DOXEPIN HYDROCHLORIDE — doxepin hydrochloride capsule
Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc. d/b/a Avet Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs
Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of doxepin hydrochloride or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Doxepin hydrochloride is not approved for use in pediatric patients. (See WARNINGS: Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk, PRECAUTIONS: Information for Patients and PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use.)
Doxepin hydrochloride is one of a class of psychotherapeutic agents known as dibenzoxepin tricyclic compounds. The molecular formula of the compound is C19 H21 NO • HCl having a molecular weight of 315.84. It is a white or almost white crystalline powder freely soluble in water, in alcohol and in methylene chloride. It may be represented by the following structural formula:
Chemically, doxepin hydrochloride is a dibenzoxepin derivative and is the first of a family of tricyclic psychotherapeutic agents. Specifically, it is an isomeric mixture of 1-Propanamine, 3- dibenz[b,e ]oxepin-11(6H)ylidene-N,N -dimethyl-hydrochloride.
Each 10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg and 100 mg of doxepin hydrochloride capsule, USP for oral administration contains doxepin hydrochloride, USP equivalent to 10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg and 100 mg of doxepin, respectively and the following inactive ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, pregelatinized starch (corn) and sodium lauryl sulfate. The empty gelatin capsule shells contain gelatin, sodium lauryl sulfate and titanium dioxide. In addition, the 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg empty gelatin capsule shells contain D&C Yellow No. 10. The 25 mg, 50 mg empty gelatin capsule shells contain FD&C Yellow No. 6. The 75 mg and 100 mg empty gelatin capsule shells contain FD&C Green No. 3. The 10 mg empty gelatin capsule shells contain Iron Oxide Yellow. The imprint ink contains black iron oxide, potassium hydroxide, propylene glycol and shellac.
The mechanism of action of doxepin hydrochloride is not definitely known. It is not a central nervous system stimulant nor a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. The current hypothesis is that the clinical effects are due, at least in part, to influences on the adrenergic activity at the synapses so that deactivation of norepinephrine by reuptake into the nerve terminals is prevented. Animal studies suggest that doxepin hydrochloride does not appreciably antagonize the antihypertensive action of guanethidine. In animal studies anticholinergic, antiserotonin and antihistamine effects on smooth muscle have been demonstrated. At higher than usual clinical doses norepinephrine response was potentiated in animals. This effect was not demonstrated in humans.
At clinical dosages up to 150 mg per day, doxepin hydrochloride can be given to man concomitantly with guanethidine and related compounds without blocking the antihypertensive effect. At dosages above 150 mg per day blocking of the antihypertensive effect of these compounds has been reported.
Doxepin hydrochloride is virtually devoid of euphoria as a side effect. Characteristic of this type of compound, doxepin hydrochloride has not been demonstrated to produce the physical tolerance or psychological dependence associated with addictive compounds.
Doxepin hydrochloride capsules are recommended for the treatment of:
- Psychoneurotic patients with depression and/or anxiety.
- Depression and/or anxiety associated with alcoholism (not to be taken concomitantly with alcohol).
- Depression and/or anxiety associated with organic disease (the possibility of drug interaction should be considered if the patient is receiving other drugs concomitantly).
- Psychotic depressive disorders with associated anxiety including involutional depression and manic-depressive disorders.
The target symptoms of psychoneurosis that respond particularly well to doxepin hydrochloride capsules include anxiety, tension, depression, somatic symptoms and concerns, sleep disturbances, guilt, lack of energy, fear, apprehension and worry.
Clinical experience has shown that doxepin hydrochloride capsules are safe and well tolerated even in the elderly patient. Owing to lack of clinical experience in the pediatric population, doxepin hydrochloride capsules are not recommended for use in children under 12 years of age.
Doxepin hydrochloride capsules are contraindicated in individuals who have shown hypersensitivity to the drug. Possibility of cross sensitivity with other dibenzoxepines should be kept in mind.
Doxepin hydrochloride capsules are contraindicated in patients with glaucoma or a tendency to urinary retention. These disorders should be ruled out, particularly in older patients.
Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment. Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18 to 24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.
The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of nine antidepressant drugs in over 4,400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk differences (drug vs. placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1,000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1.
No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.
It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.
All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.
The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.
Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.
Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for doxepin hydrochloride should be writtenfor the smallest quantity of capsules consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.
Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder
A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown.
However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression. It should be noted that doxepin hydrochloride is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression.
The pupillary dilation that occurs following use of many antidepressant drugs including doxepin hydrochloride may trigger an angle closure attack in a patient with anatomically narrow angles who does not have a patent iridectomy.
The use of doxepin hydrochloride on a once a day dosage regimen in geriatric patients should be adjusted carefully based on the patient’s condition (see PRECAUTIONS: Geriatric Use).
Reproduction studies have been performed in rats, rabbits, monkeys and dogs and there was no evidence of harm to the animal fetus. The relevance to humans is not known. Since there is no experience in pregnant women who have received this drug, safety in pregnancy has not been established. There has been a report of apnea and drowsiness occurring in a nursing infant whose mother was taking doxepin hydrochloride.
The use of doxepin hydrochloride in children under 12 years of age is not recommended because safe conditions for its use have not been established.
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