"An expert panel has recommended expanded adoption of the drug hydroxyurea for the care of people with sickle cell disease, according to a report issued today. The report also suggests that clinicians give periodic blood transfusions to children w"...
Serious Meningococcal Infections
The use of Soliris increases a patient's susceptibility to serious meningococcal infections (septicemia and/or meningitis). Life-threatening and fatal meningococcal infections have occurred in patients treated with Soliris. Administer a polyvalent meningococcal vaccine according to the most current Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations for patients with complement deficiencies. Revaccinate patients in accordance with ACIP recommendations, considering the duration of Soliris therapy.
Immunize patients without a history of meningococcal vaccination at least 2 weeks prior to receiving the first dose of Soliris. If urgent Soliris therapy is indicated in an unvaccinated patient, administer the meningococcal vaccine as soon as possible. In prospective clinical studies, 75/100 patients with aHUS were treated with Soliris less than 2 weeks after meningococcal vaccination and 64 of these 75 patients received antibiotics for prophylaxis of meningococcal infection until at least 2 weeks after meningococcal vaccination. The benefits and risks of antibiotic prophylaxis for prevention of meningococcal infections in patients receiving Soliris have not been established.
Vaccination reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of meningococcal infections. In clinical studies, 2 out of 196 PNH patients developed serious meningococcal infections while receiving treatment with Soliris; both had been vaccinated [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. In clinical studies among non-PNH patients, meningococcal meningitis occurred in one unvaccinated patient. In addition, 3 out of 130 previously vaccinated patients with aHUS developed meningococcal infections while receiving treatment with Soliris [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Closely monitor patients for early signs and symptoms of meningococcal infection and evaluate patients immediately if an infection is suspected. Meningococcal infection may become rapidly life-threatening or fatal if not recognized and treated early. Discontinue Soliris in patients who are undergoing treatment for serious meningococcal infections.
Because of the risk of meningococcal infections, Soliris is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Under the Soliris REMS, prescribers must enroll in the program.
Prescribers must counsel patients about the risk of meningococcal infection, provide the patients with the REMS educational materials, and ensure patients are vaccinated with a meningococcal vaccine.
Enrollment in the Soliris REMS program and additional information are available by telephone: 1-888-SOLIRIS (1-888-765-4747).
Soliris blocks terminal complement activation; therefore patients may have increased susceptibility to infections, especially with encapsulated bacteria. Additionally, Aspergillus infections have occurred in immunocompromised and neutropenic patients. Children treated with Soliris may be at increased risk of developing serious infections due to Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib). Administer vaccinations for the prevention of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) infections according to ACIP guidelines. Use caution when administering Soliris to patients with any systemic infection.
Monitoring Disease Manifestations After Soliris Discontinuation
Treatment Discontinuation for PNH
Monitor patients after discontinuing Soliris for at least 8 weeks to detect hemolysis.
Treatment Discontinuation for aHUS
After discontinuing Soliris, monitor patients with aHUS for signs and symptoms of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) complications for at least 12 weeks. In aHUS clinical trials, 18 patients (5 in the prospective studies) discontinued Soliris treatment. TMA complications occurred following a missed dose in 5 patients, and Soliris was reinitiated in 4 of these 5 patients.
Clinical signs and symptoms of TMA include changes in mental status, seizures, angina, dyspnea, or thrombosis. In addition, the following changes in laboratory parameters may identify a TMA complication: occurrence of two, or repeated measurement of any one of the following: a decrease in platelet count by 25% or more compared to baseline or the peak platelet count during Soliris treatment; an increase in serum creatinine by 25% or more compared to baseline or nadir during Soliris treatment; or, an increase in serum LDH by 25% or more over baseline or nadir during Soliris treatment.
If TMA complications occur after Soliris discontinuation, consider reinstitution of Soliris treatment, plasma therapy [plasmapheresis, plasma exchange, or fresh frozen plasma infusion (PE/PI)], or appropriate organ-specific supportive measures.
Thrombosis Prevention And Management
The effect of withdrawal of anticoagulant therapy during Soliris treatment has not been established. Therefore, treatment with Soliris should not alter anticoagulant management.
As with all protein products, administration of Soliris may result in infusion reactions, including anaphylaxis or other hypersensitivity reactions. In clinical trials, no patients experienced an infusion reaction which required discontinuation of Soliris. Interrupt Soliris infusion and institute appropriate supportive measures if signs of cardiovascular instability or respiratory compromise occur.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Prior to treatment, patients should fully understand the risks and benefits of Soliris, in particular the risk of meningococcal infection. Ensure that patients received the Medication Guide.
