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Mechanism Of Action
Absorption And Bioavailability
Oseltamivir is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract after oral administration of TAMIFLU (oseltamivir phosphate) and is extensively converted predominantly by hepatic esterases to oseltamivir carboxylate. At least 75% of an oral dose reaches the systemic circulation as oseltamivir carboxylate and less than 5% of the oral dose reaches the systemic circulation as oseltamivir (see Table 6).
Table 6 : Mean (% CV)
Pharmacokinetic Parameters of Oseltamivir and Oseltamivir Carboxylate Following
Multiple Dosing of 75 mg Capsules Twice Daily (n=20)
|Cmax (ng/mL)||65 (26)||348 (18)|
|AUC0-12h (ngh/mL)||112(25)||2719 (20)|
Plasma concentrations of oseltamivir carboxylate are proportional to doses up to 500 mg given twice daily (about 6.7 times the maximum recommended TAMIFLU dosage) [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. Coadministration with food had no significant effect on the peak plasma concentration (551 ng/mL under fasted conditions and 441 ng/mL under fed conditions) and the area under the plasma concentration time curve (6218 ng·h/mL under fasted conditions and 6069 ng·h/mL under fed conditions) of oseltamivir carboxylate.
The volume of distribution (Vss) of oseltamivir carboxylate, following intravenous administration in 24 subjects (TAMIFLU is not available as an IV formulation), ranged between 23 and 26 liters.
The binding of oseltamivir carboxylate to human plasma protein is low (3%). The binding of oseltamivir to human plasma protein is 42%, which is insufficient to cause significant displacement-based drug interactions.
Absorbed oseltamivir is primarily ( > 90%) eliminated by conversion to the active metabolite, oseltamivir carboxylate. Plasma concentrations of oseltamivir declined with a half-life of 1 to 3 hours in most subjects after oral administration. Oseltamivir carboxylate is not further metabolized and is eliminated unchanged in urine. Plasma concentrations of oseltamivir carboxylate declined with a half-life of 6 to 10 hours in most subjects after oral administration.
Oseltamivir is extensively converted to the active metabolite, oseltamivir carboxylate, by esterases located predominantly in the liver. Oseltamivir carboxylate is not further metabolized. Neither oseltamivir nor oseltamivir carboxylate is a substrate for, or inhibitor of, cytochrome P450 isoforms.
Oseltamivir carboxylate is eliminated entirely ( > 99%) by renal excretion. Renal clearance (18.8 L/h) exceeds glomerular filtration rate (7.5 L/h), indicating that tubular secretion (via organic anion transporter) occurs in addition to glomerular filtration. Less than 20% of an oral radiolabeled dose is eliminated in feces.
Administration of 100 mg of TAMIFLU twice daily (about 1.3 times the maximum recommended dosage) for 5 days to subjects with various degrees of renal impairment showed that exposure to oseltamivir carboxylate is inversely proportional to declining renal function.
Population-derived pharmacokinetic parameters were determined for patients with varying degrees of renal function including ESRD patients on hemodialysis. Median simulated exposures of oseltamivir carboxylate for recommended treatment and prophylaxis regimens are provided in Table 7. The pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir have not been studied in ESRD patients not undergoing dialysis [see INDICATIONS AND USAGE, and Use in Specific Populations].
