Dacogen (Page 2 of 4)

6.2 Post-marketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of Dacogen. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Cases of Sweet’s Syndrome (acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis) have been reported.


Drug interaction studies with decitabine have not been conducted. In vitro studies in human liver microsomes suggest that decitabine is unlikely to inhibit or induce cytochrome P450 enzymes. In vitro metabolism studies have suggested that decitabine is not a substrate for human liver cytochrome P450 enzymes. As plasma protein binding of decitabine is negligible (<1%), interactions due to displacement of more highly protein bound drugs from plasma proteins are not expected.


8.1 Pregnancy

Dacogen can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Dacogen in pregnant women.

The developmental toxicity of decitabine was examined in mice exposed to single IP (intraperitoneal) injections (0, 0.9 and 3.0 mg/m2 , approximately 2% and 7% of the recommended daily clinical dose, respectively) over gestation days 8, 9, 10 or 11. No maternal toxicity was observed but reduced fetal survival was observed after treatment at 3 mg/m2 and decreased fetal weight was observed at both dose levels. The 3 mg/m2 dose elicited characteristic fetal defects for each treatment day, including supernumerary ribs (both dose levels), fused vertebrae and ribs, cleft palate, vertebral defects, hind-limb defects and digital defects of fore- and hind-limbs. In rats given a single IP injection of 2.4, 3.6 or 6 mg/m2 (approximately 5, 8, or 13% the daily recommended clinical dose, respectively) on gestation days 9-12, no maternal toxicity was observed. No live fetuses were seen at any dose when decitabine was injected on gestation day 9. A significant decrease in fetal survival and reduced fetal weight at doses greater than 3.6 mg/m2 was seen when decitabine was given on gestation day 10. Increased incidences of vertebral and rib anomalies were seen at all dose levels, and induction of exophthalmia, exencephaly, and cleft palate were observed at 6.0 mg/m2. Increased incidence of foredigit defects was seen in fetuses at doses greater than 3.6 mg/m2. Reduced size and ossification of long bones of the fore-limb and hind-limb were noted at 6.0 mg/m2. 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 be advised to avoid becoming pregnant while taking Dacogen.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether decitabine or its metabolites are excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions from Dacogen in nursing infants, 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.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of Dacogen in pediatric patients have not been established.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Of the total number of patients exposed to Dacogen in the controlled clinical trial, 61 of 83 patients were age 65 and over, while 21 of 83 patients were age 75 and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

8.6 Renal Impairment

There are no data on the use of Dacogen in patients with renal dysfunction; therefore, Dacogen should be used with caution in these patients.

8.7 Hepatic Impairment

There are no data on the use of Dacogen in patients with hepatic dysfunction; therefore, Dacogen should be used with caution in these patients.


There is no known antidote for overdosage with Dacogen. Higher doses are associated with increased myelosuppression including prolonged neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. Standard supportive measures should be taken in the event of an overdose.


Dacogen (decitabine) for Injection contains decitabine (5-aza-2’-deoxycitidine), an analogue of the natural nucleoside 2’-deoxycytidine. Decitabine is a fine, white to almost white powder with the molecular formula of C8 H12 N4 O4 and a molecular weight of 228.21. Its chemical name is 4-amino-1-(2-deoxy-β-D-erythro-pentofuranosyl)-1,3,5-triazin-2(1H)-one and it has the following structural formula:

Dacogen structural formula

Decitabine is slightly soluble in ethanol/water (50/50), methanol/water (50/50) and methanol; sparingly soluble in water and soluble in dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO).

Dacogen (decitabine) for Injection is a white to almost white sterile lyophilized powder supplied in a clear colorless glass vial. Each 20 mL, single dose, glass vial contains 50 mg decitabine, 68 mg monobasic potassium phosphate (potassium dihydrogen phosphate) and 11.6 mg sodium hydroxide.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Decitabine is believed to exert its antineoplastic effects after phosphorylation and direct incorporation into DNA and inhibition of DNA methyltransferase, causing hypomethylation of DNA and cellular differentiation or apoptosis. Decitabine inhibits DNA methylation in vitro, which is achieved at concentrations that do not cause major suppression of DNA synthesis. Decitabine-induced hypomethylation in neoplastic cells may restore normal function to genes that are critical forthe control of cellulardifferentiation and proliferation. In rapidly dividing cells, the cytotoxicity of decitabine may also be attributed to the formation of covalent adducts between DNA methyltransferase and decitabine incorporated into DNA. Non-proliferating cells are relatively insensitive to decitabine.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Decitabine has been shown to induce hypomethylation both in vitro and in vivo. However, there have been no studies of decitabine-induced hypomethylation and pharmacokinetic parameters.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Pharmacokinetic parameters were evaluated in patients. Eleven patients received 20 mg/m2 infused over 1 hour intravenously (treatment Option 2), Fourteen patients received 15 mg/m2 infused over 3 hours (treatment Option 1). PK parameters are shown in Table 3. Plasma concentration-time profiles after discontinuation of infusion showed a biexponential decline. The CL of decitabine was higher following treatment Option 2. Upon repeat doses there was no systemic accumulation of decitabine or any changes in PK parameters. Population PK analysis (N=35) showed that the cumulative AUC per cycle for treatment Option 2 was 2.3-fold lower than the cumulative AUC per cycle following treatment Option 1.

Table 3 Mean (CV% or 95% CI) Pharmacokinetic Parameters of Decitabine
Dose Cmax (ng/mL) AUC0-∞ (ng·h/mL) T1/2 (h) CL(L/h/m2) AUCCumulative ***(ng·h/mL)
*N=14, **N=11, ***N=35 Cumulative AUC per cycle
15 mg/m2 3-hr infusion every 8 hours for 3 days (Option 1)* 73.8(66) 163(62) 0.62(49) 125(53) 1332(1010-1730)
20 mg/m2 1-hr infusion daily for 5 days (Option 2)** 147(49) 115(43) 0.54(43) 210(47) 570(470-700)

The exact route of elimination and metabolic fate of decitabine is not known in humans. One of the pathways of elimination of decitabine appears to be deamination by cytidine deaminase found principally in the liver but also in granulocytes, intestinal epithelium and whole blood.

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