Quinolones, including levofloxacin, cause arthropathy and osteochondrosis in juvenile animals of several species. [see Warnings and Precautions [ 5.12] and Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology ( 13.2)]
I nhalational Anthrax (Post-Exposure)
Levofloxacin is indicated in pediatric patients 6 months of age and older, for inhalational anthrax (post-exposure). The risk-benefit assessment indicates that administration of levofloxacin to pediatric patients is appropriate. The safety of levofloxacin in pediatric patients treated for more than 14 days has not been studied [see Indications and Usage ( 1.7), Dosage and Administration ( 2.2) andClinical Studies ( 14.9) ].
Levofloxacin is indicated in pediatric patients, 6 months of age and older, for treatment of plague, including pneumonic and septicemic plague due to Yersinia pestis ( Y. pestis) and prophylaxis for plague. Efficacy studies of levofloxacin could not be conducted in humans with pneumonic plague for ethical and feasibility reasons. Therefore, approval of this indication was based on an efficacy study conducted in animals. The risk-benefit assessment indicates that administration of levofloxacin to pediatric patients is appropriate [see Indications and Usage ( 1.8), Dosage and Administration ( 2.2) and Clinical Studies ( 14.10) ].
Safety and effectiveness of levofloxacin tablets in pediatric patients below the age of six months have not been established.
Pharmacokinetics following intravenous administration
The pharmacokinetics of levofloxacin following a single intravenous dose were investigated in pediatric patients ranging in age from six months to 16 years. Pediatric patients cleared levofloxacin faster than adult patients resulting in lower plasma exposures than adults for a given mg/kg dose [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3) and Clinical Studies ( 14.9) ].
Dosage in Pediatric Patients with Inhalational Anthrax or Plague
For the recommended levofloxacin tablet dosage in pediatric patients with inhalational anthrax or plague, see Dosage and Administration ( 2.2). Levofloxacin Tablets cannot be administered to pediatric patients who weigh less than 30 kg because of the limitations of the available strengths. Alternative formulations of levofloxacin may be considered for pediatric patients who weigh less than 30 kg.
In clinical trials, 1534 pediatric patients (6 months to 16 years of age) were treated with oral and intravenous levofloxacin. Pediatric patients 6 months to 5 years of age received levofloxacin 10 mg/kg twice a day and pediatric patients greater than 5 years of age received 10 mg/kg once a day (maximum 500 mg per day) for approximately 10 days. Levofloxacin tablets can only be administered to pediatric patients with inhalational anthrax (post-exposure) or plague who are 30 kg or greater due to the limitations of the available strengths [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.2) ]. A subset of pediatric patients in the clinical trials (1340 levofloxacin-treated and 893 non-fluoroquinolone-treated) enrolled in a prospective, long-term surveillance study to assess the incidence of protocol-defined musculoskeletal disorders (arthralgia, arthritis, tendinopathy, gait abnormality) during 60 days and 1 year following the first dose of the study drug. Pediatric patients treated with levofloxacin had a significantly higher incidence of musculoskeletal disorders when compared to the non-fluoroquinolone-treated children as illustrated in Table 7. Levofloxacin tablets can only be administered to pediatric patients with inhalational anthrax (post-exposure) or plague who are 30 kg or greater due to the limitations of the available strengths [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.2)].
Table 7: Incidence of Musculoskeletal Disorders in Pediatric Clinical Trial
|Follow-up Period||Levofloxacin Tablets N = 1340||Non-Fluoroquinolone* N = 893||p-value†|
|60 days||28 (2.1%)||8 (0.9%)||p = 0.038|
|1 year‡||46 (3.4%)||16 (1.8%)||p = 0.025|
* Non-Fluoroquinolone: ceftriaxone, amoxicillin/clavulanate, clarithromycin
† 2-sided Fisher’s Exact Test
‡ There were 1199 levofloxacin-treated and 804 non-fluoroquinolone-treated pediatric patients who had a one-year evaluation visit. However, the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders was calculated using all reported events during the specified period for all pediatric patients enrolled regardless of whether they completed the 1-year evaluation visit.
Arthralgia was the most frequently occurring musculoskeletal disorder in both treatment groups. Most of the musculoskeletal disorders in both groups involved multiple weight-bearing joints. Disorders were moderate in 8/46 (17%) children and mild in 35/46 (76%) levofloxacin treated pediatric patients and most were treated with analgesics. The median time to resolution was 7 days for levofloxacin -treated pediatric patients and 9 for non-fluoroquinolone-treated children (approximately 80% resolved within 2 months in both groups). No pediatric patient had a severe or serious disorder and all musculoskeletal disorders resolved without sequelae.
Vomiting and diarrhea were the most frequently reported adverse reactions, occurring in similar frequency in the levofloxacin -treated and non-fluoroquinolone-treated pediatric patient.
In addition to the adverse reactions reported in pediatric patients in clinical trials, adverse reactions reported in adults during clinical trials or post-marketing experience [see Adverse Reactions ( 6)] may also be expected to occur in pediatric patients.
Geriatric patients are at increased risk for developing severe tendon disorders including tendon rupture when being treated with a fluoroquinolone such as levofloxacin. This risk is further increased in patients receiving concomitant corticosteroid therapy. Tendinitis or tendon rupture can involve the Achilles, hand, shoulder, or other tendon sites and can occur during or after completion of therapy; cases occurring up to several months after fluoroquinolone treatment have been reported. Caution should be used when prescribing levofloxacin to elderly patients especially those on corticosteroids. Patients should be informed of this potential side effect and advised to discontinue levofloxacin and contact their healthcare provider if any symptoms of tendinitis or tendon rupture occur [see Boxed Warning; Warnings and Precautions ( 5.2) ; and Adverse Reactions ( 6.3) ].
In phase 3 clinical trials, 1,945 levofloxacin -treated patients (26%) were ≥ 65 years of age. Of these, 1,081 patients (14%) were between the ages of 65 and 74 and 864 patients (12%) were 75 years or older. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Severe, and sometimes fatal, cases of hepatotoxicity have been reported post-marketing in association with levofloxacin. The majority of fatal hepatotoxicity reports occurred in patients 65 years of age or older and most were not associated with hypersensitivity. Levofloxacin should be discontinued immediately if the patient develops signs and symptoms of hepatitis [see
Warnings and Precautions (
Epidemiologic studies report an increased rate of aortic aneurysm and dissection within two months following use of fluoroquinolones, particularly in elderly patients. [ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.9) ].
Elderly patients may be more susceptible to drug-associated effects on the QT interval. Therefore, precaution should be taken when using levofloxacin with concomitant drugs that can result in prolongation of the QT interval (e.g., Class IA or Class III antiarrhythmics) or in patients with risk factors for torsade de pointes (e.g., known QT prolongation, uncorrected hypokalemia) [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.10) ].
The pharmacokinetic properties of levofloxacin in younger adults and elderly adults do not differ significantly when creatinine clearance is taken into consideration. However, since the drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, the risk of toxic 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 Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .
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