Table 7 : Simulated Median Treatment Exposure Metrics
of Oseltamivir Carboxylate in Patients with Normal Renal Function, with Renal
Impairment and ESRD Patients on Hemodialysis
|Renal Function/ Impairment||Normal Creatinine Clearance 90-140 mL/min
|Mild Creatinine Clearance 60-90 mL/min
|Moderate Creatinine Clearance 30-60 mL/min
|Severe Creatinine Clearance 10-30 mL/min
|ESRD Creatinine Clearance < 10 mL/min on Hemodialysis
|Recommended Treatment Regimens|
|PK exposure parameter||75 mg twice daily||75 mg twice daily||30 mg twice daily||30 mg once daily||30 mg every HD cycle|
|Recommended Prophylaxis Regimens|
|PK exposure parameter||75 mg once daily||75 mg once daily||30 mg once daily||30 mg every other day||30 mg alternate HD cycle|
|*AUC normalized to 48 hours.|
In continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) patients, the peak concentration of oseltamivir carboxylate following a single 30 mg dose of oseltamivir or once weekly oseltamivir was approximately 3fold higher than in patients with normal renal function who received 75 mg twice daily. The plasma concentration of oseltamivir carboxylate on Day 5 (147 ng/mL) following a single 30 mg dose in CAPD patients is similar to the predicted Cmin (160 ng/mL) in patients with normal renal function following 75 mg twice daily. Administration of 30 mg once weekly to CAPD patients resulted in plasma concentrations of oseltamivir carboxylate at the 168 hour blood sample of 63 ng/mL, which were comparable to the Cmin in patients with normal renal function receiving the approved regimen of 75 mg once daily (40 ng/mL).
In clinical studies, oseltamivir carboxylate exposure was not altered in subjects with mild or moderate hepatic impairment [see Use in Specific Populations].
A pooled population pharmacokinetic analysis indicates that the TAMIFLU dosage regimen resulted in lower exposure to the active metabolite in pregnant women (n=59) compared to non-pregnant women (n=33). However, this predicted exposure is expected to have activity against susceptible influenza virus strains and there are insufficient pharmacokinetics and safety data to recommend a dose adjustment for pregnant women [see Use In Specific Populations].
Pediatric Subjects (1 year to 12 years of age)
The pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate have been evaluated in a single-dose pharmacokinetic study in pediatric subjects aged 5 to 16 years (n=18) and in a small number of pediatric subjects aged 3 to 12 years (n=5) enrolled in a clinical trial. Younger pediatric subjects cleared both the prodrug and the active metabolite faster than adult subjects resulting in a lower exposure for a given mg/kg dose. For oseltamivir carboxylate, apparent total clearance decreases linearly with increasing age (up to 12 years). The pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir in pediatric subjects over 12 years of age are similar to those in adult subjects [see Use in Specific Populations].
Pediatric Subjects (2 weeks to less than 1 year of age)
The pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate have been evaluated in two open-label studies of pediatric subjects less than one year of age (n=122) infected with influenza. Apparent clearance of the active metabolite decreases with decreasing age in subjects less than 1 year of age; however the oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate exposure following a 3 mg/kg dose in subjects under 1 year of age is expected to be within the observed exposures in adults and adolescents receiving 75 mg twice daily and 150 mg twice daily [see Use in Specific Populations].
Exposure to oseltamivir carboxylate at steady-state was 25 to 35% higher in geriatric subjects (age range 65 to 78 years) compared to young adults given comparable doses of oseltamivir. Half-lives observed in the geriatric subjects were similar to those seen in young adults. Based on drug exposure and tolerability, dose adjustments are not required for geriatric patients for either treatment or prophylaxis [see Use in Specific Populations].
Drug Interaction Studies
Oseltamivir is extensively converted to oseltamivir carboxylate by esterases, located predominantly in the liver. Drug interactions involving competition for esterases have not been extensively reported in literature. Low protein binding of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate suggests that the probability of drug displacement interactions is low.
In vitro studies demonstrate that neither oseltamivir nor oseltamivir carboxylate is a good substrate for P450 mixed-function oxidases or for glucuronyl transferases.
Coadministration of probenecid results in an approximate two-fold increase in exposure to oseltamivir carboxylate due to a decrease in active anionic tubular secretion in the kidney. However, due to the safety margin of oseltamivir carboxylate, no dose adjustments are required when coadministering with probenecid. No clinically relevant pharmacokinetic interactions have been observed when coadministering oseltamivir with amoxicillin, acetaminophen, aspirin, cimetidine, antacids (magnesium and aluminum hydroxides and calcium carbonates), rimantadine, amantadine, or warfarin.
