (10 – 17 years of age) with bipolar depression, in which efficacy was not established, the mean change in fasting glucose levels for SEROQUEL XR (n = 60) compared to placebo (n = 62) was 1.8 mg/dL versus 1.6 mg/dL. In this study, there were no patients in the SEROQUEL XR or placebo-treated groups with a baseline normal fasting glucose level ( < 100 mg/dL) that had an increase in blood glucose level > 126 mg/dL. There was one patient in the SEROQUEL XR group with a baseline borderline fasting glucose level ( > 100 mg/dL) and ( < 126 mg/dL) who had an increase in blood glucose level of > 126 mg/dL compared to zero patients in the placebo group.
Table 4: Percentage of Adult
Patients with Shifts in Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, LDL-Cholesterol and
HDL-Cholesterol from Baseline to Clinically Significant Levels by Indication
|Laboratory Analyte||Indication||Treatment Arm||N||Patients n (%)|
|Total Cholesterol ≥ 240 mg/dL||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||137||24 (18%)|
|Bipolar Depression2||SEROQUEL||463||41 (9%)|
|Triglycerides ≥ 200 mg/dL||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||120||26 (22%)|
|Bipolar Depression2||SEROQUEL||436||59 (14%)|
|LDL-Cholesterol ≥ 160 mg/dL||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||na3||na3|
|Bipolar Depression2||SEROQUEL||465||29 (6%)|
|HDL-Cholesterol ≤ 40 mg/dL||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||na3||na3|
|Bipolar Depression2||SEROQUEL||393||56 (14%)|
|1. 6 weeks
2. 8 weeks duration
3. Parameters not measured in the SEROQUEL registration studies for schizophrenia. Lipid parameters also were not measured in the bipolar mania registration studies.
Children and Adolescents
Table 5 shows the percentage of children and adolescents with changes in total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol from baseline in clinical trials with SEROQUEL.
Table 5: Percentage of
Children and Adolescents with Shifts in Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides,
LDL-Cholesterol and HDL-Cholesterol from Baseline to Clinically Significant
|Laboratory Analyte||Indication||Treatment Arm||N||Patients n (%)|
|Total Cholesterol ≥ 200 mg/dL||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||107||13 (12%)|
|Bipolar Mania2||SEROQUEL||159||16 (10%)|
|Triglycerides ≥ 150 mg/dL||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||103||17 (17%)|
|Bipolar Mania2||SEROQUEL||149||32 (22%)|
|LDL-Cholesterol ≥ 130 mg/dL||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||112||4 (4%)|
|Bipolar Mania2||SEROQUEL||169||13 (8%)|
|HDL-Cholesterol ≤ 40 mg/dL||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||104||16 (15%)|
|Bipolar Mania2||SEROQUEL||154||16 (10%)|
|1. 13-17 years,
6 weeks duration
2. 10-17 years, 3 weeks duration
In a placebo-controlled SEROQUEL XR monotherapy study (8 weeks duration) of children and adolescent patients (1017 years of age) with bipolar depression, in which efficacy was not established, the percentage of children and adolescents with shifts in total cholesterol ( ≥ 200 mg/dL), triglycerides ( ≥ 150 mg/dL), LDL-cholesterol ( ≥ 130 mg/dL) and HDL-cholesterol ( ≤ 40 mg/dL) from baseline to clinically significant levels were: total cholesterol 8% (7/83) for SEROQUEL XR vs. 6% (5/84) for placebo; triglycerides 28% (22/80) for SEROQUEL XR vs. 9% (7/82) for placebo; LDL-cholesterol 2% (2/86) for SEROQUEL XR vs. 4% (3/85) for placebo and HDL-cholesterol 20% (13/65) for SEROQUEL XR vs. 15% (11/74) for placebo.
Increases in weight have been observed in clinical trials. Patients receiving quetiapine should receive regular monitoring of weight.
In clinical trials with SEROQUEL the following increases in weight have been reported.
