ACTEMRA (Page 5 of 15)

5.5 Immunosuppression

The impact of treatment with ACTEMRA on the development of malignancies is not known but malignancies were observed in clinical studies [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)]. ACTEMRA is an immunosuppressant, and treatment with immunosuppressants may result in an increased risk of malignancies.

5.6 Hypersensitivity Reactions, Including Anaphylaxis

Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, have been reported in association with ACTEMRA [see Adverse Reactions (6)] and anaphylactic events with a fatal outcome have been reported with intravenous infusion of ACTEMRA. Anaphylaxis and other hypersensitivity reactions that required treatment discontinuation were reported in 0.1% (3 out of 2644) of patients in the 6-month controlled trials of intravenous ACTEMRA, 0.2% (8 out of 4009) of patients in the intravenous all-exposure RA population, 0.7% (8 out of 1068) in the subcutaneous 6-month controlled RA trials, and in 0.7% (10 out of 1465) of patients in the subcutaneous all-exposure population. In the SJIA controlled trial with intravenous ACTEMRA, 1 out of 112 patients (0.9%) experienced hypersensitivity reactions that required treatment discontinuation. In the PJIA controlled trial with intravenous ACTEMRA, 0 out of 188 patients (0%) in the ACTEMRA all-exposure population experienced hypersensitivity reactions that required treatment discontinuation. Reactions that required treatment discontinuation included generalized erythema, rash, and urticaria. Injection site reactions were categorized separately [ see Adverse Reactions (6)].

In the postmarketing setting, events of hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis and death have occurred in patients treated with a range of doses of intravenous ACTEMRA, with or without concomitant therapies. Events have occurred in patients who received premedication. Hypersensitivity, including anaphylaxis events, have occurred both with and without previous hypersensitivity reactions and as early as the first infusion of ACTEMRA [see Adverse Reactions (6.8)]. ACTEMRA for intravenous use should only be infused by a healthcare professional with appropriate medical support to manage anaphylaxis. For ACTEMRA subcutaneous injection, advise patients to seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of a hypersensitivity reaction. If anaphylaxis or other hypersensitivity reaction occurs, stop administration of ACTEMRA immediately and discontinue ACTEMRA permanently. Do not administer ACTEMRA to patients with known hypersensitivity to ACTEMRA [see Contraindications (4) and Adverse Reactions (6)].

5.7 Demyelinating Disorders

The impact of treatment with ACTEMRA on demyelinating disorders is not known, but multiple sclerosis and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy were reported rarely in RA clinical studies. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms potentially indicative of demyelinating disorders. Prescribers should exercise caution in considering the use of ACTEMRA in patients with preexisting or recent onset demyelinating disorders.

5.8 Active Hepatic Disease and Hepatic Impairment

Treatment with ACTEMRA is not recommended in patients with active hepatic disease or hepatic impairment [see Adverse Reactions (6.1), Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].

5.9 Vaccinations

Avoid use of live vaccines concurrently with ACTEMRA as clinical safety has not been established. No data are available on the secondary transmission of infection from persons receiving live vaccines to patients receiving ACTEMRA.

No data are available on the effectiveness of vaccination in patients receiving ACTEMRA. Because IL-6 inhibition may interfere with the normal immune response to new antigens, it is recommended that all patients, particularly pediatric or elderly patients, if possible, be brought up to date with all immunizations in agreement with current immunization guidelines prior to initiating ACTEMRA therapy. The interval between live vaccinations and initiation of ACTEMRA therapy should be in accordance with current vaccination guidelines regarding immunosuppressive agents.

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

The following serious adverse reactions are described elsewhere in labeling:

Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not predict the rates observed in a broader patient population in clinical practice.

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Treated with Intravenous ACTEMRA (ACTEMRA-IV)

The ACTEMRA-IV data in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) includes 5 double-blind, controlled, multicenter studies. In these studies, patients received doses of ACTEMRA-IV 8 mg per kg monotherapy (288 patients), ACTEMRA-IV 8 mg per kg in combination with DMARDs (including methotrexate) (1582 patients), or ACTEMRA-IV 4 mg per kg in combination with methotrexate (774 patients).

The all exposure population includes all patients in registration studies who received at least one dose of ACTEMRA-IV. Of the 4009 patients in this population, 3577 received treatment for at least 6 months, 3309 for at least one year; 2954 received treatment for at least 2 years and 2189 for 3 years.

All patients in these studies had moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. The study population had a mean age of 52 years, 82% were female and 74% were Caucasian.

The most common serious adverse reactions were serious infections [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]. The most commonly reported adverse reactions in controlled studies up to 24 weeks (occurring in at least 5% of patients treated with ACTEMRA-IV monotherapy or in combination with DMARDs) were upper respiratory tract infections, nasopharyngitis, headache, hypertension and increased ALT.

The proportion of patients who discontinued treatment due to any adverse reactions during the double-blind, placebo-controlled studies was 5% for patients taking ACTEMRA-IV and 3% for placebo-treated patients. The most common adverse reactions that required discontinuation of ACTEMRA-IV were increased hepatic transaminase values (per protocol requirement) and serious infections.