Mechanism Of Action
Oseltamivir phosphate is an ethyl ester prodrug requiring ester hydrolysis for conversion to the active form, oseltamivir carboxylate. Oseltamivir carboxylate is an inhibitor of influenza virus neuraminidase affecting release of viral particles. The median IC50 values of oseltamivir against influenza A/H1N1, influenza A/H3N2, and influenza B clinical isolates were 2.5 nM (range 0.93-4.16 nM, N=74), 0.96 nM (range 0.13-7.95 nM, N=774), and 60 nM (20-285 nM, N=256), respectively, in a neuraminidase assay with a fluorescently labeled MUNANA substrate.
The antiviral activity of oseltamivir carboxylate against laboratory strains and clinical isolates of influenza virus was determined in cell culture. The concentrations of oseltamivir carboxylate required for inhibition of influenza virus in cell culture were highly variable depending on the assay method used and the virus tested. The 50% and 90% effective concentrations (EC50 and EC90) were in the range of 0.0008 micromolar to greater than 35 micromolar and 0.004 micromolar to greater than 100 micromolar, respectively (1 micromolar=0.284 microgram per mL). The relationship between the antiviral activity in cell culture, inhibitory activity in the neuraminidase assay, and the inhibition of influenza virus replication in humans has not been established.
Cell culture studies: Influenza A virus isolates with reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir carboxylate have been recovered by serial passage of virus in cell culture in the presence of increasing concentrations of oseltamivir carboxylate. Reduced susceptibility of influenza virus to inhibition by oseltamivir carboxylate may be conferred by amino acid substitutions in the viral neuraminidase and/or hemagglutinin proteins.
Clinical studies: Reduced susceptibility isolates have been obtained during treatment with oseltamivir and from sampling during community surveillance studies. Changes in the viral neuraminidase that have been associated with reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir carboxylate are summarized in Table 8. The clinical impact of this reduced susceptibility is unknown.
Hemagglutinin (HA) substitutions selected in cell culture and associated with reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir include (influenza virus subtype-specific numbering) A11T, K173G, and R453M in H3N2; and H99Q in influenza B virus (Yamagata lineage). In some cases, HA substitutions were selected in conjunction with known NA resistance substitutions and may contribute to reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir; however, the impact of HA substitutions on antiviral activity of oseltamivir in humans is unknown and likely to be strain- dependent.
Table 8 : Neuraminidase Amino Acid Substitutions
Associated with Reduced Susceptibility to Oseltamivir
|Amino Acid Substitution*|
|Influenza A N1 (N1 numbering in brackets)|
|I117V (I117V), E119V (E119V), R152K (R152K), Y155H (Y155H), F173V (F174V), D198G/N (D199G/N), I222K/R/T/V (I223K/R/T/V), S246N (S247N), G248R+I266V (G249R+I267V), H274Y (H275Y), N294S (N295S), Q312R+I427T (Q313R+I427T), N325K (N325K), R371K (R368K)|
|Influenza A N2|
|E41G, E119I/V, D151V, I222L/V, Q226H, SASG245-248 deletion, S247P, R292K, N294S|
|Influenza B (B numbering in brackets)|
|E119A (E117A), P141S (P139S), G142R (G140R), R152K (R150K), D198E/N/Y (D197E/N/Y), I222L/T/V (I221L/T/V), A246D/S/T (A245D/S/T), H274Y (H273Y), N294S (N294S), R371K (R374K), G402S (G407S)|
|* All numbering is N2, except where indicated|
Selection of influenza A viruses resistant to oseltamivir can occur at higher frequencies in children. The incidence of oseltamivir treatment-associated resistance in pediatric treatment studies has been detected at rates of 27 to 37% and 3 to 18% (3/11 to 7/19 and 1/34 to 9/50 post-treatment isolates, respectively) for influenza A/H1N1 virus and influenza A/H3N2 virus, respectively. The frequency of resistance selection to oseltamivir and the prevalence of such resistant virus vary seasonally and geographically.