Table 6: Proportion of
Patients with Weight Gain ≥ 7% of Body Weight (Adults)
|Vital Sign||Indication||Treatment Arm||N||Patients n (%)|
|Weight Gain ≥ 7% of Body||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||391||89 (23%)|
|Bipolar Mania (monotherapy)2||SEROQUEL||209||44 (21%)|
|Weight||Bipolar Mania (adjunct therapy)3||SEROQUEL||196||25 (13%)|
|Bipolar Depression4||SEROQUEL||554||47 (8%)|
|1. up to 6
2. up to 12 weeks duration
3. up to 3 weeks duration
4. up to 8 weeks duration
Children and Adolescents
In two clinical trials with SEROQUEL, one in bipolar mania and one in schizophrenia, reported increases in weight are included in table 7.
Table 7: Proportion of
Patients with Weight Gain ≥ 7% of Body Weight (Children and Adolescents)
|Vital Sign||Indication||Treatment Arm||N||Patients n (%)|
|Weight Gain ≥ 7% of Body||Schizophrenia1||SEROQUEL||111||23 (21%)|
|Bipolar Mania2||SEROQUEL||157||18 (12%)|
|1. 6 weeks
2. 3 weeks duration
The mean change in body weight in the schizophrenia trial was 2.0 kg in the SEROQUEL group and -0.4 kg in the placebo group and in the bipolar mania trial it was 1.7 kg in the SEROQUEL group and 0.4 kg in the placebo group.
In an open-label study that enrolled patients from the above two pediatric trials, 63% of patients (241/380) completed 26 weeks of therapy with SEROQUEL. After 26 weeks of treatment, the mean increase in body weight was 4.4 kg. Forty-five percent of the patients gained ≥ 7% of their body weight, not adjusted for normal growth. In order to adjust for normal growth over 26 weeks an increase of at least 0.5 standard deviation from baseline in BMI was used as a measure of a clinically significant change; 18.3% of patients on SEROQUEL met this criterion after 26 weeks of treatment.
In a clinical trial for SEROQUEL XR in children and adolescents (10-17 years of age) with bipolar depression, in which efficacy was not established, the percentage of patients with weight gain ≥ 7% of body weight at any time was 15% (14/92) for SEROQUEL XR vs. 10% (10/100) for placebo. The mean change in body weight was 1.4 kg in the SEROQUEL XR group vs. 0.6 kg in the placebo group.
When treating pediatric patients with SEROQUEL for any indication, weight gain should be assessed against that expected for normal growth.
A syndrome of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements may develop in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs, including quetiapine. Although the prevalence of the syndrome appears to be highest among the elderly, especially elderly women, it is impossible to rely upon prevalence estimates to predict, at the inception of antipsychotic treatment, which patients are likely to develop the syndrome. Whether antipsychotic drug products differ in their potential to cause tardive dyskinesia is unknown.
The risk of developing tardive dyskinesia and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic drugs administered to the patient increase. However, the syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses or may even arise after discontinuation of treatment.
There is no known treatment for established cases of tardive dyskinesia, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn. Antipsychotic treatment, itself, however, may suppress (or partially suppress) the signs and symptoms of the syndrome and thereby may possibly mask the underlying process. The effect that symptomatic suppression has upon the long-term course of the syndrome is unknown.
Given these considerations, SEROQUEL should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimize the occurrence of tardive dyskinesia. Chronic antipsychotic treatment should generally be reserved for patients who appear to suffer from a chronic illness that (1) is known to respond to antipsychotic drugs, and (2) for whom alternative, equally effective, but potentially less harmful treatments are not available or appropriate. In patients who do require chronic treatment, the smallest dose and the shortest duration of treatment producing a satisfactory clinical response should be sought. The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.
If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear in a patient on SEROQUEL, drug discontinuation should be considered. However, some patients may require treatment with SEROQUEL despite the presence of the syndrome.
Quetiapine may induce orthostatic hypotension associated with dizziness, tachycardia and, in some patients, syncope, especially during the initial dose-titration period, probably reflecting its α1-adrenergic antagonist properties. Syncope was reported in 1% (28/3265) of the patients treated with SEROQUEL, compared with 0.2% (2/954) on placebo and about 0.4% (2/527) on active control drugs. Orthostatic hypotension, dizziness, and syncope may lead to falls.
