OCELLA (Page 3 of 9)

CONTRAINDICATIONS

OCELLA should not be used in women who have the following:

  • Renal insufficiency
  • Hepatic dysfunction
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Thrombophlebitis or thromboembolic disorders
  • A past history of deep-vein thrombophlebitis or thromboembolic disorders
  • Cerebral-vascular or coronary-artery disease
  • Valvular heart disease with thrombogenic complications
  • Severe hypertension
  • Diabetes with vascular involvement
  • Headaches with focal neurological symptoms
  • Known or suspected carcinoma of the breast
  • Carcinoma of the endometrium or other known or suspected estrogen-dependent neoplasia
  • Undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding
  • Cholestatic jaundice of pregnancy or jaundice with prior pill use
  • Liver tumor (benign or malignant) or active liver disease
  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • Heavy smoking (≥15 cigarettes per day) and over age 35

WARNINGS

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from oral contraceptive use. This risk increases with age and with heavy smoking (15 or more cigarettes per day) and is quite marked in women over 35 years of age. Women who use oral contraceptives should be strongly advised not to smoke.

OCELLA contains 3 mg of the progestin drospirenone that has antimineralocorticoid activity, including the potential for hyperkalemia in high-risk patients, comparable to a 25 mg dose of spironolactone. OCELLA should not be used in patients with conditions that predispose to hyperkalemia (i.e. renal insufficiency, hepatic dysfunction and adrenal insufficiency). Women receiving daily, long-term treatment for chronic conditions or diseases with medications that may increase serum potassium, should have their serum potassium level checked during the first treatment cycle. Drugs that may increase serum potassium include ACE inhibitors, angiotensin–II receptor antagonists, potassium-sparing diuretics, heparin, aldosterone antagonists, and NSAIDs.

The use of oral contraceptives is associated with increased risks of several serious conditions including myocardial infarction, thromboembolism, stroke, hepatic neoplasia, gallbladder disease, and hypertension, although the risk of serious morbidity or mortality is very small in healthy women without underlying risk factors. The risk of morbidity and mortality increases significantly in the presence of other underlying risk factors such as hypertension, hyperlipidemias, obesity and diabetes.

Practitioners prescribing oral contraceptives should be familiar with the following information relating to these risks.

The information contained in this package insert is based principally on studies carried out in patients who used oral contraceptives with higher formulations of estrogens and progestogens than those in common use today. The effect of long-term use of the oral contraceptives with lower formulations of both estrogens and progestogens remains to be determined.

Throughout this labeling, epidemiologic studies reported are of two types: retrospective or case control studies and prospective or cohort studies. Case control studies provide a measure of the relative risk of a disease, namely, a ratio of the incidence of a disease among oral contraceptive users to that among nonusers. The relative risk does not provide information on the actual clinical occurrence of a disease. Cohort studies provide a measure of attributable risk, which is the difference in the incidence of disease between oral contraceptive users and nonusers. The attributable risk does provide information about the actual occurrence of a disease in the population. For further information, the reader is referred to a text on epidemiologic methods.

1. THROMBOEMBOLIC DISORDERS AND OTHER VASCULAR PROBLEMS

a. Myocardial infarction

An increased risk of myocardial infarction has been attributed to oral contraceptive use. This risk is primarily in smokers or women with other underlying risk factors for coronary- artery disease such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, morbid obesity, and diabetes. The relative risk of heart attack for current oral contraceptive users has been estimated to be two to six. The risk is very low under the age of 30.

Smoking in combination with oral contraceptive use has been shown to contribute substantially to the incidence of myocardial infarctions in women in their mid-thirties or older with smoking accounting for the majority of excess cases. Mortality rates associated with circulatory disease have been shown to increase substantially in smokers over the age of 35 and nonsmokers over the age of 40 (Table III) among women who use oral contraceptives.

TABLE III. CIRCULATORY DISEASE MORTALITY RATES PER 100,000 WOMAN-YEARS BY AGE SMOKING STATUS AND ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE USE
(Adapted from P.M. Layde and V. Beral)
AGE EVER-USERS NON-SMOKERS EVER-USERS SMOKERS CONTROL NON-SMOKERS CONTROL SMOKERS
15–24 0 10.5 0 0
25–34 4.4 14.2 2.7 4.2
35–44 21.5 63.4 6.4 15.2
45+ 52.4 206.7 11.4 27.9

Oral contraceptives may compound the effects of well-known risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemias, age and obesity. In particular, some progestogens are known to decrease HDL cholesterol and cause glucose intolerance, while estrogens may create a state of hyperinsulinism. Oral contraceptives have been shown to increase blood pressure among users (see section 9 in WARNINGS). Similar effects on risk factors have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Oral contraceptives must be used with caution in women with cardiovascular disease risk factors.

b. Thromboembolism

An increased risk of thromboembolic and thrombotic disease associated with the use of oral contraceptives is well established. Case control studies have found the relative risk of users compared to nonusers to be 3 for the first episode of superficial venous thrombosis, 4 to 11 for deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, and 1.5 to 6 for women with predisposing conditions for venous thromboembolic disease. Cohort studies have shown the relative risk to be somewhat lower, about 3 for new cases and about 4.5 for new cases requiring hospitalization. The risk of thromboembolic disease due to oral contraceptives is not related to length of use and disappears after pill use is stopped.

A two- to four-fold increase in the relative risk of post-operative thromboembolic complications has been reported with the use of oral contraceptives. The relative risk of venous thrombosis in women who have predisposing conditions is twice that of women without such medical conditions. If feasible, oral contraceptives should be discontinued from at least four weeks prior to and for two weeks after elective surgery of a type associated with an increase in risk of thromboembolism and during and following prolonged immobilization. Since the immediate postpartum period is also associated with an increased risk of thromboembolism, oral contraceptives should be started no earlier than four to six weeks after delivery.

Several studies have investigated the relative risks of thromboembolism in women using OCELLA compared to those in women using COCs containing other progestins. Two prospective cohort studies, both evaluating the risk of venous and arterial thromboembolism and death, were initiated at the time of OCELLA approval.1, 2 The first (EURAS) showed the risk of thromboembolism (particularly venous thromboembolism) and death in OCELLA users to be comparable to that of other oral contraceptive preparations, including those containing levonorgestrel (a so-called second generation COC). The second prospective cohort study (Ingenix) also showed a comparable risk of thromboembolism in OCELLA users compared to users of other COCs, including those containing levonorgestrel. In the second study, COC comparator groups were selected based on their having similar characteristics to those being prescribed OCELLA.

Two additional epidemiological studies, one case-control study (van Hylckama Vlieg et al. 3) and one retrospective cohort study (Lidegaard et al. 4) suggested that the risk of venous thromboembolism occurring in OCELLA users was higher than that for users of levonorgestrel-containing COCs and lower than that for users of desogestrel/gestodene-containing COCs (so-called third generation COCs). In the case-control study, however, the number of OCELLA cases was very small (1.2% of all cases) making the risk estimates unreliable. The relative risk for OCELLA users in the retrospective cohort study was greater than that for users of other COC products when considering women who used the products for less than one year. However, these one-year estimates may not be reliable because the analysis may include women of varying risk levels. Among women who used the product for 1 to 4 years, the relative risk was similar for users of OCELLA to that for users of other COC products.

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