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Patients treated with SIMPONI are at increased risk for developing serious infections involving various organ systems and sites that may lead to hospitalization or death.
Opportunistic infections due to bacterial, mycobacterial, invasive fungal, viral, or parasitic organisms including aspergillosis, blastomycosis, candidiasis, coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis, legionellosis, listeriosis, pneumocystosis, and tuberculosis have been reported with TNF blockers. Patients have frequently presented with disseminated rather than localized disease. The concomitant use of a TNF blocker and abatacept or anakinra was associated with a higher risk of serious infections; therefore, the concomitant use of SIMPONI and these biologic products is not recommended [see Autoimmunity, Use with Abatacept and DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Treatment with SIMPONI should not be initiated in patients with an active infection, including clinically important localized infections. Patients greater than 65 years of age, patients with co-morbid conditions and/or patients taking concomitant immunosuppressants such as corticosteroids or methotrexate may be at greater risk of infection. Consider the risks and benefits of treatment prior to initiating SIMPONI in patients:
- with chronic or recurrent infection;
- who have been exposed to tuberculosis;
- with a history of an opportunistic infection;
- who have resided or traveled in areas of endemic tuberculosis or endemic mycoses, such as histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, or blastomycosis; or
- with underlying conditions that may predispose them to infection.
Closely monitor patients for the development of signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment with SIMPONI. Discontinue SIMPONI if a patient develops a serious infection, an opportunistic infection, or sepsis. For a patient who develops a new infection during treatment with SIMPONI, perform a prompt and complete diagnostic workup appropriate for an immunocompromised patient, initiate appropriate antimicrobial therapy, and closely monitor them.
Serious Infection In Clinical Trials
In controlled Phase 3 trials through Week 16 in patients with RA, PsA, and AS, serious infections were observed in 1.4% of SIMPONI-treated patients and 1.3% of control-treated patients. In the controlled Phase 3 trials through Week 16 in patients with RA, PsA, and AS, the incidence of serious infections per 100 patient-years of follow-up was 5.7 (95% CI: 3.8, 8.2) for the SIMPONI group and 4.2 (95% CI: 1.8, 8.2) for the placebo group. In the controlled Phase 2/3 trial through Week 6 of SIMPONI induction in UC, the incidence of serious infections in SIMPONI 200/100 mg-treated patients was similar to the incidence of serious infections in placebo-treated patients. Through Week 60, the incidence of serious infections was similar in patients who received SIMPONI induction and 100 mg during maintenance compared with patients who received SIMPONI induction and placebo during the maintenance portion of the UC trial. Serious infections observed in SIMPONI-treated patients included sepsis, pneumonia, cellulitis, abscess, tuberculosis, invasive fungal infections, and hepatitis B infection.
Cases of reactivation of tuberculosis or new tuberculosis infections have been observed in patients receiving TNF blockers, including patients who have previously received treatment for latent or active tuberculosis. Evaluate patients for tuberculosis risk factors and test for latent infection prior to initiating SIMPONI and periodically during therapy.
Treatment of latent tuberculosis infection prior to therapy with TNF blockers has been shown to reduce the risk of tuberculosis reactivation during therapy. Prior to initiating SIMPONI, assess if treatment for latent tuberculosis is needed; an induration of 5 mm or greater is a positive tuberculin skin test, even for patients previously vaccinated with Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG).
Consider anti-tuberculosis therapy prior to initiation of SIMPONI in patients with a past history of latent or active tuberculosis in whom an adequate course of treatment cannot be confirmed, and for patients with a negative test for latent tuberculosis but having risk factors for tuberculosis infection. Consultation with a physician with expertise in the treatment of tuberculosis is recommended to aid in the decision whether initiating anti-tuberculosis therapy is appropriate for an individual patient.
Cases of active tuberculosis have occurred in patients treated with SIMPONI during and after treatment for latent tuberculosis. Monitor patients for the development of signs and symptoms of tuberculosis including patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infection prior to initiating therapy, patients who are on treatment for latent tuberculosis, or patients who were previously treated for tuberculosis infection.
Consider tuberculosis in the differential diagnosis in patients who develop a new infection during SIMPONI treatment, especially in patients who have previously or recently traveled to countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis, or who have had close contact with a person with active tuberculosis.
