Gablofen (Page 3 of 6)

5.5 Withdrawal

Abrupt withdrawal of intrathecal baclofen, regardless of the cause, has resulted in sequelae that included high fever, altered mental status, exaggerated rebound spasticity and muscle rigidity that in rare cases progressed to rhabdomyolysis, multiple organ-system failure, and death. In the first 9 years of post-marketing experience, 27 cases of withdrawal temporally related to the cessation of baclofen therapy were reported; six patients died. In most cases, symptoms of withdrawal appeared within hours to a few days following interruption of baclofen therapy. Common reasons for abrupt interruption of intrathecal baclofen therapy included malfunction of the catheter (especially disconnection), low volume in the pump reservoir, and end of pump battery life; human error may have played a causal or contributing role in some cases. Cases of intrathecal mass at the tip of the implanted catheter leading to withdrawal symptoms have also been reported, most of them involving pharmacy compounded analgesic admixtures [see Warnings and Precautions (5.10)].

Prevention of abrupt discontinuation of intrathecal baclofen requires careful attention to programming and monitoring of the infusion system, refill scheduling and procedures, and pump alarms. Patients and caregivers should be advised of the importance of keeping scheduled refill visits and should be educated on the early symptoms of baclofen withdrawal.

All patients receiving intrathecal baclofen therapy are potentially at risk for withdrawal. Early symptoms of baclofen withdrawal may include return of baseline spasticity, pruritus, hypotension, and paresthesias. Some clinical characteristics of the advanced intrathecal baclofen withdrawal syndrome may resemble autonomic dysreflexia, infection (sepsis), malignant hyperthermia, neuroleptic-malignant syndrome, or other conditions associated with a hypermetabolic state or widespread rhabdomyolysis.

Rapid, accurate diagnosis and treatment in an emergency-room or intensive-care setting are important in order to prevent the potentially life-threatening central nervous system and systemic effects of intrathecal baclofen withdrawal. The suggested treatment for intrathecal baclofen withdrawal is the restoration of intrathecal baclofen at or near the same dosage as before therapy was interrupted. However, if restoration of intrathecal delivery is delayed, treatment with GABA-ergic agonist drugs such as oral or enteral baclofen, or oral, enteral, or intravenous benzodiazepines may prevent potentially fatal sequelae. Oral or enteral baclofen alone should not be relied upon to halt the progression of intrathecal baclofen withdrawal.

Seizures have been reported during overdose and with withdrawal from intrathecal baclofen as well as in patients maintained on therapeutic doses of intrathecal baclofen.

5.6 Possible Exacerbation of Psychotic Disorders, Schizophrenia, or Confusional States

Patients suffering from psychotic disorders, schizophrenia, or confusional states should be treated cautiously with GABLOFEN and kept under careful surveillance, because exacerbations of these conditions have been observed with oral administration.

5.7 Fatalities

Spasticity of Spinal Cord Origin

There were 16 deaths reported among the 576 U.S. patients treated with intrathecal baclofen in pre- and post-marketing studies evaluated as of December 1992. Because these patients were treated under uncontrolled clinical settings, it is impossible to determine definitively what role, if any, intrathecal baclofen played in their deaths. As a group, the patients who died were relatively young (mean age was 47 with a range from 25 to 63), but the majority suffered from severe spasticity of many years duration, were nonambulatory, had various medical complications such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and decubiti, and/or had received multiple concomitant medications. A case-by-case review of the clinical course of the 16 patients who died failed to reveal any unique signs, symptoms, or laboratory results that would suggest that treatment with intrathecal baclofen caused their deaths. Two patients, however, did suffer sudden and unexpected death within 2 weeks of pump implantation and one patient died unexpectedly after screening.

One patient, a 44 year-old male with Multiple Sclerosis, died in hospital on the second day following pump implantation. An autopsy demonstrated severe fibrosis of the coronary conduction system. A second patient, a 52 year-old woman with MS and a history of an inferior wall myocardial infarction, was found dead in bed 12 days after pump implantation, 2 hours after having had documented normal vital signs. An autopsy revealed pulmonary congestion and bilateral pleural effusions. It is impossible to determine whether intrathecal baclofen contributed to these deaths. The third patient underwent three baclofen screening trials. His medical history included spinal cord injury, aspiration pneumonia, septic shock, disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, severe metabolic acidosis, hepatic toxicity, and status epilepticus. Twelve days after screening (he was not implanted), he again experienced status epilepticus with subsequent significant neurological deterioration. Based upon prior instruction, extraordinary resuscitative measures were not pursued and the patient died.