Overall Infections

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, the rate of infections in the ACTEMRA-IV monotherapy group was 119 events per 100 patient-years and was similar in the methotrexate monotherapy group. The rate of infections in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD group was 133 and 127 events per 100 patient-years, respectively, compared to 112 events per 100 patient-years in the placebo plus DMARD group. The most commonly reported infections (5% to 8% of patients) were upper respiratory tract infections and nasopharyngitis.

The overall rate of infections with ACTEMRA-IV in the all exposure population remained consistent with rates in the controlled periods of the studies.

Serious Infections

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, the rate of serious infections in the ACTEMRA-IV monotherapy group was 3.6 per 100 patient-years compared to 1.5 per 100 patient-years in the methotrexate group. The rate of serious infections in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD group was 4.4 and 5.3 events per 100 patient-years, respectively, compared to 3.9 events per 100 patient-years in the placebo plus DMARD group.

In the all-exposure population, the overall rate of serious infections remained consistent with rates in the controlled periods of the studies. The most common serious infections included pneumonia, urinary tract infection, cellulitis, herpes zoster, gastroenteritis, diverticulitis, sepsis and bacterial arthritis. Cases of opportunistic infections have been reported [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

In the cardiovascular outcomes Study WA25204, the rate of serious infections in the ACTEMRA 8 mg/kg IV every 4 weeks group, with or without DMARD, was 4.5 per 100 patient-years, and the rate in the etanercept 50 mg weekly SC group, with or without DMARD, was 3.2 per 100 patient-years [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].

Gastrointestinal Perforations

During the 24 week, controlled clinical trials, the overall rate of gastrointestinal perforation was 0.26 events per 100 patient-years with ACTEMRA-IV therapy.

In the all-exposure population, the overall rate of gastrointestinal perforation remained consistent with rates in the controlled periods of the studies. Reports of gastrointestinal perforation were primarily reported as complications of diverticulitis including generalized purulent peritonitis, lower GI perforation, fistula and abscess. Most patients who developed gastrointestinal perforations were taking concomitant nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, or methotrexate [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]. The relative contribution of these concomitant medications versus ACTEMRA-IV to the development of GI perforations is not known.

Infusion Reactions

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, adverse events associated with the infusion (occurring during or within 24 hours of the start of infusion) were reported in 8% and 7% of patients in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD group, respectively, compared to 5% of patients in the placebo plus DMARD group. The most frequently reported event on the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg dose during the infusion was hypertension (1% for both doses), while the most frequently reported event occurring within 24 hours of finishing an infusion were headache (1% for both doses) and skin reactions (1% for both doses), including rash, pruritus and urticaria. These events were not treatment limiting.

Anaphylaxis

Hypersensitivity reactions requiring treatment discontinuation, including anaphylaxis, associated with ACTEMRA-IV were reported in 0.1% (3 out of 2644) in the 24 week, controlled trials and in 0.2% (8 out of 4009) in the all-exposure population. These reactions were generally observed during the second to fourth infusion of ACTEMRA-IV. Appropriate medical treatment should be available for immediate use in the event of a serious hypersensitivity reaction [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].

Laboratory Abnormalities

Neutropenia

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, decreases in neutrophil counts below 1000 per mm3 occurred in 1.8% and 3.4% of patients in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD group, respectively, compared to 0.1% of patients in the placebo plus DMARD group. Approximately half of the instances of ANC below 1000 per mm3 occurred within 8 weeks of starting therapy. Decreases in neutrophil counts below 500 per mm3 occurred in 0.4% and 0.3% of patients in the 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD, respectively, compared to 0.1% of patients in the placebo plus DMARD group. There was no clear relationship between decreases in neutrophils below 1000 per mm3 and the occurrence of serious infections.

In the all-exposure population, the pattern and incidence of decreases in neutrophil counts remained consistent with what was seen in the 24 week controlled clinical studies [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].

Thrombocytopenia

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, decreases in platelet counts below 100,000 per mm3 occurred in 1.3% and 1.7% of patients on 4 mg per kg and 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD, respectively, compared to 0.5% of patients on placebo plus DMARD, without associated bleeding events.

In the all-exposure population, the pattern and incidence of decreases in platelet counts remained consistent with what was seen in the 24 week controlled clinical studies [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].

Elevated Liver Enzymes

Liver enzyme abnormalities are summarized in Table 1. In patients experiencing liver enzyme elevation, modification of treatment regimen, such as reduction in the dose of concomitant DMARD, interruption of ACTEMRA-IV, or reduction in ACTEMRA-IV dose, resulted in decrease or normalization of liver enzymes [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)]. These elevations were not associated with clinically relevant increases in direct bilirubin, nor were they associated with clinical evidence of hepatitis or hepatic insufficiency [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3, 5.4)].