In the controlled and uncontrolled portions of the Phase 2 RA and Phase 3 RA, PsA, and AS trials, the incidence of active TB was 0.23 and 0 per 100 patient-years in 2347 SIMPONI-treated patients and 674 placebo-treated patients, respectively. Cases of TB included pulmonary and extrapulmonary TB. The overwhelming majority of the TB cases occurred in countries with a high incidence rate of TB. In the controlled Phase 2/3 trial of SIMPONI induction through Week 6 in UC, no cases of TB were observed in SIMPONI 200/100 mg-treated patients or in placebo-treated patients. Through Week 60, the incidence per 100 patient-years of TB in patients who received SIMPONI induction and 100 mg during the maintenance portion of the UC trial was 0.52 (95% CI: 0.11, 1.53). One case of TB was observed in the placebo maintenance group in a patient who received SIMPONI intravenous (IV) induction.
Invasive Fungal Infections
If patients develop a serious systemic illness and they reside or travel in regions where mycoses are endemic, consider invasive fungal infection in the differential diagnosis. Consider appropriate empiric antifungal therapy, and take into account both the risk for severe fungal infection and the risks of antifungal therapy while a diagnostic workup is being performed. Antigen and antibody testing for histoplasmosis may be negative in some patients with active infection. To aid in the management of such patients, consider consultation with a physician with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of invasive fungal infections.
Hepatitis B Virus Reactivation
The use of TNF blockers including SIMPONI has been associated with reactivation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in patients who are chronic hepatitis B carriers (i.e., surface antigen positive). In some instances, HBV reactivation occurring in conjunction with TNF blocker therapy has been fatal. The majority of these reports have occurred in patients who received concomitant immunosuppressants.
All patients should be tested for HBV infection before initiating TNF-blocker therapy. For patients who test positive for hepatitis B surface antigen, consultation with a physician with expertise in the treatment of hepatitis B is recommended before initiating TNF-blocker therapy. The risks and benefits of treatment should be considered prior to prescribing TNF blockers, including SIMPONI, to patients who are carriers of HBV. Adequate data are not available on whether antiviral therapy can reduce the risk of HBV reactivation in HBV carriers who are treated with TNF blockers. Patients who are carriers of HBV and require treatment with TNF blockers should be closely monitored for clinical and laboratory signs of active HBV infection throughout therapy and for several months following termination of therapy.
In patients who develop HBV reactivation, TNF blockers should be stopped and antiviral therapy with appropriate supportive treatment should be initiated. The safety of resuming TNF blockers after HBV reactivation has been controlled is not known. Therefore, prescribers should exercise caution when considering resumption of TNF blockers in this situation and monitor patients closely.
Malignancies, some fatal, have been reported among children, adolescents, and young adults who received treatment with TNF-blocking agents (initiation of therapy ≤ 18 years of age), of which SIMPONI is a member. Approximately half the cases were lymphomas, including Hodgkin's and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The other cases represented a variety of malignancies, including rare malignancies that are usually associated with immunosuppression, and malignancies that are not usually observed in children and adolescents. The malignancies occurred after a median of 30 months (range 1 to 84 months) after the first dose of TNF-blocker therapy. Most of the patients were receiving concomitant immunosuppressants. These cases were reported postmarketing and are derived from a variety of sources, including registries and spontaneous postmarketing reports.
The risks and benefits of TNF-blocker treatment, including SIMPONI, should be considered prior to initiating therapy in patients with a known malignancy other than a successfully treated nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) or when considering continuing a TNF-blocker in patients who develop a malignancy.