Circulating seasonal influenza strains expressing neuraminidase resistance-associated substitutions have been observed in individuals who have not received oseltamivir treatment. The oseltamivir resistance-associated substitution H275Y was found in more than 99% of US-circulating 2008 H1N1 influenza virus isolates. The 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (“swine flu”) was almost uniformly susceptible to oseltamivir; however, the frequency of circulating resistant variants can change from season to season. Prescribers should consider available information from the CDC on influenza virus drug susceptibility patterns and treatment effects when deciding whether to use TAMIFLU.
Cross-resistance between oseltamivir and zanamivir has been observed in neuraminidase biochemical assays. The H275Y (N1 numbering) or N294S (N2 numbering) oseltamivir resistance-associated substitutions observed in the N1 neuraminidase subtype, and the E119V or N294S oseltamivir resistance-associated substitutions observed in the N2 subtype (N2 numbering), are associated with reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir but not zanamivir. The Q136K and K150T zanamivir resistance-associated substitutions observed in N1 neuraminidase, or the S250G zanamivir resistance-associated substitutions observed in influenza B virus neuraminidase, confer reduced susceptibility to zanamivir but not oseltamivir. The R292K oseltamivir resistance-associated substitution observed in N2, and the I222T, D198E/N, R371K, or G402S oseltamivir resistance-associated substitutions observed in influenza B virus neuraminidase, confer reduced susceptibility to both oseltamivir and zanamivir. These examples do not represent an exhaustive list of cross-resistance-associated substitutions and prescribers should consider available information from the CDC on influenza drug susceptibility patterns and treatment effects when deciding whether to use TAMIFLU.
No single amino acid substitution has been identified that could confer cross-resistance between the neuraminidase inhibitor class (oseltamivir, zanamivir) and the M2 ion channel inhibitor class (amantadine, rimantadine). However, a virus may carry a neuraminidase inhibitor-associated substitution in neuraminidase and an M2 ion channel inhibitor associated substitution in M2 and may therefore be resistant to both classes of inhibitors. The clinical relevance of phenotypic cross-resistance evaluations has not been established.
No influenza vaccine/oseltamivir interaction study has been conducted. In studies of naturally acquired and experimental influenza, treatment with TAMIFLU did not impair normal humoral antibody response to infection.
Treatment Of Influenza
Two randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials of TAMIFLU were conducted in adults between 18 and 65 years old, one in the U.S. and one outside the U.S., for the treatment of acute uncomplicated influenza. Eligible subjects had fever of at least 100°F, accompanied by at least one respiratory symptom (cough, nasal symptoms, or sore throat) and at least one systemic symptom (myalgia, chills/sweats, malaise, fatigue, or headache), and influenza virus was known to be circulating in the community. Subjects were randomized to receive oral TAMIFLU or placebo for 5 days. All enrolled subjects were allowed to take fever-reducing medications.
Of 1,355 subjects enrolled in these two trials, 849 (63%) subjects were influenza-infected (median age 34 years; 52% male; 90% Caucasian; 31% smokers). Of the 849 influenza-infected subjects, 95% were infected with influenza A, 3% with influenza B, and 2% with influenza of unknown type.
Study medication was started within 40 hours of onset of symptoms and administered twice daily for 5 days. Subjects were required to self-assess the influenza-associated symptoms (nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, aches, fatigue, headaches, and chills/sweats) twice daily as “none,” “mild,” “moderate,” or “severe”. Time to improvement was calculated from the time of treatment initiation to the time when all symptoms were assessed as “none” or “mild”. In both trials, there was a 1.3-day reduction in the median time to improvement in influenza-infected subjects who received TAMIFLU 75 mg twice a day for 5 days compared to subjects who received placebo. Subgroup analyses by gender showed no differences in the treatment effect of TAMIFLU in men and women.
