"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved a new use of Gleevec (imatinib) to treat children newly diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
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Treatment with Tasigna can cause Grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia, neutropenia and anemia. Perform complete blood counts every 2 weeks for the first 2 months and then monthly thereafter, or as clinically indicated. Myelosuppression was generally reversible and usually managed by withholding Tasigna temporarily or dose reduction [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Tasigna has been shown to prolong cardiac ventricular repolarization as measured by the QT interval on the surface ECG in a concentration-dependent manner [see ADVERSE REACTIONS, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Prolongation of the QT interval can result in a type of ventricular tachycardia called torsade de pointes, which may result in syncope, seizure, and/or death. ECGs should be performed at baseline, 7 days after initiation of Tasigna, and periodically as clinically indicated and following dose adjustments.
Tasigna should not be used in patients who have hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia or long QT syndrome. Before initiating Tasigna and periodically, test electrolyte, calcium and magnesium blood levels. Hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia must be corrected prior to initiating Tasigna and these electrolytes should be monitored periodically during therapy.
Significant prolongation of the QT interval may occur when Tasigna is inappropriately taken with food and/or strong CYP3A4 inhibitors and/or medicinal products with a known potential to prolong QT. Therefore, coadministration with food must be avoided and concomitant use with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors and/or medicinal products with a known potential to prolong QT should be avoided. The presence of hypokalemia and hypomagnesemia may further prolong the QT interval.
Sudden deaths have been reported in 0.3% of patients with CML treated with nilotinib in clinical studies of 5,661 patients. The relative early occurrence of some of these deaths relative to the initiation of nilotinib suggests the possibility that ventricular repolarization abnormalities may have contributed to their occurrence.
Cardiac And Vascular Events
Cardiovascular events, including arterial vascular occlusive events, were reported in a randomized, clinical trial in newly diagnosed CML patients and observed in the post-marketing reports of patients receiving nilotinib therapy. With a median time on therapy of 48 months in the clinical trial, cases of cardiovascular events included ischemic heart disease-related events (5.0% and 5.8% in the nilotinib 300 mg and 400 mg bid arms respectively, and 1.8% in the imatinib arm), peripheral arterial occlusive disease (1.8% and 2.2% in the nilotinib 300 mg and 400 mg bid arms respectively, and 0% in the imatinib arm), and ischemic cerebrovascular events (1.1% and 1.8% in the nilotinib 300 mg and 400 mg bid arms respectively, and 0.7% in the imatinib arm). If acute signs or symptoms of cardiovascular events occur, advise patients to seek immediate medical attention. The cardiovascular status of patients should be evaluated and cardiovascular risk factors should be monitored and actively managed during Tasigna therapy according to standard guidelines [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Pancreatitis And Elevated Serum Lipase
Tasigna can cause increases in serum lipase. Patients with a previous history of pancreatitis may be at greater risk of elevated serum lipase. If lipase elevations are accompanied by abdominal symptoms, interrupt dosing and consider appropriate diagnostics to exclude pancreatitis. Test serum lipase levels monthly or as clinically indicated.
The use of Tasigna can cause hypophosphatemia, hypokalemia, hyperkalemia, hypocalcemia, and hyponatremia. Electrolyte abnormalities must be corrected prior to initiating Tasigna and these electrolytes should be monitored periodically during therapy.
Avoid administration of Tasigna with agents that may increase nilotinib exposure (e.g., strong CYP3A4 inhibitors) or anti-arrhythmic drugs (including, but not limited to amiodarone, disopyramide, procainamide, quinidine and sotalol) and other drugs that may prolong QT interval (including, but not limited to chloroquine, clarithromycin, haloperidol, methadone, moxifloxacin and pimozide). Should treatment with any of these agents be required, interrupt therapy with Tasigna. If interruption of treatment with Tasigna is not possible, patients who require treatment with a drug that prolongs QT or strongly inhibits CYP3A4 should be closely monitored for prolongation of the QT interval [see BOXED WARNING, DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, DRUG INTERACTIONS].
The bioavailability of nilotinib is increased with food, thus Tasigna must not be taken with food. No food should be consumed for at least 2 hours before and for at least 1 hour after the dose is taken. Also avoid grapefruit products and other foods that are known to inhibit CYP3A4 [see BOXED WARNING, DRUG INTERACTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Nilotinib exposure is increased in patients with impaired hepatic function. Use a lower starting dose for patients with mild to severe hepatic impairment (at baseline) and monitor the QT interval frequently [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and Use In Specific Populations].
