LAMICTAL (Page 5 of 13)

5.5 Blood Dyscrasias

There have been reports of blood dyscrasias that may or may not be associated with multiorgan hypersensitivity (also known as DRESS) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]. These have included neutropenia, leukopenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, pancytopenia, and, rarely, aplastic anemia and pure red cell aplasia.

5.6 Suicidal Behavior and Ideation

AEDs, including LAMICTAL, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication. Patients treated with any AED for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or any unusual changes in mood or behavior.

Pooled analyses of 199 placebo-controlled clinical trials (monotherapy and adjunctive therapy) of 11 different AEDs showed that patients randomized to 1 of the AEDs had approximately twice the risk (adjusted Relative Risk 1.8, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.7) of suicidal thinking or behavior compared with patients randomized to placebo. In these trials, which had a median treatment duration of 12 weeks, the estimated incidence of suicidal behavior or ideation among 27,863 AED-treated patients was 0.43%, compared with 0.24% among 16,029 placebo-treated patients, representing an increase of approximately 1 case of suicidal thinking or behavior for every 530 patients treated. There were 4 suicides in drug-treated patients in the trials and none in placebo-treated patients, but the number of events is too small to allow any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.

The increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with AEDs was observed as early as 1 week after starting treatment with AEDs and persisted for the duration of treatment assessed. Because most trials included in the analysis did not extend beyond 24 weeks, the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior beyond 24 weeks could not be assessed.

The risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior was generally consistent among drugs in the data analyzed. The finding of increased risk with AEDs of varying mechanism of action and across a range of indications suggests that the risk applies to all AEDs used for any indication. The risk did not vary substantially by age (5 to 100 years) in the clinical trials analyzed.

Table 7 shows absolute and relative risk by indication for all evaluated AEDs.

Table 7. Risk by Indication for Antiepileptic Drugs in the Pooled Analysis

Indication

Placebo Patients with Events per 1,000 Patients

Drug Patients with Events per 1,000 Patients

Relative Risk: Incidence of Events in Drug Patients/Incidence in Placebo Patients

Risk Difference: Additional Drug Patients with Events per 1,000 Patients

Epilepsy

1.0

3.4

3.5

2.4

Psychiatric

5.7

8.5

1.5

2.9

Other

1.0

1.8

1.9

0.9

Total

2.4

4.3

1.8

1.9

The relative risk for suicidal thoughts or behavior was higher in clinical trials for epilepsy than in clinical trials for psychiatric or other conditions, but the absolute risk differences were similar for the epilepsy and psychiatric indications.

Anyone considering prescribing LAMICTAL or any other AED must balance the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with the risk of untreated illness. Epilepsy and many other illnesses for which AEDs are prescribed are themselves associated with morbidity and mortality and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Should suicidal thoughts and behavior emerge during treatment, the prescriber needs to consider whether the emergence of these symptoms in any given patient may be related to the illness being treated.

Patients, their caregivers, and families should be informed that AEDs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of the signs and symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, the emergence of suicidal thoughts or suicidal behavior, or thoughts about self-harm. Behaviors of concern should be reported immediately to healthcare providers.

5.7 Aseptic Meningitis

Therapy with LAMICTAL increases the risk of developing aseptic meningitis. Because of the potential for serious outcomes of untreated meningitis due to other causes, patients should also be evaluated for other causes of meningitis and treated as appropriate.

Postmarketing cases of aseptic meningitis have been reported in pediatric and adult patients taking LAMICTAL for various indications. Symptoms upon presentation have included headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and nuchal rigidity. Rash, photophobia, myalgia, chills, altered consciousness, and somnolence were also noted in some cases. Symptoms have been reported to occur within 1 day to one and a half months following the initiation of treatment. In most cases, symptoms were reported to resolve after discontinuation of LAMICTAL. Re-exposure resulted in a rapid return of symptoms (from within 30 minutes to 1 day following re-initiation of treatment) that were frequently more severe. Some of the patients treated with LAMICTAL who developed aseptic meningitis had underlying diagnoses of systemic lupus erythematosus or other autoimmune diseases.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analyzed at the time of clinical presentation in reported cases was characterized by a mild to moderate pleocytosis, normal glucose levels, and mild to moderate increase in protein. CSF white blood cell count differentials showed a predominance of neutrophils in a majority of the cases, although a predominance of lymphocytes was reported in approximately one third of the cases. Some patients also had new onset of signs and symptoms of involvement of other organs (predominantly hepatic and renal involvement), which may suggest that in these cases the aseptic meningitis observed was part of a hypersensitivity reaction [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

5.8 Potential Medication Errors

Medication errors involving LAMICTAL have occurred. In particular, the names LAMICTAL or lamotrigine can be confused with the names of other commonly used medications. Medication errors may also occur between the different formulations of LAMICTAL. To reduce the potential of medication errors, write and say LAMICTAL clearly. Depictions of the LAMICTAL tablets, tablets for oral suspension, and orally disintegrating tablets can be found in the Medication Guide that accompanies the product to highlight the distinctive markings, colors, and shapes that serve to identify the different presentations of the drug and thus may help reduce the risk of medication errors. To avoid the medication error of using the wrong drug or formulation, patients should be strongly advised to visually inspect their tablets to verify that they are LAMICTAL, as well as the correct formulation of LAMICTAL, each time they fill their prescription.

5.9 Concomitant Use with Oral Contraceptives

Some estrogen-containing oral contraceptives have been shown to decrease serum concentrations of lamotrigine [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. Dosage adjustments will be necessary in most patients who start or stop estrogen-containing oral contraceptives while taking LAMICTAL [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)]. During the week of inactive hormone preparation (pill-free week) of oral contraceptive therapy, plasma lamotrigine levels are expected to rise, as much as doubling at the end of the week. Adverse reactions consistent with elevated levels of lamotrigine, such as dizziness, ataxia, and diplopia, could occur.

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