In the treatment of influenza, no increased efficacy was demonstrated in subjects who received higher doses of TAMIFLU.
Adolescents And Adults With Chronic Cardiac Or Respiratory Disease
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial was unable to demonstrate efficacy of TAMIFLU (75 mg twice daily for 5 days) in the treatment of influenza in adult and adolescent subjects (13 years or older) with chronic cardiac (excluding chronic idiopathic hypertension) or respiratory diseases, as measured by time to alleviation of all symptoms. However, in patients treated with TAMIFLU there was a more rapid cessation of febrile illness. No difference in the incidence of influenza complications was observed between the treatment and placebo groups in this population.
Three double-blind placebo-controlled treatment trials were conducted in subjects who were at least 65 years of age in three consecutive seasons. The enrollment criteria were similar to that of adult trials with the exception of fever being defined as higher than 97.5°F. Of 741 subjects enrolled, 476 (65%) subjects were influenza-infected; of these, 95% were infected with influenza type A and 5% with influenza type B.
In the pooled analysis, there was a 1-day reduction in the median time to improvement in influenza-infected subjects who received TAMIFLU 75 mg twice daily for 5 days compared to those who received placebo (p=NS) [see Use in Specific Populations]. Some seasonal variability was noted in the clinical efficacy outcomes.
Pediatric Subjects (1 year to 12 years of age)
One double-blind placebo-controlled treatment trial was conducted in pediatric subjects aged 1 year to 12 years (median age 5 years) who had fever (at least 100°F) plus one respiratory symptom (cough or coryza) when influenza virus was known to be circulating in the community. Of 698 subjects enrolled in this trial, 452 (65%) were influenza-infected (50% male; 68% Caucasian). Of the 452 influenza-infected subjects, 67% were infected with influenza A and 33% with influenza B.
Efficacy in this trial was determined by the time to alleviation or resolution of influenza signs and symptoms, measured by a composite endpoint that required the following four individual conditions be met: i) alleviation of cough, ii) alleviation of coryza, iii) resolution of fever, and iv) parental opinion of a return to normal health and activity. TAMIFLU treatment of 2 mg per kg twice daily, started within 48 hours of onset of symptoms, reduced the total composite time to freedom from illness by 1.5 days compared to placebo. Subgroup analyses by gender showed no differences in the treatment effect of TAMIFLU in male and female pediatric subjects.
Pediatric Subjects (2 weeks to less than 1 year of age)
Two open-label trials evaluated the safety and pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate in influenza-infected pediatric subjects 2 weeks to less than 1 year of age (including premature infants at least 36 weeks post conceptional age). Subjects received TAMIFLU at doses ranging from 2 to 3.5 mg per kg twice daily for 5 days depending on subject age. These clinical trials were not designed to evaluate clinical efficacy or virologic response.
Of the 136 subjects under the age of 1 year enrolled and dosed in the trials, the majority of the subjects were male (55%), white (79%), non-Hispanic (74%), full term (76%) and infected with influenza A (80%). Pharmacokinetic data indicated that a dose of 3 mg per kg twice daily in pediatric subjects 2 weeks to less than 1 year of age provided TAMIFLU concentrations similar to or higher than those observed in older pediatric subjects and adults receiving the approved dose and provided the basis for approval [see ADVERSE REACTIONS and Use In Specific Populations].
Prophylaxis Of Influenza
Adult and Adolescent Subjects (13 years of age and older)
The efficacy of TAMIFLU in preventing naturally occurring influenza illness has been demonstrated in three seasonal prophylaxis (community outbreak) clinical trials and one post-exposure prophylaxis trial in household contacts. The efficacy endpoint for all of these trials was the incidence of laboratory-confirmed clinical influenza defined as meeting all the following criteria (all signs and symptoms must have been recorded within 24 hours):
- oral temperature greater than or equal to 99.0°F (37.2°C),
- at least one respiratory symptom (cough, sore throat, nasal congestion),
- at least one constitutional symptom (aches and pain, fatigue, headache, chills/sweats), and
- either a positive virus isolation or a four-fold increase in virus antibody titers from baseline.
