The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome has been reported with SNRIs and SSRIs, including fluoxetine, alone but particularly with concomitant use of other serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, amphetamines, and St. John’s Wort) and with drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin (in particular, MAOIs, both those intended to treat psychiatric disorders and also others, such as linezolid and intravenous methylene blue).
Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia), neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination), seizures, and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome.
The concomitant use of fluoxetine with MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders is contraindicated. Fluoxetine should also not be started in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. All reports with methylene blue that provided information on the route of administration involved intravenous administration in the dose range of 1 mg/kg to 8 mg/kg. No reports involved the administration of methylene blue by other routes (such as oral tablets or local tissue injection) or at lower doses. There may be circumstances when it is necessary to initiate treatment with an MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue in a patient taking fluoxetine. Fluoxetine should be discontinued before initiating treatment with the MAOI [see Contraindications (4.1) and Dosage and Administration (2.9, 2.10)].
If concomitant use of fluoxetine with other serotonergic drugs, i.e., triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, buspirone, tryptophan, amphetamines, and St. John’s Wort is clinically warranted, patients should be made aware of a potential increased risk for serotonin syndrome, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases.
Treatment with fluoxetine and any concomitant serotonergic agents, should be discontinued immediately if the above events occur and supportive symptomatic treatment should be initiated.
In US fluoxetine clinical trials, 7% of 10,782 patients developed various types of rashes and/or urticaria. Among the cases of rash and/or urticaria reported in premarketing clinical trials, almost a third were withdrawn from treatment because of the rash and/or systemic signs or symptoms associated with the rash. Clinical findings reported in association with rash include fever, leukocytosis, arthralgias, edema, carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory distress, lymphadenopathy, proteinuria, and mild transaminase elevation. Most patients improved promptly with discontinuation of fluoxetine and/or adjunctive treatment with antihistamines or steroids, and all patients experiencing these reactions were reported to recover completely.
In premarketing clinical trials, 2 patients are known to have developed a serious cutaneous systemic illness. In neither patient was there an unequivocal diagnosis, but one was considered to have a leukocytoclastic vasculitis, and the other, a severe desquamating syndrome that was considered variously to be a vasculitis or erythema multiforme. Other patients have had systemic syndromes suggestive of serum sickness.
Since the introduction of fluoxetine, systemic reactions, possibly related to vasculitis and including lupus-like syndrome, have developed in patients with rash. Although these reactions are rare, they may be serious, involving the lung, kidney, or liver. Death has been reported to occur in association with these systemic reactions.
Anaphylactoid reactions, including bronchospasm, angioedema, laryngospasm, and urticaria alone and in combination, have been reported.
Pulmonary reactions, including inflammatory processes of varying histopathology and/or fibrosis, have been reported rarely. These reactions have occurred with dyspnea as the only preceding symptom.
Whether these systemic reactions and rash have a common underlying cause or are due to different etiologies or pathogenic processes is not known. Furthermore, a specific underlying immunologic basis for these reactions has not been identified. Upon the appearance of rash or of other possibly allergic phenomena for which an alternative etiology cannot be identified, fluoxetine should be discontinued.
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 for clinical worsening and suicide risk 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 fluoxetine and olanzapine in combination is approved for the acute treatment of depressive episodes associated with Bipolar I Disorder [see Warnings and Precautions section of the package insert for Symbyax]. Fluoxetine monotherapy is not indicated for the treatment of depressive episodes associated with Bipolar I Disorder.
In US placebo-controlled clinical trials for Major Depressive Disorder, mania/hypomania was reported in 0.1% of patients treated with fluoxetine and 0.1% of patients treated with placebo. Activation of mania/hypomania has also been reported in a small proportion of patients with Major Affective Disorder treated with other marketed drugs effective in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].
In US placebo-controlled clinical trials for OCD, mania/hypomania was reported in 0.8% of patients treated with fluoxetine and no patients treated with placebo. No patients reported mania/hypomania in US placebo-controlled clinical trials for bulimia. In US fluoxetine clinical trials, 0.7% of 10,782 patients reported mania/hypomania [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].
In US placebo-controlled clinical trials for Major Depressive Disorder, convulsions (or reactions described as possibly having been seizures) were reported in 0.1% of patients treated with fluoxetine and 0.2% of patients treated with placebo. No patients reported convulsions in US placebo-controlled clinical trials for either OCD or bulimia. In US fluoxetine clinical trials, 0.2% of 10,782 patients reported convulsions. The percentage appears to be similar to that associated with other marketed drugs effective in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. Fluoxetine should be introduced with care in patients with a history of seizures.
Significant weight loss, especially in underweight depressed or bulimic patients, may be an undesirable result of treatment with fluoxetine.
In US placebo-controlled clinical trials for Major Depressive Disorder, 11% of patients treated with fluoxetine and 2% of patients treated with placebo reported anorexia (decreased appetite). Weight loss was reported in 1.4% of patients treated with fluoxetine and in 0.5% of patients treated with placebo. However, only rarely have patients discontinued treatment with fluoxetine because of anorexia or weight loss [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].
In US placebo-controlled clinical trials for OCD, 17% of patients treated with fluoxetine and 10% of patients treated with placebo reported anorexia (decreased appetite). One patient discontinued treatment with fluoxetine because of anorexia [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].
In US placebo-controlled clinical trials for Bulimia Nervosa, 8% of patients treated with fluoxetine 60 mg and 4% of patients treated with placebo reported anorexia (decreased appetite). Patients treated with fluoxetine 60 mg on average lost 0.45 kg compared with a gain of 0.16 kg by patients treated with placebo in the 16-week double-blind trial. Weight change should be monitored during therapy.
SNRIs and SSRIs, including fluoxetine, may increase the risk of bleeding reactions. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anti-coagulants may add to this risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Bleeding reactions related to SNRIs and SSRIs use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages.
Patients should be cautioned about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of fluoxetine and NSAIDs, aspirin, warfarin, or other drugs that affect coagulation [see Drug Interactions (7.4)].
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