SEROQUEL should be used with particular caution in patients with known cardiovascular disease (history of myocardial infarction or ischemic heart disease, heart failure or conduction abnormalities), cerebrovascular disease or conditions which would predispose patients to hypotension (dehydration, hypovolemia and treatment with antihypertensive medications). The risk of orthostatic hypotension and syncope may be minimized by limiting the initial dose to 25 mg twice daily [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. If hypotension occurs during titration to the target dose, a return to the previous dose in the titration schedule is appropriate.
Increases in Blood Pressure (Children and Adolescents)
In placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with schizophrenia (6-week duration) or bipolar mania (3-week duration), the incidence of increases at any time in systolic blood pressure ( ≥ 20 mmHg) was 15.2% (51/335) for SEROQUEL and 5.5% (9/163) for placebo; the incidence of increases at any time in diastolic blood pressure ( ≥ 10 mmHg) was 40.6% (136/335) for SEROQUEL and 24.5% (40/163) for placebo. In the 26-week open-label clinical trial, one child with a reported history of hypertension experienced a hypertensive crisis. Blood pressure in children and adolescents should be measured at the beginning of, and periodically during treatment.
In a placebo-controlled SEROQUEL XR clinical trial (8 weeks duration) in children and adolescents (10-17 years of age) with bipolar depression, in which efficacy was not established, the incidence of increases at any time in systolic blood pressure ( ≥ 20 mmHg) was 6.5% (6/92) for SEROQUEL XR and 6.0% (6/100) for placebo; the incidence of increases at any time in diastolic blood pressure ( ≥ 10 mmHg) was 46.7% (43/92) for SEROQUEL XR and 36.0% (36/100) for placebo.
Leukopenia, Neutropenia and Agranulocytosis
In clinical trial and postmarketing experience, events of leukopenia/neutropenia have been reported temporally related to atypical antipsychotic agents, including SEROQUEL. Agranulocytosis (including fatal cases) has also been reported.
Possible risk factors for leukopenia/neutropenia include pre-existing low white cell count (WBC) and history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia. Patients with a pre-existing low WBC or a history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia should have their complete blood count (CBC) monitored frequently during the first few months of therapy and should discontinue SEROQUEL at the first sign of a decline in WBC in absence of other causative factors.
Patients with neutropenia should be carefully monitored for fever or other symptoms or signs of infection and treated promptly if such symptoms or signs occur. Patients with severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count < 1000/mm³) should discontinue SEROQUEL and have their WBC followed until recovery.
The development of cataracts was observed in association with quetiapine treatment in chronic dog studies [see Nonclinical Toxicology]. Lens changes have also been observed in adults, children and adolescents during long-term SEROQUEL treatment, but a causal relationship to SEROQUEL use has not been established. Nevertheless, the possibility of lenticular changes cannot be excluded at this time. Therefore, examination of the lens by methods adequate to detect cataract formation, such as slit lamp exam or other appropriately sensitive methods, is recommended at initiation of treatment or shortly thereafter, and at 6-month intervals during chronic treatment.
In clinical trials quetiapine was not associated with a persistent increase in QT intervals. However, the QT effect was not systematically evaluated in a thorough QT study. In post marketing experience, there were cases reported of QT prolongation in patients who overdosed on quetiapine [see OVERDOSAGE], in patients with concomitant illness, and in patients taking medicines known to cause electrolyte imbalance or increase QT interval [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
The use of quetiapine should be avoided in combination with other drugs that are known to prolong QTc including Class 1A antiarrythmics (e.g., quinidine, procainamide) or Class III antiarrythmics (e.g., amiodarone, sotalol), antipsychotic medications (e.g., ziprasidone, chlorpromazine, thioridazine), antibiotics (e.g., gatifloxacin, moxifloxacin), or any other class of medications known to prolong the QTc interval (e.g., pentamidine, levomethadyl acetate, methadone).
Quetiapine should also be avoided in circumstances that may increase the risk of occurrence of torsade de pointes and/or sudden death including (1) a history of cardiac arrhythmias such as bradycardia; (2) hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia; (3) concomitant use of other drugs that prolong the QTc interval; and (4) presence of congenital prolongation of the QT interval.