Table 1 Incidence of Liver Enzyme Abnormalities in the 24 Week Controlled Period of Studies I to V *
ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg MONOTHERAPY Methotrexate ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg + DMARDs ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg + DMARDs Placebo + DMARDs
N = 288(%) N = 284(%) N = 774(%) N = 1582(%) N = 1170(%)
ULN = Upper Limit of Normal
*
For a description of these studies, see Section 14, Clinical Studies.
AST (U/L)
> ULN to 3× ULN 22 26 34 41 17
> 3× ULN to 5× ULN 0.3 2 1 2 0.3
> 5× ULN 0.7 0.4 0.1 0.2 < 0.1
ALT (U/L)
> ULN to 3× ULN 36 33 45 48 23
> 3× ULN to 5× ULN 1 4 5 5 1
> 5× ULN 0.7 1 1.3 1.5 0.3

In the all-exposure population, the elevations in ALT and AST remained consistent with what was seen in the 24 week, controlled clinical trials.

In Study WA25204, of the 1538 patients with moderate to severe RA [see Clinical Studies (14.1)] and treated with tocilizumab, elevations in ALT or AST >3 × ULN occurred in 5.3% and 2.2% patients, respectively. One serious event of drug induced hepatitis with hyperbilirubinemia was reported in association with tocilizumab.

Lipids

Elevations in lipid parameters (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides) were first assessed at 6 weeks following initiation of ACTEMRA-IV in the controlled 24 week clinical trials. Increases were observed at this time point and remained stable thereafter. Increases in triglycerides to levels above 500 mg per dL were rarely observed. Changes in other lipid parameters from baseline to week 24 were evaluated and are summarized below:

Mean LDL increased by 13 mg per dL in the ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg+DMARD arm, 20 mg per dL in the ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg+DMARD, and 25 mg per dL in ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg monotherapy.
Mean HDL increased by 3 mg per dL in the ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg+DMARD arm, 5 mg per dL in the ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg+DMARD, and 4 mg per dL in ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg monotherapy.
Mean LDL/HDL ratio increased by an average of 0.14 in the ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg+DMARD arm, 0.15 in the ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg+DMARD, and 0.26 in ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg monotherapy.
ApoB/ApoA1 ratios were essentially unchanged in ACTEMRA-treated patients.

Elevated lipids responded to lipid lowering agents.

In the all-exposure population, the elevations in lipid parameters remained consistent with what was seen in the 24 week, controlled clinical trials.

Immunogenicity

As with all therapeutic proteins, there is potential for immunogenicity. The detection of antibody formation is highly dependent on the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. Additionally, the observed incidence of antibody (including neutralizing antibody) positivity in an assay may be influenced by several factors including assay methodology, sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medications, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of the incidence of antibodies to tocilizumab in the studies described below with the incidence of antibodies in other studies or to other products may be misleading.

In the 24 week, controlled clinical studies, a total of 2876 patients have been tested for anti-tocilizumab antibodies. Forty-six patients (2%) developed positive anti-tocilizumab antibodies, of whom 5 had an associated, medically significant, hypersensitivity reaction leading to withdrawal. Thirty patients (1%) developed neutralizing antibodies.

Malignancies

During the 24 week, controlled period of the studies, 15 malignancies were diagnosed in patients receiving ACTEMRA-IV, compared to 8 malignancies in patients in the control groups. Exposure-adjusted incidence was similar in the ACTEMRA-IV groups (1.32 events per 100 patient-years) and in the placebo plus DMARD group (1.37 events per 100 patient-years).

In the all-exposure population, the rate of malignancies remained consistent with the rate observed in the 24 week, controlled period [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].

Other Adverse Reactions

Adverse reactions occurring in 2% or more of patients on 4 or 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA-IV plus DMARD and at least 1% greater than that observed in patients on placebo plus DMARD are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2 Adverse Reactions Occurring in at Least 2% or More of Patients on 4 or 8 mg per kg ACTEMRA plus DMARD and at Least 1% Greater Than That Observed in Patients on Placebo plus DMARD
24 Week Phase 3 Controlled Study Population
ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg MONOTHERAPY Methotrexate ACTEMRA 4 mg per kg + DMARDs ACTEMRA 8 mg per kg + DMARDs Placebo + DMARDs
Preferred Term N = 288(%) N = 284(%) N = 774(%) N = 1582(%) N = 1170(%)
Upper Respiratory Tract Infection 7 5 6 8 6
Nasopharyngitis 7 6 4 6 4
Headache 7 2 6 5 3
Hypertension 6 2 4 4 3
ALT increased 6 4 3 3 1
Dizziness 3 1 2 3 2
Bronchitis 3 2 4 3 3
Rash 2 1 4 3 1
Mouth Ulceration 2 2 1 2 1
Abdominal Pain Upper 2 2 3 3 2
Gastritis 1 2 1 2 1
Transaminase increased 1 5 2 2 1

Other infrequent and medically relevant adverse reactions occurring at an incidence less than 2% in rheumatoid arthritis patients treated with ACTEMRA-IV in controlled trials were:

Infections and Infestations: oral herpes simplex

Gastrointestinal disorders: stomatitis, gastric ulcer

Investigations: weight increased, total bilirubin increased

Blood and lymphatic system disorders: leukopenia

General disorders and administration site conditions: edema peripheral

Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders: dyspnea, cough

Eye disorders: conjunctivitis

Renal disorders: nephrolithiasis

Endocrine disorders: hypothyroidism

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