"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday approved Briviact (brivaracetam) as an add-on treatment to other medications to treat partial onset seizures in patients age 16 years and older with epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder "...
Suicidal Behavior And Ideation
Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including VIMPAT, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication. Patients treated with any AED for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or any unusual changes in mood or behavior.
Pooled analyses of 199 placebo-controlled clinical trials (mono-and adjunctive therapy) of 11 different AEDs showed that patients randomized to one of the AEDs had approximately twice the risk (adjusted Relative Risk 1.8, 95% CI:1.2, 2.7) of suicidal thinking or behavior compared to patients randomized to placebo. In these trials, which had a median treatment duration of 12 weeks, the estimated incidence of suicidal behavior or ideation among 27,863 AED-treated patients was 0.43%, compared to 0.24% among 16,029 placebo-treated patients, representing an increase of approximately one case of suicidal thinking or behavior for every 530 patients treated. There were four suicides in drug-treated patients in the trials and none in placebo-treated patients, but the number of events is too small to allow any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.
The increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with AEDs was observed as early as one week after starting treatment with AEDs and persisted for the duration of treatment assessed. Because most trials included in the analysis did not extend beyond 24 weeks, the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior beyond 24 weeks could not be assessed.
The risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior was generally consistent among drugs in the data analyzed. The finding of increased risk with AEDs of varying mechanisms of action and across a range of indications suggests that the risk applies to all AEDs used for any indication. The risk did not vary substantially by age (5-100 years) in the clinical trials analyzed.
Table 1 shows absolute and relative risk by indication for all evaluated AEDs.
Table 1 : Risk by Indication for Antiepileptic Drugs
in the Pooled Analysis
|Indication||Placebo Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients||Drug Patients with Events Per1000 Patients||Relative Risk: Incidence of Events in Drug Patients/ Incidence in Placebo Patients||Risk Difference: Additional Drug Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients|
The relative risk for suicidal thoughts or behavior was higher in clinical trials for epilepsy than in clinical trials for psychiatric or other conditions, but the absolute risk differences were similar.
Anyone considering prescribing VIMPAT or any other AED must balance this risk with the risk of untreated illness. Epilepsy and many other illnesses for which antiepileptics are prescribed are themselves associated with morbidity and mortality and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Should suicidal thoughts and behavior emerge during treatment, the prescriber needs to consider whether the emergence of these symptoms in any given patient may be related to the illness being treated.
Patients, their caregivers, and families should be informed that AEDs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of the signs and symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or the emergence of suicidal thoughts, behavior, or thoughts about self-harm. Behaviors of concern should be reported immediately to healthcare providers.
Dizziness And Ataxia
VIMPAT may cause dizziness and ataxia. In patients with partial-onset seizures taking 1 to 3 concomitant AEDs, dizziness was experienced by 25% of patients randomized to the recommended doses (200 to 400 mg/day) of VIMPAT (compared with 8% of placebo patients) and was the adverse event most frequently leading to discontinuation (3%). Ataxia was experienced by 6% of patients randomized to the recommended doses (200 to 400 mg/day) of VIMPAT (compared to 2% of placebo patients). The onset of dizziness and ataxia was most commonly observed during titration. There was a substantial increase in these adverse events at doses higher than 400 mg/day [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Cardiac Rhythm And Conduction Abnormalities
PR Interval Prolongation
Dose-dependent prolongations in PR interval with VIMPAT have been observed in clinical studies in patients and in healthy volunteers [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. In adjunctive clinical trials in patients with partial-onset epilepsy, asymptomatic first-degree atrioventricular (AV) block was observed as an adverse reaction in 0.4% (4/944) of patients randomized to receive VIMPAT and 0% (0/364) of patients randomized to receive placebo. In clinical trials in patients with diabetic neuropathy, asymptomatic first-degree AV block was observed as an adverse reaction in 0.5% (5/1023) of patients receiving VIMPAT and 0% (0/291) of patients receiving placebo. Second degree and complete AV block have been reported in patients in pain studies and in patients with seizures. When VIMPAT is given with other drugs that prolong the PR interval, further PR prolongation is possible.