Inform patients that they are required to receive a meningococcal vaccination at least 2 weeks prior to receiving the first dose of Soliris, if they have not previously been vaccinated. They are required to be revaccinated according to current medical guidelines for meningococcal vaccine use while on Soliris therapy. Inform patients that vaccination may not prevent meningococcal infection. Inform patients about the signs and symptoms of meningococcal infection, and strongly advise patients to see immediate medical attention if these signs or symptoms occur. These signs and symptoms are as follows:
- headache with nausea or vomiting
- headache and a fever
- headache with a stiff neck or stiff back
- fever of 103°F (39.4°C) or higher
- fever and a rash
- muscle aches with flu-like symptoms
- eyes sensitive to light
Inform patients that they will be given a Soliris Patient Safety Information Card That they should carry with them at all times. This card describes symptoms which, if experienced, should prompt the patient to immediately seek medical evaluation.
Inform patients that there may be an increased risk of other types of infections, particularly those due to encapsulated bacteria. Additionally, Aspergillus infections have occurred in immunocompromised and neutropenic patients. Inform parents or caregivers of children receiving Soliris for the treatment of aHUS that their child should be vaccinated against Streptococcus pneumonia and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) according to current medical guidelines.
Inform patients with PNH that they may develop hemolysis due to PNH when Soliris discontinuation and that they will be monitored by their healthcare professional for at least 8 weeks following Soliris discontinuation. Inform patients with aHUS that there is potential for TMA complications due to aHUS when Soliris is discontinued and that they will be monitored by their healthcare professional for at least 12 weeks following Soliris discontinuation. Inform patients who discontinue Soliris to Keep the Soliris Patient Safety Information Card with them for three months after the last Soliris dose, because the increased risk of meningococcal infection persists for several weeks following discontinuation of Soliris.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Long-term animal carcinogenicity studies of eculizumab have not been conducted.
Genotoxicity studies have not been conducted with eculizumab.
Effects of eculizumab upon fertility have not been studied in animals. Intravenous injections of male and female mice with a murine anti-C5 antibody at up to 4-8 times the equivalent of the clinical dose of Soliris had no adverse effects on mating or fertility.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Soliris in pregnant women. Soliris, a recombinant IgG molecule (humanized anti-C5 antibody), is expected to cross the placenta. Animal studies using a mouse analogue of the Soliris molecule (murine anti-C5 antibody) showed increased rates of developmental abnormalities and an increased rate of dead and moribund offspring at doses 2-8 times the human dose. Soliris should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Animal reproduction studies were conducted in mice using doses of a murine anti-C5 antibody that approximated 2-4 times (low dose) and 4-8 times (high dose) the recommended human Soliris dose, based on a body weight comparison. When animal exposure to the antibody occurred in the time period from before mating until early gestation, no decrease in fertility or reproductive performance was observed. When maternal exposure to the antibody occurred during organogenesis, two cases of retinal dysplasia and one case of umbilical hernia were observed among 230 offspring born to mothers exposed to the higher antibody dose; however, the exposure did not increase fetal loss or neonatal death. When maternal exposure to the antibody occurred in the time period from implantation through weaning, a higher number of male offspring became moribund or died (1/25 controls, 2/25 low dose group, 5/25 high dose group). Surviving offspring had normal development and reproductive function.
It is not known whether Soliris is excreted into human milk. IgG is excreted in human milk, so it is expected that Soliris will be present in human milk. However, published data suggest that antibodies in human milk do not enter the neonatal and infant circulation in substantial amounts. Caution should be exercised when Soliris is administered to a nursing woman. The unknown risks to the infant from gastrointestinal or limited systemic exposure to Soliris should be weighed against the known benefits of human milk feeding.
The safety and effectiveness of Soliris for the treatment of PNH in pediatric patients below the age of 18 years have not been established.
Four clinical studies assessing the safety and effectiveness of Soliris for the treatment of aHUS included a total of 47 pediatric patients (ages 2 months to 17 years). The safety and effectiveness of Soliris for the treatment of aHUS appear similar in pediatric and adult patients [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, ADVERSE REACTIONS, and Clinical Studies].
Administer vaccinations for the prevention of infection due to Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) according to ACIP guidelines [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Nineteen patients 65 years of age or older (15 with PNH and 4 with aHUS) were treated with Soliris. Although there were no apparent age-related differences observed in these studies, the number of patients aged 65 and over is not sufficient to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients.
Last reviewed on RxList: 5/20/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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