Caution should also be exercised when quetiapine is prescribed in patients with increased risk of QT prolongation (e.g., cardiovascular disease, family history of QT prolongation, the elderly, congestive heart failure and heart hypertrophy).
During clinical trials, seizures occurred in 0.5% (20/3490) of patients treated with SEROQUEL compared to 0.2% (2/954) on placebo and 0.7% (4/527) on active control drugs. As with other antipsychotics, SEROQUEL should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or with conditions that potentially lower the seizure threshold, e.g., Alzheimer's dementia. Conditions that lower the seizure threshold may be more prevalent in a population of 65 years or older.
Adults: Clinical trials with quetiapine demonstrated dose-related decreases in thyroid hormone levels. The reduction in total and free thyroxine (T4) of approximately 20% at the higher end of the therapeutic dose range was maximal in the first six weeks of treatment and maintained without adaptation or progression during more chronic therapy. In nearly all cases, cessation of quetiapine treatment was associated with a reversal of the effects on total and free T4, irrespective of the duration of treatment. The mechanism by which quetiapine effects the thyroid axis is unclear. If there is an effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, measurement of TSH alone may not accurately reflect a patient's thyroid status. Therefore, both TSH and free T4, in addition to clinical assessment, should be measured at baseline and at follow-up.
In the mania adjunct studies, where SEROQUEL was added to lithium or divalproex, 12% (24/196) of SEROQUEL treated patients compared to 7% (15/203) of placebo-treated patients had elevated TSH levels. Of the SEROQUEL treated patients with elevated TSH levels, 3 had simultaneous low free T4 levels (free T4 < 0.8 LLN).
About 0.7% (26/3489) of SEROQUEL patients did experience TSH increases in monotherapy studies. Some patients with TSH increases needed replacement thyroid treatment.
In all quetiapine trials, the incidence of significant shifts in thyroid hormones and TSH were1: decrease in free T4 (free T4 < 0.8 LLN), 2.0% (357/17513); decrease in total T4, 4.0% (75/1861); decrease in free T3, 0.4% (53/13766); decrease in total T3, 2.0% (26/1312), and increase in TSH, 4.9% (956/19412). In eight patients, where TBG was measured, levels of TBG were unchanged.
Table 8 shows the incidence of these shifts in short term placebo-controlled clinical trials.
Table 8: Incidence of shifts in thyroid hormone levels
and TSH in short-term placebo-controlledclinical trials1,2
|Total T4||Free T4||Total T3||Free T3||TSH|
|1. Based on shifts from normal
baseline to potentially clinically important value at anytime post-baseline.
Shifts in total T4, free T4, total T3 and free T3 are defined as < 0.8 x LLN
(pmol/L) and shift in TSH is > 5 mlU/L at any time.
2. Includes SEROQUEL and SEROQUEL XR data.
In short-term placebo-controlled monotherapy trials, the incidence of reciprocal, shifts in T3 and TSH was 0.0 % for both quetiapine (1/4800) and placebo (0/2190) and for T4 and TSH the shifts were 0.1% (7/6154) for quetiapine versus 0.0% (1/3007) for placebo.
Children and Adolescents
In acute placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescent patients with schizophrenia (6-week duration) or bipolar mania (3-week duration), the incidence of shifts for thyroid function values at any time for SEROQUEL treated patients and placebo-treated patients for elevated TSH was 2.9% (8/280) vs. 0.7% (1/138), respectively and for decreased total thyroxine was 2.8% (8/289) vs. 0% (0/145, respectively). Of the SEROQUEL treated patients with elevated TSH levels, 1 had simultaneous low free T4 level at end of treatment.
Adults: During clinical trials with quetiapine, the incidence of shifts in prolactin levels to a clinically significant value occurred in 3.6% (158/4416) of patients treated with quetiapine compared to 2.6% (51/1968) on placebo.
Children and Adolescents
In acute placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescent patients with bipolar mania (3-week duration) or schizophrenia (6-week duration), the incidence of shifts in prolactin levels to a value ( > 20 μg/L males; > 26 μg/L females at any time) was 13.4% (18/134) for SEROQUEL compared to 4% (3/75) for placebo in males and 8.7% (9/104) for SEROQUEL compared to 0% (0/39) for placebo in females.