Spasticity of Cerebral Origin

There were three deaths occurring among the 211 patients treated with intrathecal baclofen in pre-marketing studies as of March 1996. These deaths were not attributed to the therapy.

5.8 Use with Caution in Patients with a History of Autonomic Dysreflexia

GABLOFEN should be used with caution in patients with a history of autonomic dysreflexia. The presence of nociceptive stimuli or abrupt withdrawal of GABLOFEN may cause an autonomic dysreflexic episode.

5.9 Infections

Patients should be infection-free prior to the screening trial with GABLOFEN because the presence of a systemic infection may interfere with an assessment of the patient’s response to bolus GABLOFEN. Patients should be infection-free prior to implantation of the pump because the presence of infection may increase the risk of surgical complications. Moreover, a systemic infection may complicate dosing.

5.10 Drowsiness

Drowsiness has been reported in patients on intrathecal baclofen. Patients should be cautioned regarding the operation of automobiles or other dangerous machinery, and activities made hazardous by decreased alertness. Patients should also be cautioned that the central nervous system depressant effects of intrathecal baclofen may be additive to those of alcohol and other CNS depressants.

5.11 Intrathecal Mass Formation

Cases of intrathecal mass at the tip of the implanted catheter have been reported, most of them involving pharmacy compounded analgesic admixtures. The most frequent symptoms associated with intrathecal mass are: 1) decreased therapeutic response (worsening spasticity, return of spasticity when previously well controlled, withdrawal symptoms, poor response to escalating doses, or frequent or large dosage increases), 2) pain, 3) neurological deficit/dysfunction. Clinicians should monitor patients on intraspinal therapy carefully for any new neurological signs or symptoms. In patients with new neurological signs or symptoms suggestive of an intrathecal mass, consider a neurosurgical consultation, since many of the symptoms of inflammatory mass are not unlike the symptoms experienced by patients with severe spasticity from their disease. In some cases, performance of an imaging procedure may be appropriate to confirm or rule-out the diagnosis of an intrathecal mass.

5.12 Ovarian Cysts

A dose-related increase in incidence of ovarian cysts was observed in female rats treated chronically with oral baclofen. Ovarian cysts have been found by palpation in about 4% of the multiple sclerosis patients who were treated with oral baclofen for up to one year. In most cases these cysts disappeared spontaneously while patients continued to receive the drug. Ovarian cysts are estimated to occur spontaneously in approximately 1% to 5% of the normal female population.

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

6.1 Spasticity of Spinal Cord Origin

Most Common Adverse Reactions in Patients with Spasticity of Spinal Origin

In pre- and post-marketing clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions associated with use of intrathecal baclofen which were not seen at an equivalent incidence among placebo-treated patients were: somnolence, dizziness, nausea, hypotension, headache, convulsions and hypotonia.

Adverse Reactions Associated with Discontinuation of Treatment

8/474 patients with spasticity of spinal cord origin receiving long term infusion of intrathecal baclofen in pre- and post-marketing clinical studies in the U.S. discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions. These include: pump pocket infections (3), meningitis (2), wound dehiscence (1), gynecological fibroids (1) and pump overpressurization (1) with unknown, if any, sequela. Eleven patients who developed coma secondary to overdose had their treatment temporarily suspended, but all were subsequently re-started and were not, therefore, considered to be true discontinuations.

Fatalities — [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].

Incidence in Controlled Trials

Experience with intrathecal baclofen obtained in parallel, placebo-controlled, randomized studies provides only a limited basis for estimating the incidence of adverse reactions because the studies were of very brief duration (up to three days of infusion) and involved only a total of 63 patients. The following events occurred among the 31 patients receiving intrathecal baclofen in two randomized, placebo-controlled trials: hypotension (2), dizziness (2), headache (2), dyspnea (1). No adverse reactions were reported among the 32 patients receiving placebo in these studies.