Tumor Lysis Syndrome
Tumor lysis syndrome cases have been reported in Tasigna treated patients with resistant or intolerant CML. Malignant disease progression, high WBC counts and/or dehydration were present in the majority of these cases. Due to potential for tumor lysis syndrome, maintain adequate hydration and correct uric acid levels prior to initiating therapy with Tasigna.
Since the exposure of nilotinib is reduced in patients with total gastrectomy, perform more frequent monitoring of these patients. Consider dose increase or alternative therapy in patients with total gastrectomy [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Since the capsules contain lactose, Tasigna is not recommended for patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, severe lactase deficiency with a severe degree of intolerance to lactose-containing products, or of glucose-galactose malabsorption.
Monitoring Laboratory Tests
Complete blood counts should be performed every 2 weeks for the first 2 months and then monthly thereafter. Chemistry panels, including electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, lipid profile, and glucose should be checked prior to therapy and periodically. ECGs should be obtained at baseline, 7 days after initiation and periodically thereafter, as well as following dose adjustments. Laboratory monitoring for patients receiving Tasigna may need to be performed more or less frequently at the physician's discretion.
There are no adequate and well controlled studies of Tasigna in pregnant women. However, Tasigna may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Nilotinib caused embryo-fetal toxicities in animals at maternal exposures that were lower than the expected human exposure at the recommended doses of nilotinib. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of child-bearing potential should avoid becoming pregnant while taking Tasigna [see Use in Specific Populations].
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-Approved Patient Labeling (Medication Guide).
A Medication Guide is required for distribution with Tasigna. Encourage patients to read the Tasigna Medication Guide. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.
Cardiac and Vascular Events
Advise patients that cardiovascular events (including ischemic heart disease, peripheral arterial occlusive disease, and ischemic cerebrovascular events) have been reported. Advise patients to seek immediate medical attention with any symptoms suggestive of a cardiovascular event. Cardiovascular status of patients should be evaluated and cardiovascular risk factors should be monitored and managed during Tasigna therapy according to standard guidelines. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Advise patients to take Tasigna doses twice daily approximately 12 hours apart. The capsules should be swallowed whole with water.
Advise patients to take Tasigna on an empty stomach. No food should be consumed for at least 2 hours before the dose is taken and for at least 1 hour after the dose is taken. Patients should not consume grapefruit products and other foods that are known to inhibit CYP3A4 at any time during Tasigna treatment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Medication Guide].
If the patient missed a dose of Tasigna, the patient should take the next scheduled dose at its regular time. The patient should not take two doses at the same time.
Should patients be unable to swallow capsules, the contents of each capsule may be dispersed in one teaspoon of applesauce and the mixture swallowed immediately (within 15 minutes).
Tasigna and certain other medicines, including over the counter medications or herbal supplements (such as St. John's Wort), can interact with each other [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Advise patients that the use of Tasigna during pregnancy may cause harm to the fetus and that Tasigna should not be taken during pregnancy unless necessary. Women of childbearing potential should use highly effective contraceptives while taking Tasigna. Sexually active female patients taking Tasigna should use adequate contraception [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use In Specific Populations].
Advise patients of the following:
- Continue taking Tasigna every day for as long as their doctor tells them.
- This is a long-term treatment.
- Do not change dose or stop taking Tasigna without first consulting their doctor.
- If a dose is missed, take the next dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed capsules.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
A 2-year carcinogenicity study was conducted orally in rats at nilotinib doses of 5, 15, and 40 mg/kg/day. Exposures in animals at the highest dose tested were approximately 2 to 3 fold the human exposure (based on AUC) at the nilotinib dose of 400 mg twice daily. The study was negative for carcinogenic findings.
Nilotinib was not mutagenic in a bacterial mutagenesis (Ames) assay, was not clastogenic in a chromosome aberration assay in human lymphocytes, did not induce DNA damage (comet assay) in L5178Y mouse lymphoma cells, nor was it clastogenic in an in vivo rat bone marrow micronucleus assay with two oral treatments at doses up to 2000 mg/kg/dose.