In the controlled portions of clinical trials of TNF blockers, including SIMPONI, more cases of lymphoma have been observed among patients receiving anti-TNF treatment compared with patients in the control groups. During the controlled portions of the Phase 2 trials in RA, and the Phase 3 trials in RA, PsA and AS, the incidence of lymphoma per 100 patient-years of follow-up was 0.21 (95% CI: 0.03, 0.77) in the combined SIMPONI group compared with an incidence of 0 (95% CI: 0, 0.96) in the placebo group. In the controlled and uncontrolled portions of these clinical trials in 2347 SIMPONI-treated patients with a median follow-up of 1.4 years, the incidence of lymphoma was 3.8-fold higher than expected in the general U.S. population according to the SEER database (adjusted for age, gender, and race).1 Through Week 60 of the UC trials, there were no cases of lymphoma with SIMPONI. Patients with RA and other chronic inflammatory diseases, particularly patients with highly active disease and/or chronic exposure to immunosuppressant therapies, may be at higher risk (up to several fold) than the general population for the development of lymphoma, even in the absence of TNF-blocking therapy. Cases of acute and chronic leukemia have been reported with TNF-blocker use, including SIMPONI, in rheumatoid arthritis and other indications. Even in the absence of TNF-blocker therapy, patients with rheumatoid arthritis may be at a higher risk (approximately 2-fold) than the general population for the development of leukemia.
Rare postmarketing cases of hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma (HSTCL) have been reported in patients treated with TNF-blocking agents. This rare type of T-cell lymphoma has a very aggressive disease course and is usually fatal. Nearly all of the reported TNF blocker associated cases have occurred in patients with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. The majority were in adolescent and young adult males. Almost all these patients had received treatment with azathioprine (AZA) or 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) concomitantly with a TNF blocker at or prior to diagnosis. The potential risk with the combination of AZA or 6-MP and SIMPONI should be carefully considered. A risk for the development for hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma in patients treated with TNF blockers cannot be excluded.
During the controlled portions of the Phase 2 trial in RA, and the Phase 3 trials in RA, PsA and AS, the incidence of malignancies other than lymphoma per 100 patient-years of follow-up was not elevated in the combined SIMPONI group compared with the placebo group. In the controlled and uncontrolled portions of these trials, the incidence of malignancies, other than lymphoma, in SIMPONI-treated patients was similar to that expected in the general U.S. population according to the SEER database (adjusted for age, gender, and race).1 In the 6-week placebo-controlled portions of the SIMPONI Phase 2/3 clinical trials in UC, the incidence of non-lymphoma malignancies (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer) was similar between the SIMPONI and the placebo group. Through Week 60, the incidence of non-lymphoma malignancies (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer) was similar to the general U.S. population according to the SEER database (adjusted for age, gender, and race).1 Short follow-up periods, such as those of one year or less in the studies above, may not adequately reflect the true incidence of malignancies.
It is not known if SIMPONI treatment influences the risk for developing dysplasia or colon cancer. All patients with ulcerative colitis who are at increased risk for dysplasia or colon carcinoma (for example, patients with long-standing ulcerative colitis or primary sclerosing cholangitis), or who had a prior history of dysplasia or colon carcinoma should be screened for dysplasia at regular intervals before therapy and throughout their disease course. This evaluation should include colonoscopy and biopsies per local recommendations. In patients with newly diagnosed dysplasia treated with SIMPONI, the risks and benefits to the individual patient must be carefully reviewed and consideration should be given to whether therapy should be continued.
Melanoma has been reported in patients treated with TNF-blocking agents, including SIMPONI. Merkel cell carcinoma has been reported in patients treated with TNF-blocking agents. Periodic skin examination is recommended for all patients, particularly those with risk factors for skin cancer.
In controlled trials of other TNF blockers in patients at higher risk for malignancies (e.g., patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], patients with Wegener's granulomatosis treated with concomitant cyclophosphamide) a greater portion of malignancies occurred in the TNF-blocker group compared to the controlled group. In an exploratory 1-year clinical trial evaluating the use of 50 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg of SIMPONI in 309 patients with severe persistent asthma, 6 patients developed malignancies other than NMSC in the SIMPONI groups compared to none in the control group. Three of the 6 patients were in the 200-mg SIMPONI group.
Congestive Heart Failure
Cases of worsening congestive heart failure (CHF) and new onset CHF have been reported with TNF blockers, including SIMPONI. Some cases had a fatal outcome. In several exploratory trials of other TNF blockers in the treatment of CHF, there were greater proportions of TNF-blocker-treated patients who had CHF exacerbations requiring hospitalization or increased mortality. SIMPONI has not been studied in patients with a history of CHF and SIMPONI should be used with caution in patients with CHF. If a decision is made to administer SIMPONI to patients with CHF, these patients should be closely monitored during therapy, and SIMPONI should be discontinued if new or worsening symptoms of CHF appear.