Like other drugs that antagonize dopamine D2 receptors, SEROQUEL elevates prolactin levels in some patients and the elevation may persist during chronic administration. Hyperprolactinemia, regardless of etiology, may suppress hypothalamic GnRH, resulting in reduced pituitary gonadotrophin secretion. This, in turn, may inhibit reproductive function by impairing gonadal steroidogenesis in both female and male patients. Galactorrhea, amenorrhea, gynecomastia, and impotence have been reported in patients receiving prolactin-elevating compounds. Long-standing hyperprolactinemia when associated with hypogonadism may lead to decreased bone density in both female and male subjects. Tissue culture experiments indicate that approximately one-third of human breast cancers are prolactin dependent in vitro, a factor of potential importance if the prescription of these drugs is considered in a patient with previously detected breast cancer. As is common with compounds which increase prolactin release, mammary gland, and pancreatic islet cell neoplasia (mammary adenocarcinomas, pituitary and pancreatic adenomas) was observed in carcinogenicity studies conducted in mice and rats. Neither clinical studies nor epidemiologic studies conducted to date have shown an association between chronic administration of this class of drugs and tumorigenesis in humans, but the available evidence is too limited to be conclusive [see Nonclinical Toxicology].
Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment
Somnolence was a commonly reported adverse event reported in patients treated with SEROQUEL especially during the 3-5 day period of initial dose-titration. In schizophrenia trials, somnolence was reported in 18% (89/510) of patients on SEROQUEL compared to 11% (22/206) of placebo patients. In acute bipolar mania trials using SEROQUEL as monotherapy, somnolence was reported in 16% (34/209) of patients on SEROQUEL compared to 4% of placebo patients. In acute bipolar mania trials using SEROQUEL as adjunct therapy, somnolence was reported in 34% (66/196) of patients on SEROQUEL compared to 9% (19/203) of placebo patients. In bipolar depression trials, somnolence was reported in 57% (398/698) of patients on SEROQUEL compared to 15% (51/347) of placebo patients. Since SEROQUEL has the potential to impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills, patients should be cautioned about performing activities requiring mental alertness, such as operating a motor vehicle (including automobiles) or operating hazardous machinery until they are reasonably certain that SEROQUEL therapy does not affect them adversely. Somnolence may lead to falls.
Body Temperature Regulation
Although not reported with SEROQUEL, disruption of the body's ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic agents. Appropriate care is advised when prescribing SEROQUEL for patients who will be experiencing conditions which may contribute to an elevation in core body temperature, e.g., exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, receiving concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration.
Esophageal dysmotility and aspiration have been associated with antipsychotic drug use. Aspiration pneumonia is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in elderly patients, in particular those with advanced Alzheimer's dementia. SEROQUEL and other antipsychotic drugs should be used cautiously in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia.
Acute withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, nausea, and vomiting have been described after abrupt cessation of atypical antipsychotic drugs, including SEROQUEL. In short-term placebo-controlled, monotherapy clinical trials with SEROQUEL XR that included a discontinuation phase which evaluated discontinuation symptoms, the aggregated incidence of patients experiencing one or more discontinuation symptoms after abrupt cessation was 12.1% (241/1993) for SEROQUEL XR and 6.7% (71/1065) for placebo. The incidence of the individual adverse events (i.e., insomnia, nausea, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness and irritability) did not exceed 5.3% in any treatment group and usually resolved after 1 week post-discontinuation. Gradual withdrawal is advised.
1 Based on shifts from normal baseline to potentially clinically important value at anytime post-baseline. Shifts in total T4, free T4, total T3 and free T3 are defined as M0.8 x LLN (pmol/L) and shift in TSH is > 5 mlU/L at any time.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide)
Prescribers or other health professionals should inform patients, their families, and their caregivers about the benefits and risks associated with treatment with SEROQUEL and should counsel them in its appropriate use. A patient Medication Guide about “Antidepressant Medicines, Depression and other Serious Mental Illness, and Suicidal Thoughts or Actions” is available for SEROQUEL. The prescriber or health professional should instruct patients, their families, and their caregivers to read the Medication Guide and should assist them in understanding its contents. Patients should be given the opportunity to discuss the contents of the Medication Guide and to obtain answers to any questions they may have. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.