There were no effects on male or female rat and female rabbit mating or fertility at doses up to 180 mg/kg in rats (approximately 4 to 7 fold for males and females, respectively, the AUC in patients at the dose of 400 mg twice daily) or 300 mg/kg in rabbits (approximately one-half the AUC in patients at the dose of 400 mg twice daily). The effect of Tasigna on human fertility is unknown. In a study where male and female rats were treated with nilotinib at oral doses of 20 to 180 mg/kg/day (approximately 1 to 6.6 fold the AUC in patients at the dose of 400 mg twice daily) during the pre-mating and mating periods and then mated, and dosing of pregnant rats continued through gestation Day 6, nilotinib increased post-implantation loss and early resorption, and decreased the number of viable fetuses and litter size at all doses tested.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category D [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Based on its mechanism of action and findings in animals, Tasigna may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Women should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant while on Tasigna. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.
Nilotinib was studied for effects on embryo-fetal development in pregnant rats and rabbits given oral doses of 10, 30, 100 mg/kg/day, and 30, 100, 300 mg/kg/day, respectively, during organogenesis. In rats, nilotinib at doses of 100 mg/kg/day (approximately 5.7 times the AUC in patients at the dose of 400 mg twice daily) was associated with maternal toxicity (decreased gestation weight, gravid uterine weight, net weight gain, and food consumption). Nilotinib at doses ≥ 30 mg/kg/day (approximately 2 times the AUC in patients at the dose of 400 mg twice daily) resulted in embryo-fetal toxicity as shown by increased resorption and post-implantation loss, and at 100 mg/kg/day, a decrease in viable fetuses. In rabbits, maternal toxicity at 300 mg/kg/day (approximately one-half the human exposure based on AUC) was associated with mortality, abortion, decreased gestation weights and decreased food consumption. Embryonic toxicity (increased resorption) and minor skeletal anomalies were observed at a dose of 300 mg/kg/day. Nilotinib is not considered teratogenic.
When pregnant rats were dosed with nilotinib during organogenesis and through lactation, the adverse effects included a longer gestational period, lower pup body weights until weaning and decreased fertility indices in the pups when they reached maturity, all at a maternal dose of 360 mg/m² (approximately 0.7 times the clinical dose of 400 mg twice daily based on body surface area). At doses up to 120 mg/m² (approximately 0.25 times the clinical dose of 400 mg twice daily based on body surface area) no adverse effects were seen in the maternal animals or the pups.
It is not known whether nilotinib is excreted in human milk. One study in lactating rats demonstrates that nilotinib is excreted into milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from Tasigna, 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.
The safety and effectiveness of Tasigna in pediatric patients have not been established.
In the clinical trials of Tasigna (patients with newly diagnosed Ph+ CML-CP and resistant or intolerant Ph+ CML-CP and CML-AP), approximately 12% and 30% of patients were 65 years or over respectively.
- Patients with newly diagnosed Ph+ CML-CP: There was no difference in major molecular response between patients aged < 65 years and those ≥ 65 years.
- Patients with resistant or intolerant CML-CP: There was no difference in major cytogenetic response rate between patients aged < 65 years and those ≥ 65 years.
- Patients with resistant or intolerant CML-AP: The hematologic response rate was 44% in patients < 65 years of age and 29% in patients ≥ 65 years.
No major differences for safety were observed in patients ≥ 65 years of age as compared to patients < 65 years.
In the clinical trials, patients with a history of uncontrolled or significant cardiovascular disease, including recent myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, unstable angina or clinically significant bradycardia, were excluded. Caution should be exercised in patients with relevant cardiac disorders [see BOXED WARNING, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Nilotinib exposure is increased in patients with impaired hepatic function. In a study of subjects with mild to severe hepatic impairment following a single dose administration of 200 mg of Tasigna, the mean AUC values were increased on average of 35%, 35%, and 56% in subjects with mild (Child-Pugh class A, score 5 to 6), moderate (Child-Pugh class B, score 7 to 9) and severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class C, score 10 to 15), respectively, compared to a control group of subjects with normal hepatic function. Table 8 summarizes the Child-Pugh Liver Function Classification applied in this study. A lower starting dose is recommended in patients with hepatic impairment and the QT interval should be monitored closely in these patients [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Table 8: Child-Pugh Liver Function Classification
|Assessment||Degree of Abnormality||Score|
|1 or 2||2|
|3 or 4||3|
|Total Bilirubin (mg/dL)||< 2||1|
|Serum Albumin (g/dL)||> 3.5||1|
|Prothrombin Time (seconds prolonged)||< 4||1|
Clinical studies have not been performed in patients with impaired renal function. Clinical studies have excluded patients with serum creatinine concentration > 1.5 times the upper limit of the normal range.
Since nilotinib and its metabolites are not renally excreted, a decrease in total body clearance is not anticipated in patients with renal impairment.
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/3/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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