Use of TNF blockers, of which SIMPONI is a member, has been associated with rare cases of new onset or exacerbation of central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and peripheral demyelinating disorders, including Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome. Cases of central demyelination, MS, optic neuritis, and peripheral demyelinating polyneuropathy have rarely been reported in patients treated with SIMPONI [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Prescribers should exercise caution in considering the use of TNF blockers, including SIMPONI, in patients with central or peripheral nervous system demyelinating disorders. Discontinuation of SIMPONI should be considered if these disorders develop.
Treatment with TNF blockers, including SIMPONI, may result in the formation of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and, rarely, in the development of a lupus-like syndrome [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. If a patient develops symptoms suggestive of a lupus-like syndrome following treatment with SIMPONI, treatment should be discontinued.
Use With Abatacept
In controlled trials, the concurrent administration of another TNF blocker and abatacept was associated with a greater proportion of serious infections than the use of a TNF blocker alone; and the combination therapy, compared to the use of a TNF blocker alone, has not demonstrated improved clinical benefit in the treatment of RA. Therefore, the combination of TNF blockers, including SIMPONI, and abatacept is not recommended [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Use With Anakinra
Concurrent administration of anakinra (an interleukin-1 antagonist) and another TNF blocker was associated with a greater portion of serious infections and neutropenia and no additional benefits compared with the TNF-blocker alone. Therefore, the combination of anakinra with TNF blockers, including SIMPONI, is not recommended [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Switching Between Biological Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs
Care should be taken when switching from one biological product to another biological product since overlapping biological activity may further increase the risk of infection.
There have been postmarketing reports of pancytopenia, leukopenia, neutropenia, aplastic anemia, and thrombocytopenia in patients receiving TNF blockers. In clinical trials, cases of pancytopenia, leukopenia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia have also occurred in SIMPONI-treated patients. Caution should be exercised when using TNF blockers, including SIMPONI, in patients who have or have had significant cytopenias.
Vaccinations/Therapeutic Infectious Agents
Patients treated with SIMPONI may receive vaccinations, except for live vaccines. In patients receiving anti-TNF therapy, limited data are available on the response to live vaccination, or on the secondary transmission of infection by live vaccines. Use of live vaccines could result in clinical infections, including disseminated infections.
Therapeutic Infectious Agents
Other uses of therapeutic infectious agents such as live attenuated bacteria (e.g., BCG bladder instillation for the treatment of cancer) could result in clinical infections, including disseminated infections. It is recommended that therapeutic infectious agents not be given concurrently with SIMPONI.
In the Phase 3 PsA trial, after pneumococcal vaccination, a similar proportion of SIMPONI-treated and placebo-treated patients were able to mount an adequate immune response of at least a 2-fold increase in antibody titers to pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. In both SIMPONI-treated and placebo-treated patients, the proportions of patients with response to pneumococcal vaccine were lower among patients receiving MTX compared with patients not receiving MTX. The data suggest that SIMPONI does not suppress the humoral immune response to the pneumococcal vaccine.
In postmarketing experience, serious systemic hypersensitivity reactions (including anaphylactic reaction) have been reported following SIMPONI administration. Some of these reactions occurred after the first administration of SIMPONI. If an anaphylactic or other serious allergic reaction occurs, administration of SIMPONI should be discontinued immediately and appropriate therapy instituted.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide and Instructions for Use)
Patients should be advised of the potential benefits and risks of SIMPONI. Physicians should instruct their patients to read the Medication Guide before starting SIMPONI therapy and to read it each time the prescription is renewed.
Inform patients that SIMPONI may lower the ability of their immune system to fight infections. Instruct the patient of the importance of contacting their doctor if they develop any symptoms of infection, including tuberculosis, invasive fungal infections, and hepatitis B reactivation.
Patients should be counseled about the risk of lymphoma and other malignancies while receiving SIMPONI.
Advise latex-sensitive patients that the needle cover on the prefilled syringe as well as the prefilled syringe in the prefilled SmartJect autoinjector contains dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex).