Patients should be advised of the following issues and asked to alert their prescriber if these occur while taking SEROQUEL.
Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis Patients and caregivers should be advised that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with atypical antipsychotic drugs are at increased risk of death compared with placebo. Quetiapine is not approved for elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors
Patients, their families, and their caregivers should be encouraged to be alert to the emergence of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, mania, other unusual changes in behavior, worsening of depression, and suicidal ideation, especially early during antidepressant treatment and when the dose is adjusted up or down. Families and caregivers of patients should be advised to look for the emergence of such symptoms on a day-to-day basis, since changes may be abrupt. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient's prescriber or health professional, especially if they are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms. Symptoms such as these may be associated with an increased risk for suicidal thinking and behavior and indicate a need for very close monitoring and possibly changes in the medication [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)
Patients should be advised to report to their physician any signs or symptoms that may be related to NMS. These may include muscle stiffness and high fever [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Hyperglycemia and Diabetes Mellitus
Patients should be aware of the symptoms of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and diabetes mellitus. Patients who are diagnosed with diabetes, those with risk factors for diabetes, or those that develop these symptoms during treatment should have their blood glucose monitored at the beginning of and periodically during treatment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients should be advised that elevations in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and decreases in HDL-cholesterol may occur. Patients should have their lipid profile monitored at the beginning of and periodically during treatment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients should be advised that they may experience weight gain. Patients should have their weight monitored regularly [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients should be advised of the risk of orthostatic hypotension (symptoms include feeling dizzy or lightheaded upon standing, which may lead to falls), especially during the period of initial dose titration, and also at times of re-initiating treatment or increases in dose [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Increased Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents
Children and adolescent patients should have their blood pressure measured at the beginning of, and periodically during, treatment [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients with a pre-existing low WBC or a history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia should be advised that they should have their CBC monitored while taking SEROQUEL [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Interference with Cognitive and Motor Performance
Patients should be advised of the risk of somnolence or sedation (which may lead to falls), especially during the period of initial dose titration. Patients should be cautioned about performing any activity requiring mental alertness, such as operating a motor vehicle (including automobiles) or operating machinery, until they are reasonably certain quetiapine therapy does not affect them adversely. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Heat Exposure and Dehydration
Patients should be advised regarding appropriate care in avoiding overheating and dehydration [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
As with other medications, patients should be advised to notify their physicians if they are taking, or plan to take, any prescription or over-the-counter drugs. [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Pregnancy and Nursing
Patients should be advised to notify their physician if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy with SEROQUEL. [see Use In Specific Populations].
Need for Comprehensive Treatment Program
SEROQUEL is indicated as an integral part of a total treatment program for adolescents with schizophrenia and pediatric bipolar disorder that may include other measures (psychological, educational, and social). Effectiveness and safety of SEROQUEL have not been established in pediatric patients less than 13 years of age for schizophrenia or less than 10 years of age for bipolar mania. Appropriate educational placement is essential and psychosocial intervention is often helpful. The decision to prescribe atypical antipsychotic medication will depend upon the physician's assessment of the chronicity and severity of the patient's symptoms [see INDICATIONS AND USAGE].
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Carcinogenicity studies were conducted in C57BL mice and Wistar rats. Quetiapine was administered in the diet to mice at doses of 20, 75, 250, and 750 mg/kg and to rats by gavage at doses of 25, 75, and 250 mg/kg for two years. These doses are equivalent to 0.1, 0.5, 1.5, and 4.5 times the maximum human dose (MRHD) of 800 mg/day based on mg/m² body surface area (mice) or 0.3, 1, and 3 times the MRHD based on mg/m² body surface area (rats). There were statistically significant increases in thyroid gland follicular adenomas in male mice at doses 1.5 and 4.5 times the MRHD on mg/m² body surface area and in male rats at a dose of 3 times the MRHD on mg/m² body surface area. Mammary gland adenocarcinomas were statistically significantly increased in female rats at all doses tested (0.3, 1, and 3 times the MRHD on mg/m² body surface area).
