Focalin

FOCALIN- dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride tablet
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

WARNING: ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE

CNS stimulants, including Focalin, other methylphenidate-containing products, and amphetamines, have a high potential for abuse and dependence. Assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing, and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while on therapy [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.2, 9.3)].

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Focalin is indicated for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) [see Clinical Studies (14)].

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 Pretreatment Screening

Prior to treating pediatric patients and adults with central nervous system (CNS) stimulants, including Focalin, assess for the presence of cardiac disease (i.e., perform a careful history, family history of sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia, and physical exam) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

Assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing, and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while on therapy. Maintain careful prescription records, educate patients about abuse, monitor for signs of abuse and overdose, and periodically reevaluate the need for Focalin use [see Boxed Warning, Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.2, 9.3)].

2.2 Pediatric Patients With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Patients New to Methylphenidate

The recommended starting dose of Focalin for pediatric patients who are not currently taking racemic methylphenidate, or for patients who are on stimulants other than methylphenidate, is 5 mg daily (2.5 mg twice daily) with or without food.

Patients Currently on Methylphenidate

The recommended starting dose of Focalin for pediatric patients currently using methylphenidate is half (1/2) the total daily dose of racemic methylphenidate.

Titration Schedule

The dose may be titrated weekly in increments of 2.5 to 5 mg to a maximum of 20 mg daily (10 mg twice daily). The dose should be individualized according to the needs and response of the patient.

Maintenance/Extended Treatment

Pharmacological treatment of ADHD may be needed for extended periods. Periodically reevaluate the long-term use of Focalin and adjust dosage as needed.

2.3 Administration Instructions

Focalin is administered orally twice daily, at least 4 hours apart.

2.4 Dose Reduction and Discontinuation

If paradoxical aggravation of symptoms or other adverse reactions occur, reduce the dosage, or if necessary, discontinue Focalin. If improvement is not observed after appropriate dosage adjustment over a one-month period, the drug should be discontinued.

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

Focalin (dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride) tablets are D-shaped, embossed “D” on upper convex face and dosage strength on lower convex face in the following colors:

  • 2.5 mg tablets – blue
  • 5 mg tablets – yellow
  • 10 mg tablets – white

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Hypersensitivity to methylphenidate or other components of Focalin. Hypersensitivity reactions, such as angioedema and anaphylactic reactions have been reported in patients treated with methylphenidate [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].
  • Concomitant treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or within 14 days following discontinuation of treatment with an MAOI, because of the risk of hypertensive crises [see Drug Interactions (7.1)].

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Potential for Abuse and Dependence

CNS stimulants, including Focalin, other methylphenidate-containing products, and amphetamines, have a high potential for abuse and dependence. Assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing, and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while on therapy [see Boxed Warning, Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.2, 9.3)].

5.2 Serious Cardiovascular Reactions

Sudden death, stroke, and myocardial infarction have been reported in adults with CNS stimulant treatment at recommended doses. Sudden death has been reported in pediatric patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems taking CNS stimulants at recommended doses for ADHD. Avoid use in patients with known serious structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, coronary artery disease, and other serious heart problems. Further evaluate patients who develop exertional chest pain, unexplained syncope, or arrhythmias during Focalin treatment.

5.3 Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Increases

CNS stimulants cause an increase in blood pressure (mean increase approximately 2 to 4 mmHg) and heart rate (mean increase approximately 3 to 6 beats per minute). Individuals may have larger increases. Monitor all patients for hypertension and tachycardia.

5.4 Psychiatric Adverse Reactions

Exacerbation of Preexisting Psychosis

CNS stimulants may exacerbate symptoms of behavior disturbance and thought disorder in patients with a preexisting psychotic disorder.

Induction of a Manic Episode in Patients With Bipolar Disorder

CNS stimulants may induce a manic or mixed mood episode in patients. Prior to initiating treatment, screen patients for risk factors for developing a manic episode (e.g., comorbid or history of depressive symptoms or a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, or depression).

New Psychotic or Manic Symptoms

CNS stimulants, at recommended doses, may cause psychotic or manic symptoms (e.g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania) in patients without a prior history of psychotic illness or mania. If such symptoms occur, consider discontinuing Focalin. In a pooled analysis of multiple short-term, placebo-controlled studies of CNS stimulants, psychotic, or manic symptoms occurred in approximately 0.1% of CNS stimulant-treated patients, compared to 0 in placebo-treated patients.

5.5 Priapism

Prolonged and painful erections, sometimes requiring surgical intervention, have been reported with methylphenidate products in both pediatric and adult patients. Priapism was not reported with drug initiation but developed after some time on the drug, often subsequent to an increase in dose. Priapism has also appeared during a period of drug withdrawal (drug holidays or during discontinuation). Patients who develop abnormally sustained or frequent and painful erections should seek immediate medical attention.

5.6 Peripheral Vasculopathy, Including Raynaud’s Phenomenon

CNS stimulants, including Focalin, used to treat ADHD are associated with peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Signs and symptoms are usually intermittent and mild; however, very rare sequelae include digital ulceration and/or soft tissue breakdown. Effects of peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon, were observed in post-marketing reports at different times and at therapeutic doses in all age groups throughout the course of treatment. Signs and symptoms generally improve after reduction in dose or discontinuation of drug. Careful observation for digital changes is necessary during treatment with ADHD stimulants. Further clinical evaluation (e.g., rheumatology referral) may be appropriate for certain patients.

5.7 Long-Term Suppression of Growth

CNS stimulants have been associated with weight loss and slowing of growth rate in pediatric patients.

Careful follow-up of weight and height in patients ages 7 to 10 years who were randomized to either methylphenidate or non-medication treatment groups over 14 months, as well as in naturalistic subgroups of newly methylphenidate-treated and non-medication treated patients over 36 months (to the ages of 10 to 13 years), suggests that consistently medicated pediatric patients (i.e., treatment for 7 days per week throughout the year) have a temporary slowing in growth rate (on average, a total of about 2 cm less growth in height and 2.7 kg less growth in weight over 3 years), without evidence of growth rebound during this period of development.

Closely monitor growth (weight and height) in pediatric patients treated with CNS stimulants, including Focalin, and patients who are not growing or gaining height or weight as expected may need to have their treatment interrupted.

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