Other Medical Conditions
Instructions For Safe Administration
The first self-injection should be performed under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. If a patient or caregiver is to administer SIMPONI, he/she should be instructed in injection techniques and their ability to inject subcutaneously should be assessed to ensure the proper administration of SIMPONI.
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved Instructions for Use and provide the following instructions to patients:
- Prior to use, remove the prefilled syringe or the prefilled SmartJect autoinjector from the refrigerator and allow SIMPONI to sit at room temperature outside of the carton for 30 minutes and out of the reach of children.
- Do not warm SIMPONI in any other way. For example, do not warm SIMPONI in a microwave or in hot water.
- Do not remove the prefilled syringe needle cover or SmartJect autoinjector cap while allowing SIMPONI to reach room temperature. Remove these immediately before injection.
- Do not pull the autoinjector away from the skin until you hear a first “click” sound and then a second “click” sound (the injection is finished and the needle is pulled back). It usually takes about 3 to 6 seconds but may take up to 15 seconds for you to hear the second “click” after the first “click”. If the autoinjector is pulled away from the skin before the injection is completed, a full dose of SIMPONI may not be administered.
- A puncture-resistant container for disposal of needles and syringes should be used. Patients or caregivers should be instructed in the technique of proper syringe and needle disposal, and be advised not to reuse these items.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Long-term animal studies of golimumab have not been conducted to evaluate its carcinogenic potential. Mutagenicity studies have not been conducted with golimumab. A fertility study conducted in mice using an analogous anti-mouse TNFα antibody showed no impairment of fertility.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category B - There are no adequate and well-controlled trials of SIMPONI in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction and developmental studies are not always predictive of human response, it is not known whether SIMPONI can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. SIMPONI should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
An embryofetal developmental toxicology study was performed in which pregnant cynomolgus monkeys were treated subcutaneously with golimumab during the first trimester with doses up to 50 mg/kg twice weekly (360 times greater than the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD]) and has revealed no evidence of harm to maternal animals or fetuses. Umbilical cord blood samples collected at the end of the second trimester showed that fetuses were exposed to golimumab during gestation. In this study, in utero exposure to golimumab produced no developmental defects to the fetus.
A pre- and postnatal developmental study was performed in which pregnant cynomolgus monkeys were treated with golimumab during the second and third trimesters, and during lactation at doses up to 50 mg/kg twice weekly (860 times and 310 times greater than the maximal steady state human blood levels for maternal animals and neonates, respectively) and has revealed no evidence of harm to maternal animals or neonates. Golimumab was present in the neonatal serum from the time of birth and for up to 6 months postpartum. Exposure to golimumab during gestation and during the postnatal period caused no developmental defects in the infants.
IgG antibodies are known to cross the placenta during pregnancy and have been detected in the serum of infants born to patients treated with these antibodies. Since SIMPONI is an IgG antibody, infants born to women treated with SIMPONI during their pregnancy may be at increased risk of infection for up to 6 months. Administration of live vaccines to infants exposed to SIMPONI in utero is not recommended for 6 months following the mother's last SIMPONI injection during pregnancy [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
It is not known whether SIMPONI is excreted in human milk or absorbed systemically after ingestion. Because many drugs and immunoglobulins are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for adverse reactions in nursing infants from SIMPONI, 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.
In the pre- and postnatal development study in cynomolgus monkeys in which golimumab was administered subcutaneously during pregnancy and lactation, golimumab was detected in the breast milk at concentrations that were approximately 400-fold lower than the maternal serum concentrations.
Safety and effectiveness of SIMPONI in pediatric patients less than 18 years of age have not been established.
In the Phase 3 trials in RA, PsA, and AS, there were no overall differences in SAEs, serious infections, and AEs in SIMPONI-treated patients ages 65 or older (N=155) compared with younger SIMPONI-treated patients. In UC, there were insufficient numbers of patients aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from patients aged 18 to 65. Because there is a higher incidence of infections in the geriatric population in general, caution should be used in treating geriatric patients with SIMPONI.
1. SEER [database online]. US Population Data - 1969-2004. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Release date: January 3, 2007. Available at: http//seer.cancer.gov/popdata/.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/10/2017
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