Thyroid follicular cell adenomas may have resulted from chronic stimulation of the thyroid gland by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) resulting from enhanced metabolism and clearance of thyroxine by rodent liver. Changes in TSH, thyroxine, and thyroxine clearance consistent with this mechanism were observed in subchronic toxicity studies in rat and mouse and in a 1-year toxicity study in rat; however, the results of these studies were not definitive. The relevance of the increases in thyroid follicular cell adenomas to human risk, through whatever mechanism, is unknown.
Antipsychotic drugs have been shown to chronically elevate prolactin levels in rodents. Serum measurements in a 1-year toxicity study showed that quetiapine increased median serum prolactin levels a maximum of 32-and 13-fold in male and female rats, respectively. Increases in mammary neoplasms have been found in rodents after chronic administration of other antipsychotic drugs and are considered to be prolactin-mediated. The relevance of this increased incidence of prolactin-mediated mammary gland tumors in rats to human risk is unknown [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
The mutagenic potential of quetiapine was tested in the in vitro Ames bacterial gene mutation assay and in the in vitro mammalian gene mutation assay in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells. The clastogenic potential of quetiapine was tested in the in vitro chromosomal aberration assay in cultured human lymphocytes and in the in vivo bone marrow micronucleus assay in rats up to 500 mg/kg which is 6 times the maximum recommended human dose on mg/m² body surface area. Based on weight of evidence quetiapine was not mutagenic or clastogenic in these tests.
Impairment of Fertility
Quetiapine decreased mating and fertility in male Sprague-Dawley rats at oral doses of 50 and 150 mg/kg or approximately 1 and 3 times the maximum human dose (MRHD) of 800 mg/day on mg/m² body surface area. Drug-related effects included increases in interval to mate and in the number of matings required for successful impregnation. These effects continued to be observed at 3 times the MRHD even after a two-week period without treatment. The no-effect dose for impaired mating and fertility in male rats was 25 mg/kg, or 0.3 times the MRHD dose on mg/m² body surface area. Quetiapine adversely affected mating and fertility in female Sprague-Dawley rats at an oral dose approximately 1 times the MRHD of 800 mg/day on mg/m² body surface area. Drug-related effects included decreases in matings and in matings resulting in pregnancy, and an increase in the interval to mate. An increase in irregular estrus cycles was observed at doses of 10 and 50 mg/kg, or approximately 0.1 and 1 times the MRHD of 800 mg/day on mg/m² body surface area. The no-effect dose in female rats was 1 mg/kg, or 0.01 times the MRHD of 800 mg/day on mg/m² body surface area.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of SEROQUEL use in pregnant women. In limited published literature, there were no major malformations associated with quetiapine exposure during pregnancy. In animal studies, embryo-fetal toxicity occurred. Quetiapine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
There are limited published data on the use of quetiapine for treatment of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders during pregnancy. In a prospective observational study, 21 women exposed to quetiapine and other psychoactive medications during pregnancy delivered infants with no major malformations. Among 42 other infants born to pregnant women who used quetiapine during pregnancy, there were no major malformations reported (one study of 36 women, 6 case reports). Due to the limited number of exposed pregnancies, these postmarketing data do not reliably estimate the frequency or absence of adverse outcomes. Neonates exposed to antipsychotic drugs (including SEROQUEL), during the third trimester of pregnancy are at risk for extrapyramidal and/or withdrawal symptoms following delivery. There have been reports of agitation, hypertonia, hypotonia, tremor, somnolence, respiratory distress and feeding disorder in these neonates. These complications have varied in severity; while in some cases symptoms have been self-limited, in other cases neonates have required intensive care unit support and prolonged hospitalization.