In a pooled analysis of two seasonal prophylaxis trials in healthy unvaccinated adults (aged 18 to 65 years), TAMIFLU 75 mg once daily taken for 42 days during a community outbreak reduced the incidence of laboratory-confirmed clinical influenza from 5% (25/519) for the placebo group to 1% (6/520) for the TAMIFLU group.
In the seasonal (community outbreak) prophylaxis trial in elderly residents of skilled nursing homes, about 80%, 43%, and 14% of the subjects were vaccinated, had cardiac disorders, and had chronic airway obstructive disorders, respectively. In this trial, subjects were randomized to TAMIFLU 75 mg once daily or placebo taken orally for 42 days. The incidence of laboratory-confirmed clinical influenza was 4% (12/272) in the placebo-treated subjects compared to less than 1% (1/276) in the TAMIFLU-treated subjects.
In the post-exposure prophylaxis trial in household contacts (aged 13 years or older) of an index influenza case, TAMIFLU 75 mg once daily or placebo taken orally was administered within 48 hours of onset of symptoms in the index case and continued for 7 days (index cases did not receive TAMIFLU treatment). The incidence of laboratory-confirmed clinical influenza was 12% (24/200) in the placebo-treated subjects compared to 1% (2/205) in the TAMIFLU-treated subjects.
Pediatric Subjects (1 year to 12 years of age)
The efficacy of TAMIFLU in preventing naturally occurring influenza illness was demonstrated in a randomized, open-label post-exposure prophylaxis trial in household contacts that included pediatric subjects aged 1 year to 12 years, both as index cases and as family contacts. All index cases in this trial received TAMIFLU for oral suspension 30 to 60 mg taken orally once daily for 10 days. The efficacy parameter was the incidence of laboratory-confirmed clinical influenza in the household. Laboratory-confirmed clinical influenza was defined as meeting all of the following criteria:
- oral temperature at least 100°F (37.8°C),
- cough and/or coryza recorded within 48 hours, and
- either a positive virus isolation or a four-fold or greater increase in virus antibody titers from baseline or at illness visits.
Among household contacts 1 year to 12 years of age not already shedding virus at baseline, the incidence of laboratory-confirmed clinical influenza was lower in the group who received TAMIFLU prophylaxis [3% (3/95)] compared to the group who did not receive TAMIFLU prophylaxis [17% (18/106)].
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted for seasonal prophylaxis of influenza in 475 immunocompromised subjects (including 18 pediatric subjects 1 year to 12 years of age) who had received solid organ (n=388; liver, kidney, liver and kidney) or hematopoietic stem cell transplants (n=87). Median time since transplant for solid organ transplant recipients was 1,105 days for the placebo group and 1,379 days for the TAMIFLU group. Median time since transplant for hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients was 424 days for the placebo group and 367 days for the TAMIFLU group. Approximately 40% of subjects received influenza vaccine prior to entering the study. The primary efficacy endpoint was the incidence of confirmed clinical influenza, defined as oral temperature higher than 99.0°F (37.2°C) plus cough and/or coryza, all recorded within 24 hours, plus either a positive virus culture or a four-fold increase in virus antibody titers from baseline. Subjects received treatment with TAMIFLU 75 mg or placebo once daily by mouth for 12 weeks. The incidence of confirmed clinical influenza was 3% (7/238) in the placebo group compared with 2% (5/237) in the TAMIFLU group; this difference was not statistically significant. A secondary analysis was performed using the same clinical symptoms and RT-PCR for laboratory confirmation of influenza infection. Among subjects who were not already shedding virus at baseline, the incidence of RT-PCR-confirmed clinical influenza infection was 3% (7/231) in the placebo group and < 1% (1/232) in the TAMIFLU group.
Last reviewed on RxList: 6/30/2016
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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