Events Observed during the Pre- and Post-marketing Evaluation of Intrathecal Baclofen

Adverse events associated with the use of intrathecal baclofen reflect experience gained with 576 patients followed prospectively in the United States. They received intrathecal baclofen for periods of one day (screening) (N=576) to over eight years (maintenance) (N=10). The usual screening bolus dose administered prior to pump implantation in these studies was typically 50 mcg. The maintenance dose ranged from 12 mcg to 2,003 mcg per day. Because of the open, uncontrolled nature of the experience, a causal linkage between events observed and the administration of intrathecal baclofen cannot be reliably assessed in many cases and many of the adverse reactions reported are known to occur in association with the underlying conditions being treated. Nonetheless, many of the more commonly reported reactions — hypotonia, somnolence, dizziness, paresthesia, nausea/vomiting and headache — appear clearly drug-related.

Adverse experiences reported during all U.S. studies (both controlled and uncontrolled) are shown in Table 1. Eight of 474 patients who received chronic infusion via implanted pumps had adverse experiences which led to a discontinuation of long term treatment in the pre- and post-marketing studies.

Table 1: Most Common (≥1%) Adverse Reactions in Patients with Spasticity of Spinal Origin in Prospectively Monitored Clinical Trials

Adverse Reaction

Percent N=576 Screening*

Percent N=474 Titration

Percent N=430 Maintenance

Hypotonia

5.4

13.5

25.3

Somnolence

5.7

5.9

20.9

Dizziness

1.7

1.9

7.9

Paresthesia

2.4

2.1

6.7

Nausea and Vomiting

1.6

2.3

5.6

Headache

1.6

2.5

5.1

Constipation

0.2

1.5

5.1

Convulsion

0.5

1.3

4.7

Urinary Retention

0.7

1.7

1.9

Dry Mouth

0.2

0.4

3.3

Accidental Injury

0.0

0.2

3.5

Asthenia

0.7

1.3

1.4

Confusion

0.5

0.6

2.3

Death

0.2

0.4

3.0

Pain

0.0

0.6

3.0

Speech Disorder

0.0

0.2

3.5

Hypotension

1.0

0.2

1.9

Ambylopia

0.5

0.2

2.3

Diarrhea

0.0

0.8

2.3

Hypoventilation

0.2

0.8

2.1

Coma

0.0

1.5

0.9

Impotence

0.2

0.4

1.6

Peripheral Edema

0.0

0.0

2.3

Urinary Incontinence

0.0

0.8

1.4

Insomnia

0.0

0.4

1.6

Anxiety

0.2

0.4

0.9

Depression

0.0

0.0

1.6

Dyspnea

0.3

0.0

1.2

Fever

0.5

0.2

0.7

Pneumonia

0.2

0.2

1.2

Urinary Frequency

0.0

0.6

0.9

Urticaria

0.2

0.2

1.2

Anorexia

0.0

0.4

0.9

Diplopia

0.0

0.4

0.9

Dysautonomia

0.2

0.2

0.9

Hallucinations

0.3

0.4

0.5

Hypertension

0.2

0.6

0.5

* Following administration of test bolus
Two month period following implant
Beyond two months following implant
N=Total number of patients entering each period
%=% of patients evaluated

In addition to the more common (1% or more) adverse reactions reported in the prospectively followed 576 domestic patients in pre- and post-marketing studies, experience from an additional 194 patients exposed to intrathecal baclofen from foreign studies has been reported. The following adverse reactions, not described in the table, and arranged in decreasing order of frequency, and classified by body system, were reported:

Nervous System: Abnormal gait, thinking abnormal, tremor, amnesia, twitching, vasodilatation, cerebrovascular accident, nystagmus, personality disorder, psychotic depression, cerebral ischemia, emotional lability, euphoria, hypertonia, ileus, drug dependence, incoordination, paranoid reaction and ptosis.

Digestive System: Flatulence, dysphagia, dyspepsia and gastroenteritis.

Cardiovascular: Postural hypotension, bradycardia, palpitations, syncope, arrhythmia ventricular, deep thrombophlebitis, pallor and tachycardia.

Respiratory: Respiratory disorder, aspiration pneumonia, hyperventilation, pulmonary embolus and rhinitis.

Urogenital: Hematuria and kidney failure.

Skin and Appendages: Alopecia and sweating.

Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders: Weight loss, albuminuria, dehydration and hyperglycemia.

Special Senses: Abnormal vision, abnormality of accommodation, photophobia, taste loss and tinnitus.

Body as a Whole: Suicide, lack of drug effect, abdominal pain, hypothermia, neck rigidity, chest pain, chills, face edema, flu syndrome and overdose.

Hemic and Lymphatic System: Anemia.

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