When pregnant rats and rabbits were exposed to quetiapine during organogenesis, there was no teratogenic effect at doses up to 2.4 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) for schizophrenia of 800 mg/day based on mg/m² body surface area. However, there was evidence of embryo-fetal toxicity, which included delays in skeletal ossification occurring at approximately 1 and 2 times the MRHD of 800 mg/day in both rats and rabbits, and an increased incidence of carpal/tarsal flexure (minor soft tissue anomaly) in rabbit fetuses at approximately 2 times the MRHD. In addition, fetal weights were decreased in both species. Maternal toxicity (observed as decreased body weights and/or death) occurred at 2 times the MRHD in rats and approximately 1-2 times the MRHD (all doses tested) in rabbits.
In a peri/postnatal reproductive study in rats, no drug-related effects were observed when pregnant dams were treated with quetiapine at doses 0.01, 0.12, and 0.24 times the MRHD of 800 mg/day based on mg/m² body surface area. However, in a preliminary peri/postnatal study, there were increases in fetal and pup death, and decreases in mean litter weight at 3 times the MRHD.
Labor and Delivery
The effect of SEROQUEL on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.
SEROQUEL was excreted into human milk. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from SEROQUEL, 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's health.
In published case reports, the level of quetiapine in breast milk ranged from undetectable to 170 μg/L. The estimated infant dose ranged from 0.09% to 0.43% of the weight-adjusted maternal dose. Based on a limited number (N=8) of mother/infant pairs, calculated infant daily doses range from less than 0.01 mg/kg (at a maternal daily dose up to 100 mg quetiapine) to 0.1 mg/kg (at a maternal daily dose of 400 mg).
In general, the adverse reactions observed in children and adolescents during the clinical trials were similar to those in the adult population with few exceptions. Increases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure occurred in children and adolescents and did not occur in adults. Orthostatic hypotension occurred more frequently in adults (4-7%) compared to children and adolescents ( < 1%) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
The efficacy and safety of SEROQUEL in the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents aged 13 to 17 years were demonstrated in one 6-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial [see INDICATIONS AND USAGE, DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, ADVERSE REACTIONS, and Clinical Studies].
Safety and effectiveness of SEROQUEL in pediatric patients less than 13 years of age with schizophrenia have not been established.
The safety and effectiveness of SEROQUEL in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder has not been established in pediatric patients less than 18 years of age. The safety and effectiveness of SEROQUEL in the maintenance treatment of schizophrenia has not been established in any patient population, including pediatric patients.
The efficacy and safety of SEROQUEL in the treatment of mania in children and adolescents ages 10 to 17 years with Bipolar I disorder was demonstrated in a 3-week, double-blind, placebo controlled, multicenter trial [see INDICATIONS AND USAGE, DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, ADVERSE REACTIONS, and Clinical Studies]. Safety and effectiveness of SEROQUEL in pediatric patients less than 10 years of age with bipolar mania have not been established.
Safety and effectiveness of SEROQUEL in pediatric patients less than 18 years of age with bipolar depression have not been established. A clinical trial with SEROQUEL XR was conducted in children and adolescents (10 to 17 years of age) with bipolar depression, efficacy was not established.
Some differences in the pharmacokinetics of quetiapine were noted between children/adolescents (10 to 17 years of age) and adults. When adjusted for weight, the AUC and Cmax of quetiapine were 41% and 39% lower, respectively, in children and adolescents compared to adults. The pharmacokinetics of the active metabolite, norquetiapine, were similar between children/adolescents and adults after adjusting for weight [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Of the approximately 3700 patients in clinical studies with SEROQUEL, 7% (232) were 65 years of age or over. In general, there was no indication of any different tolerability of SEROQUEL in the elderly compared to younger adults. Nevertheless, the presence of factors that might decrease pharmacokinetic clearance, increase the pharmacodynamic response to SEROQUEL, or cause poorer tolerance or orthostasis, should lead to consideration of a lower starting dose, slower titration, and careful monitoring during the initial dosing period in the elderly. The mean plasma clearance of SEROQUEL was reduced by 30% to 50% in elderly patients when compared to younger patients [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Clinical experience with SEROQUEL in patients with renal impairment is limited [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Since quetiapine is extensively metabolized by the liver, higher plasma levels are expected in patients with hepatic impairment. In this population, a low starting dose of 25 mg/day is recommended and the dose may be increased in increments of 25 mg/day -50 mg/day [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/8/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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