Levocetirizine Dihydrochloride (Page 3 of 6)

8.5 Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of levocetirizine dihydrochloride for each approved indication did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 years and older to determine whether they respond differently than younger patients. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

8.6 Renal Impairment

Levocetirizine dihydrochloride is known to be substantially excreted by the kidneys and the risk of adverse reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection and it may be useful to monitor renal function [see Dosage and Administration (2) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

8.7 Hepatic Impairment

As levocetirizine is mainly excreted unchanged by the kidneys, it is unlikely that the clearance of levocetirizine is significantly decreased in patients with solely hepatic impairment [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].


Overdosage has been reported with levocetirizine dihydrochloride.
Symptoms of overdose may include drowsiness in adults. In children agitation and restlessness may initially occur, followed by drowsiness. There is no known specific antidote to levocetirizine dihydrochloride. Should overdose occur, symptomatic or supportive treatment is recommended. Levocetirizine dihydrochloride is not effectively removed by dialysis, and dialysis will be ineffective unless a dialyzable agent has been concomitantly ingested. The acute maximal non-lethal oral dose of levocetirizine was 240 mg/kg in mice (approximately 190 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults, approximately 230 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in children 6 to 11 years of age, and approximately 180 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in children 6 months to 5 years of age on a mg/m 2 basis). In rats the maximal non-lethal oral dose was 240 mg/kg (approximately 390 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults, approximately 460 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in children 6 to 11 years of age, and approximately 370 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in children 6 months to 5 years of age on a mg/m 2 basis).


Levocetirizine dihydrochloride, the active component of levocetirizine dihydrochloride oral solution is an orally active H 1 -receptor antagonist. The chemical name is 2-[2-[4[(R)-(4-chlorophenyl) –phenyl-methyl] piperazine-1-yl]ethoxy] acetic acid. Dihydrochloride. Levocetirizine dihydrochloride is the R enantiomer of cetirizine hydrochloride, a racemic compound with antihistaminic properties. The empirical formula of levocetirizine dihydrochloride is C 21 H 27 C l3 N 2 O 3 . The molecular weight is 461.8 and the chemical structure is shown below:

(click image for full-size original)

Levocetirizine dihydrochloride USP is a white to almost white powder and is freely soluble in water and in methanol