VIMPAT should be used with caution in patients with known conduction problems (e.g., marked first-degree AV block, second-degree or higher AV block and sick sinus syndrome without pacemaker), sodium channelopathies (e.g., Brugada Syndrome), on concomitant medications that prolong PR interval, or with severe cardiac disease such as myocardial ischemia or heart failure, or structural heart disease. In such patients, obtaining an ECG before beginning VIMPAT, and after VIMPAT is titrated to steady-state maintenance dose, is recommended. In addition, these patients should be closely monitored if they are administered VIMPAT through the intravenous route. One case of profound bradycardia was observed in a patient during a 15-minute infusion of 150 mg VIMPAT. There were two postmarketing reports of third degree AV block in patients with significant cardiac history and also receiving metoprolol and amlodipine during infusion of VIMPAT injection at doses higher than recommended [see ADVERSE REACTIONS, DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter
In the short-term investigational trials of VIMPAT in epilepsy patients, there were no cases of atrial fibrillation or flutter. Both atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter have been reported in open label epilepsy trials and in postmarketing experience. In patients with diabetic neuropathy, 0.5% of patients treated with VIMPAT experienced an adverse reaction of atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, compared to 0% of placebo-treated patients. VIMPAT administration may predispose to atrial arrhythmias (atrial fibrillation or flutter), especially in patients with diabetic neuropathy and/or cardiovascular disease.
In the short-term controlled trials of VIMPAT in epilepsy patients with no significant system illnesses, there was no increase in syncope compared to placebo. In the short-term controlled trials of VIMPAT in patients with diabetic neuropathy, 1.2% of patients who were treated with VIMPAT reported an adverse reaction of syncope or loss of consciousness, compared to 0% of placebo-treated patients with diabetic neuropathy. Most of the cases of syncope were observed in patients receiving doses above 400 mg/day. The cause of syncope was not determined in most cases. However, several were associated with either changes in orthostatic blood pressure, atrial flutter/fibrillation (and associated tachycardia), or bradycardia. Cases of syncope have also been observed in open-label clinical epilepsy studies. These cases were associated with a history of risk factors for cardiac disease and the use of drugs that slow AV conduction.
Withdrawal Of Antiepileptic Drugs (AEDs)
Multiorgan Hypersensitivity Reactions
One case of symptomatic hepatitis and nephritis was observed among 4011 subjects exposed to VIMPAT during clinical development. The event occurred in a healthy volunteer, 10 days after stopping VIMPAT treatment. The subject was not taking any concomitant medication and potential known viral etiologies for hepatitis were ruled out. The subject fully recovered within a month, without specific treatment. The case is consistent with a delayed multiorgan hypersensitivity reaction. Additional potential cases included 2 with rash and elevated liver enzymes and 1 with myocarditis and hepatitis of uncertain etiology.
Multiorgan hypersensitivity reactions (also known as Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms, or DRESS) have been reported with other antiepileptics and typically, although not exclusively, present with fever and rash associated with other organ system involvement, that may or may not include eosinophilia, hepatitis, nephritis, lymphadenopathy, and/or myocarditis. Because this disorder is variable in its expression, other organ system signs and symptoms not noted here may occur. If this reaction is suspected, VIMPAT should be discontinued and alternative treatment started.
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Suicidal Thinking and Behavior
Patients, their caregivers, and families should be counseled that AEDs, including VIMPAT, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or the emergence of suicidal thoughts, behavior, or thoughts about self-harm. Behaviors of concern should be reported immediately to healthcare providers.
Dizziness and Ataxia
Patients should be counseled that VIMPAT use may cause dizziness, double vision, abnormal coordination and balance, and somnolence. Patients taking VIMPAT should be advised not to drive, operate complex machinery, or engage in other hazardous activities until they have become accustomed to any such effects associated with VIMPAT.
Cardiac Rhythm and Conduction Abnormalities
Patients should be counseled that VIMPAT is associated with electrocardiographic changes that may predispose to irregular beat and syncope, particularly in patients with underlying cardiovascular disease, with heart conduction problems or who are taking other medications that affect the heart. Patients who develop syncope should lay down with raised legs and contact their health care provider.
Multiorgan Hypersensitivity Reactions
Patients should be aware that VIMPAT may cause serious hypersensitivity reactions affecting multiple organs such as the liver and kidney. VIMPAT should be discontinued if a serious hypersensitivity reaction is suspected. Patients should also be instructed to report promptly to their physicians any symptoms of liver toxicity (e.g., fatigue, jaundice, dark urine).
Advise patients to notify their healthcare provider if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during VIMPAT therapy. Encourage patients to enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) pregnancy registry if they become pregnant. This registry is collecting information about the safety of AEDs during pregnancy. To enroll, patients can call the toll free number 1-888-233-2334 [see Use In Specific Populations].
