A high incidence of fatal pulmonary toxicity was observed in a clinical investigation using fludarabine phosphate in combination with pentostatin (deoxycoformycin) for the treatment of refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in adults. Therefore, the use of fludarabine phosphate in combination with pentostatin is not recommended.
Of 133 adult patients with CLL who received intravenous fludarabine phosphate in two clinical trials, there were 29 fatalities during study. Approximately 50% of the fatalities were due to infection and 25% due to progressive disease. Of 183 adult patients with CLL that received oral fludarabine phosphate in two clinical trials, there were 13 deaths. Approximately 50% of the deaths were due to progressive disease, while two patient deaths (15%) were attributed to infection. Monitor for signs and symptoms of infection.
Tumor lysis syndrome associated with fludarabine phosphate treatment has been reported in patients with CLL with large tumor burdens. Since fludarabine phosphate can induce a response as early as the first week of treatment, precautions should be taken in those patients at risk of developing this complication.
Transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease has been observed rarely after transfusion of non-irradiated blood in fludarabine phosphate treated patients. Consideration should, therefore, be given to the use of irradiated blood products in those patients requiring transfusions while undergoing treatment with fludarabine phosphate.
Fludarabine phosphate must be administered cautiously in patients with renal impairment. Following dosing of the intravenous product, the total body clearance of 2-fluoro-ara-A has been shown to be directly correlated with creatinine clearance. Patients with mild to moderate impairment of renal function (creatinine clearance 30 to 70 mL/min/1.73 m2) should have their oral fludarabine phosphate dose reduced by 20% and be monitored closely. Patients with severe impairment of renal function (creatinine clearance < 30 mL/min/1.73 m2) should have their oral fludarabine phosphate dose reduced by 50% and be monitored closely.
Hematologic and Nonhematologic Toxicity
Fludarabine phosphate is an antineoplastic agent with potentially significant toxic side effects. Patients undergoing therapy should be closely observed for signs of hematologic and nonhematologic toxicity. Periodic assessment of peripheral blood counts is recommended to detect the development of anemia, neutropenia and thrombocytopenia.
During treatment, the patient’s hematologic profile (particularly neutrophils and platelets) should be monitored regularly to determine the degree of hematopoietic suppression.
Patients treated with fludarabine phosphate appear to be at an increased risk of infection. Monitor for signs and symptoms of infection.
Based on its mechanism of action, fludarabine phosphate can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Fludarabine phosphate administered to rats and rabbits during organogenesis caused an increase in resorptions, skeletal and visceral malformation, and decreased fetal body weights. If fludarabine phosphate 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 childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant. Women of childbearing potential and fertile males must take contraceptive measures during and at least for 6 months after the cessation of therapy.
[see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
The data described below reflect exposure to fludarabine phosphate tablets in 159 patients exposed to the drug. Fludarabine phosphate tablets were studied primarily in Study 1 in 78 patients with CLL who received prior therapy and in Study 2 in 81 patients with CLL who had not received prior therapy.
Based on experience with the intravenous and oral use of fludarabine phosphate, the most common adverse reactions include myelosuppression (neutropenia, thrombocytopenia and anemia), fever and chills, infection, and nausea and vomiting. Other commonly reported events include malaise, fatigue, anorexia, and weakness. Serious opportunistic infections have occurred in patients with CLL treated with fludarabine phosphate. The most frequently reported adverse reactions and those reactions which are more clearly related to the drug, as reported in clinical studies conducted with intravenous and oral fludarabine phosphate, are arranged below according to body system.
Hematologic events (neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and/or anemia) were reported in the majority of patients with CLL treated with fludarabine phosphate. During intravenous fludarabine phosphate treatment of 133 patients with CLL, the absolute neutrophil count decreased to less than 500/mm3 in 59% of patients, hemoglobin decreased from pretreatment values by at least 2 grams percent in 60%, and platelet count decreased from pretreatment values by at least 50% in 55%. Among 78 patients with B-CLL who were treated with oral fludarabine phosphate, the absolute neutrophil count decreased to less than 500/mm3 in 37% of patients, hemoglobin decreased from pretreatment values by at least 2 grams percent in 14%, and platelet count decreased from pretreatment values by at least 50% in 17% of patients. Myelosuppression may be severe, cumulative, and may affect multiple cell lines. Bone marrow fibrosis occurred in one CLL patient treated with fludarabine phosphate intravenously. In the pivotal oral fludarabine phosphate study (Study 1), there was one report of a non-fatal case of pancytopenia. Similarly, there was one case of non-fatal pancytopenia reported among the 133 patients with CLL treated with intravenous fludarabine phosphate.
Life-threatening and sometimes fatal autoimmune hemolytic anemias have been reported to occur in patients receiving fludarabine phosphate. [See Warnings and Precautions (5.2)] The majority of patients rechallenged with fludarabine phosphate developed a recurrence in the hemolytic process.
Tumor lysis syndrome has been reported in patients with CLL treated with fludarabine phosphate for injection. This complication may include hyperuricemia, hyperphosphatemia, hypocalcemia, metabolic acidosis, hyperkalemia, hematuria, urate crystalluria, and renal failure. The onset of this syndrome may be heralded by flank pain and hematuria.
Objective weakness, agitation, confusion, visual disturbances, and coma have occurred in patients with CLL treated with fludarabine phosphate at the recommended dose. Peripheral neuropathy and one case of wrist-drop have been observed with intravenous administration of fludarabine phosphate. In Study 1 for oral fludarabine phosphate, there was one report of severe impairment of consciousness that presented concurrent with hemolytic anemia. This patient had enrolled in the study with pre-existing peripheral neurotoxicity. [See Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]
Pneumonia, a frequent manifestation of infection in patients with CLL, was observed in two clinical trials conducted with intravenous fludarabine phosphate (16% and 22%) and in two clinical trials with oral fludarabine phosphate (8% and 3%). Pulmonary hypersensitivity reactions to fludarabine phosphate characterized by dyspnea, cough and interstitial pulmonary infiltrate have been observed. In Study 1 conducted with oral fludarabine phosphate, severe pulmonary toxicity was reported in 5 of 78 patients, often in conjunction with respiratory or pulmonary infections and hence not regarded as isolated drug related pulmonary toxicity.
Gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea and vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, stomatitis and gastrointestinal bleeding have been reported in patients treated with fludarabine phosphate. Nausea and vomiting occurred in up to 38% of patients following treatment with oral fludarabine phosphate in the clinical trials.
Edema has been frequently reported. One patient developed a pericardial effusion possibly related to treatment with fludarabine phosphate. No other severe cardiovascular events were considered to be drug related.
Hemorrhagic cystitis has been reported in patients treated intravenously with fludarabine phosphate.
Skin toxicity, consisting primarily of skin rashes, has been reported in patients treated with oral and intravenous fludarabine phosphate.
Data in Table 2 are derived from the 159 patients with CLL who received fludarabine phosphate in Study 1 and Study 2.
|ADVERSE REACTIONS||Study 1 |
|Study 2 |
|ANY ADVERSE REACTION||82||89|
|BODY AS A WHOLE||59||77|
|UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTION||9||14|
|METABOLIC AND NUTRITIONAL||3||31|
|LACTIC DEHYDROGENASE INCREASED||0||6|
|URINARY TRACT INFECTION||4||5|
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