Levocetirizine dihydrochloride 0.5 mg/mL oral solution is formulated as an immediate release, clear, colorless liquid. Inactive ingredients are: artificial grape flavor, glacial acetic acid, glycerin, maltitol solution, methyl paraben, propyl paraben, purified water, saccharin sodium and sodium acetate trihydrate.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Levocetirizine, the active enantiomer of cetirizine, is an antihistamine; its principal effects are mediated via selective inhibition of H 1 receptors. The antihistaminic activity of levocetirizine has been documented in a variety of animal and human models. In vitro binding studies revealed that levocetirizine has an affinity for the human H 1 -receptor 2-fold higher than that of cetirizine (Ki = 3 nmol/L vs. 6 nmol/L, respectively). The clinical relevance of this finding is unknown.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Studies in adult healthy subjects showed that levocetirizine at doses of 2.5 mg and 5 mg inhibited the skin wheal and flare caused by the intradermal injection of histamine. In contrast, dextrocetirizine exhibited no clear change in the inhibition of the wheal and flare reaction. Levocetirizine at a dose of 5 mg inhibited the wheal and flare caused by intradermal injection of histamine in 14 pediatric subjects (aged 6 to 11 years) and the activity persisted for at least 24 hours. The clinical relevance of histamine wheal skin testing is unknown.
A QT/QTc study using a single dose of 30 mg of levocetirizine did not demonstrate an effect on the QTc interval. While a single dose of levocetirizine had no effect, the effects of levocetirizine may not be at steady state following single dose. The effect of levocetirizine on the QTc interval following multiple dose administration is unknown. Levocetirizine is not expected to have QT/QTc effects because of the results of QTc studies with cetirizine and the long postmarketing history of cetirizine without reports of QT prolongation.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Levocetirizine exhibited linear pharmacokinetics over the therapeutic dose range in adult healthy subjects.
Levocetirizine is rapidly and extensively absorbed following oral administration. In adults, peak plasma concentrations are achieved 0.9 hour after administration of the oral tablet. The accumulation ratio following daily oral administration is 1.12 with steady state achieved after 2 days. Peak concentrations are typically 270 ng/mL and 308 ng/mL following a single and a repeated 5 mg once daily dose, respectively. Food had no effect on the extent of exposure (AUC) of the levocetirizine tablet, but T max was delayed by about 1.25 hours and C max was decreased by about 36% after administration with a high fat meal; therefore, levocetirizine can be administered with or without food.
A dose of 5 mg (10 mL) of levocetirizine dihydrochloride oral solution is bioequivalent to a 5 mg dose of levocetirizine dihydrochloride tablets. Following oral administration of a 5 mg dose of levocetirizine dihydrochloride oral solution to healthy adult subjects, the mean peak plasma concentrations were achieved approximately 0.5 hour post dose.
The mean plasma protein binding of levocetirizine in vitro ranged from 91 to 92%, independent of concentration in the range of 90 to 5,000 ng/mL, which includes the therapeutic plasma levels observed. Following oral dosing, the average apparent volume of distribution is approximately 0.4 L/kg, representative of distribution in total body water.
The extent of metabolism of levocetirizine in humans is less than 14% of the dose and therefore differences resulting from genetic polymorphism or concomitant intake of hepatic drug metabolizing enzyme inhibitors are expected to be negligible. Metabolic pathways include aromatic oxidation, N- and O-dealkylation, and taurine conjugation. Dealkylation pathways are primarily mediated by CYP3A4 while aromatic oxidation involves multiple and/or unidentified CYP isoforms.
The plasma half-life in adult healthy subjects was about 8 to 9 hours after administration of oral tablets and oral solution, and the mean oral total body clearance for levocetirizine was approximately 0.63 mL/kg/min. The major route of excretion of levocetirizine and its metabolites is via urine, accounting for a mean of 85.4% of the dose. Excretion via feces accounts for only 12.9% of the dose. Levocetirizine is excreted both by glomerular filtration and active tubular secretion. Renal clearance of levocetirizine correlates with that of creatinine clearance. In patients with renal impairment the clearance of levocetirizine is reduced [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)]. Drug Interaction Studies
In vitro data on metabolite interaction indicate that levocetirizine is unlikely to produce, or be subject to metabolic interactions. Levocetirizine at concentrations well above C max level achieved within the therapeutic dose ranges is not an inhibitor of CYP isoenzymes 1A2, 2C9, 2C19, 2A1, 2D6, 2E1, and 3A4, and is not an inducer of UGT1A or CYP isoenzymes 1A2, 2C9 and 3A4.
No formal in vivo drug interaction studies have been performed with levocetirizine. Studies have been performed with the racemic cetirizine [see Drug Interactions (7)].
Pediatric patients
Data from a pediatric pharmacokinetic study with oral administration of a single dose of 5 mg levocetirizine in 14 children age 6 to 11 years with body weight ranging between 20 and 40 kg show that C max and AUC values are about 2-fold greater than that reported in healthy adult subjects in a cross-study comparison. The mean C max was 450 ng/mL, occurring at a mean time of 1.2 hours, weight-normalized, total body clearance was 30% greater, and the elimination half-life 24% shorter in this pediatric population than in adults.
Dedicated pharmacokinetic studies have not been conducted in pediatric patients younger than 6 years of age. A retrospective population pharmacokinetic analysis was conducted in 323 subjects (181 children 1 to 5 years of age, 18 children 6 to 11 years of age, and 124 adults 18 to 55 years of age) who received single or multiple doses of levocetirizine ranging from 1.25 mg to 30 mg. Data generated from this analysis indicated that a dministration of 1.25 mg once daily to children 6 months to 5 years of age results in plasma concentrations similar to those of adults receiving 5 mg once daily.
Geriatric patients
Limited pharmacokinetic data are available in elderly subjects. Following once daily repeat oral administration of 30 mg levocetirizine for 6 days in 9 elderly subjects (65 to 74 years of age), the total body clearance was approximately 33% lower compared to that in younger adults. The disposition of racemic cetirizine has been shown to be dependent on renal function rather than on age. This finding would also be applicable for levocetirizine, as levocetirizine and cetirizine are both predominantly excreted in urine. Therefore, the levocetirizine dihydrochloride oral solution dose should be adjusted in accordance with renal function in elderly patients [see Dosage and Administration ( 2)].

Pharmacokinetic results for 77 patients (40 men, 37 women) were evaluated for potential effect of gender. The half-life was slightly shorter in women (7.08 ± 1.72 hr) than in men (8.62 ± 1.84 hr); however, the body weight-adjusted oral clearance in women (0.67 ± 0.16 mL/min/kg) appears to be comparable to that in men (0.59 ± 0.12 mL/min/kg). The same daily doses and dosing intervals are applicable for men and women with normal renal function.
The effect of race on levocetirizine has not been studied. As levocetirizine is primarily renally excreted, and there are no important racial differences in creatinine clearance, pharmacokinetic characteristics of levocetirizine are not expected to be different across races. No race-related differences in the kinetics of racemic cetirizine have been observed.
Renal impairment
Levocetirizine exposure (AUC) exhibited 1.8-, 3.2-, 4.3-, and 5.7-fold increase in mild, moderate, severe, renal impaired, and end-stage renal disease patients, respectively, compared to healthy subjects. The corresponding increases of half-life estimates were 1.4-, 2.0-, 2.9-, and 4-fold, respectively.
The total body clearance of levocetirizine after oral dosing was correlated to the creatinine clearance and was progressively reduced based on severity of renal impairment. Therefore, it is recommended to adjust the dose and dosing intervals of levocetirizine based on creatinine clearance in patients with mild, moderate, or severe renal impairment. In end-stage renal disease patients (CL CR <10 mL/min) levocetirizine is contraindicated. The amount of levocetirizine removed during a standard 4-hour hemodialysis procedure was <10%.
The dosage of levocetirizine dihydrochloride should be reduced in patients with mild renal impairment. Both the dosage and frequency of administration should be reduced in patients with moderate or severe renal impairment [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].
Hepatic impairment
Levocetirizine dihydrochloride has not been studied in patients with hepatic impairment. The non-renal clearance (indicative of hepatic contribution) was found to constitute about 28% of the total body clearance in healthy adult subjects after oral administration.
As levocetirizine is mainly excreted unchanged by the kidney, it is unlikely that the clearance of levocetirizine is significantly decreased in patients with solely hepatic impairment [see Dosage and Administration (2)].

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