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
There was no evidence of drug related carcinogenicity in mice or rats. Mice and rats received lacosamide once daily by oral administration for 104 weeks at doses producing plasma exposures (AUC) up to approximately 1 and 3 times, respectively, the plasma AUC in humans at the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 400 mg/day.
No adverse effects on male or female fertility or reproduction were observed in rats at doses producing plasma exposures (AUC) up to approximately 2 times the plasma AUC in humans at the MRHD.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
Lacosamide produced developmental toxicity (increased embryofetal and perinatal mortality, growth deficit) in rats following administration during pregnancy. Developmental neurotoxicity was observed in rats following administration during a period of postnatal development corresponding to the third trimester of human pregnancy. These effects were observed at doses associated with clinically relevant plasma exposures.
Lacosamide has been shown in vitro to interfere with the activity of collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP-2), a protein involved in neuronal differentiation and control of axonal outgrowth. Potential related adverse effects on CNS development cannot be ruled out.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. VIMPAT should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Oral administration of lacosamide to pregnant rats (20, 75, or 200 mg/kg/day) and rabbits (6.25, 12.5, or 25 mg/kg/day) during the period of organogenesis did not produce any teratogenic effects. However, the maximum doses evaluated were limited by maternal toxicity in both species and embryofetal death in rats. These doses were associated with maternal plasma lacosamide exposures [area under the plasma-time concentration curve; (AUC)] ≈2 and 1 times (rat and rabbit, respectively) that in humans at the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 400 mg/day.
When lacosamide (25, 70, or 200 mg/kg/day) was orally administered to rats throughout gestation, parturition, and lactation, increased perinatal mortality and decreased body weights were observed in the offspring at the highest dose. The no-effect dose for pre-and post-natal developmental toxicity in rats (70 mg/kg/day) was associated with a maternal plasma lacosamide AUC approximately equal to that in humans at the MRHD.
Oral administration of lacosamide (30, 90, or 180 mg/kg/day) to rats during the neonatal and juvenile periods of postnatal development resulted in decreased brain weights and long-term neurobehavioral changes (altered open field performance, deficits in learning and memory). The early postnatal period in rats is generally thought to correspond to late pregnancy in humans in terms of brain development. The no-effect dose for developmental neurotoxicity in rats was associated with a plasma lacosamide AUC approximately 0.5 times that in humans at the MRHD.
Physicians are advised to recommend that pregnant patients taking VIMPAT enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) pregnancy registry. This can be done by calling the toll free number 1-888-2332334, and must be done by patients themselves. Information on the registry can also be found at the website http://www.aedpregnancyregistry.org/.
Labor And Delivery
The effects of VIMPAT on labor and delivery in pregnant women are unknown. In a pre-and post-natal study in rats, there was a tendency for prolonged gestation in all lacosamide treated groups at plasma exposures (AUC) at or below the plasma AUC in humans at the maximum recommended human dose of 400 mg/day.
Studies in lactating rats have shown that lacosamide and/or its metabolites are excreted in milk. It is not known whether VIMPAT is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted into human milk, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue VIMPAT, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
The safety and effectiveness of VIMPAT in pediatric patients less than 17 years of age have not been established.
Lacosamide has been shown in vitro to interfere with the activity of collapsin response mediator protein-2 (CRMP-2), a protein involved in neuronal differentiation and control of axonal outgrowth. Potential related adverse effects on CNS development cannot be ruled out. Administration of lacosamide to rats during the neonatal and juvenile periods of postnatal development resulted in decreased brain weights and long-term neurobehavioral changes (altered open field performance, deficits in learning and memory). The no-effect dose for developmental neurotoxicity in rats was associated with a plasma lacosamide exposure (AUC) approximately 0.5 times the human plasma AUC at the maximum recommended human dose of 400 mg/day.
There were insufficient numbers of elderly patients enrolled in partial-onset seizure trials (n=18) to adequately assess the effectiveness of VIMPAT in this population.
A maximum dose of 300 mg per day is recommended for patients with severe renal impairment (CLCR ≤ 30 mL/min) and in patients with endstage renal disease. VIMPAT is effectively removed from plasma by hemodialysis. Dosage supplementation of up to 50% following hemodialysis should be considered. In all renally impaired patients, dose titration should be performed with caution [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment should be observed closely during dose titration. A maximum dose of 300 mg per day is recommended for patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment. The pharmacokinetics of lacosamide has not been evaluated in severe hepatic impairment. VIMPAT use is not recommended in patients with severe hepatic impairment [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Patients with co-existing hepatic and renal impairment should be monitored closely during dose titration.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/27/2015
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