Pilocarpine Hydrochloride

PILOCARPINE HYDROCHLORIDE- pilocarpine hydrochloride tablet, film coated
Lannett Company, Inc.

DESCRIPTION:

Pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets, USP contain pilocarpine hydrochloride, a cholinergic agonist for oral use. Pilocarpine hydrochloride, USP is a hygroscopic, odorless, bitter tasting white crystal or powder, which is soluble in water and alcohol and virtually insoluble in most non-polar solvents. Pilocarpine hydrochloride, USP with a chemical name of (3S-cis)-2(3H)-Furanone, 3-ethyldihydro-4-[(1-methyl-1H -imidazol-5-yl)methyl]monohydrochloride, has a molecular weight of 244.72.

Chemical Structure
(click image for full-size original)

Each 5 mg Pilocarpine Hydrochloride Tablet, USP for oral administration contains 5 mg of pilocarpine hydrochloride. Inactive ingredients in the tablet are microcrystalline cellulose and stearic acid, the tablet’s film coating is: polyvinyl alcohol, titanium dioxide, polyethylene glycol, and talc.

Each 7.5 mg Pilocarpine Hydrochloride Tablet, USP for oral administration contains 7.5 mg of pilocarpine hydrochloride. Inactive ingredients in the tablet are microcrystalline cellulose and stearic acid, the tablet’s film coating is: FD&C Blue #2/Indigo Carmine aluminum lake, polyvinyl alcohol, titanium dioxide, polyethylene glycol, and talc.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY:

Pharmacodynamics:

Pilocarpine is a cholinergic parasympathomimetic agent exerting a broad spectrum of pharmacologic effects with predominant muscarinic action. Pilocarpine, in appropriate dosage, can increase secretion by the exocrine glands. The sweat, salivary, lacrimal, gastric, pancreatic, and intestinal glands and the mucous cells of the respiratory tract may be stimulated. When applied topically to the eye as a single dose it causes miosis, spasm of accommodation, and may cause a transitory rise in intraocular pressure followed by a more persistent fall. Dose-related smooth muscle stimulation of the intestinal tract may cause increased tone, increased motility, spasm, and tenesmus. Bronchial smooth muscle tone may increase. The tone and motility of urinary tract, gallbladder, and biliary duct smooth muscle may be enhanced. Pilocarpine may have paradoxical effects on the cardiovascular system. The expected effect of a muscarinic agonist is vasodepression, but administration of pilocarpine may produce hypertension after a brief episode of hypotension. Bradycardia and tachycardia have both been reported with use of pilocarpine.

In a study of 12 healthy male volunteers there was a dose-related increase in unstimulated salivary flow following single 5 and 10 mg oral doses of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets. This effect of pilocarpine on salivary flow was time-related with an onset at 20 minutes and a peak effect at 1 hour with a duration of 3 to 5 hours (See Pharmacokinetics section).

Head & Neck Cancer Patients:

In a 12 week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 207 patients (placebo, N=65; 5 mg, N=73; 10 mg, N=69), increases from baseline (means 0.072 and 0.112 mL/min, ranges −0.690 to 0.728 and −0.380 to 1.689) of whole saliva flow for the 5 mg (63%) and 10 mg (90%) tablet, respectively, were seen 1 hour after the first dose of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets. Increases in unstimulated parotid flow were seen following the first dose (means 0.025 and 0.046 mL/min, ranges 0 to 0.414 and −0.070 to 1.002 mL/min for the 5 and 10 mg dose, respectively). In this study, no correlation existed between the amount of increase in salivary flow and the degree of symptomatic relief.

Sjogren’s Syndrome Patients:

In two 12 week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in 629 patients (placebo, N=253; 2.5 mg, N=121; 5 mg, N=255; 5-7.5 mg, N=114), the ability of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets to stimulate saliva production was assessed. In these trials using varying doses of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets (2.5-7.5 mg), the rate of saliva production was plotted against time. An Area Under the Curve (AUC) representing the total amount of saliva produced during the observation interval was calculated. Relative to placebo, an increase in the amount of saliva being produced was observed following the first dose of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets and was maintained throughout the duration (12 weeks) of the trials in an approximate dose response fashion (See Clinical Studies section).

Pharmacokinetics:

In a multiple-dose pharmacokinetic study in male volunteers following 2 days of 5 or 10 mg of oral pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets given at 8 a.m., noontime, and 6 p.m., the mean elimination half-life was 0.76 hours for the 5 mg dose and 1.35 hours for the 10 mg dose. Tmax values were 1.25 hours and 0.85 hours. Cmax values were 15 ng/mL and 41 ng/mL. The AUC trapezoidal values were 33 h(ng/mL) and 108 h(ng/mL), respectively, for the 5 and 10 mg doses following the last 6 hour dose.

Pharmacokinetics in elderly male volunteers (N = 11) were comparable to those in younger men. In five healthy elderly female volunteers, the mean Cmax and AUC were approximately twice that of elderly males and young normal male volunteers.

When taken with a high fat meal by 12 healthy male volunteers, there was a decrease in the rate of absorption of pilocarpine from pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets. Mean Tmax’s were 1.47 and 0.87 hours, and mean Cmax’s were 51.8 and 59.2 ng/mL for fed and fasted, respectively.

Limited information is available about the metabolism and elimination of pilocarpine in humans. Inactivation of pilocarpine is thought to occur at neuronal synapses and probably in plasma. Pilocarpine and its minimally active or inactive degradation products, including pilocarpic acid, are excreted in the urine. Pilocarpine does not bind to human or rat plasma proteins over a concentration range of 5 to 25,000 ng/mL. The effect of pilocarpine on plasma protein binding of other drugs has not been evaluated.

In patients with mild to moderate hepatic impairment (N=12), administration of a single 5 mg dose resulted in a 30% decrease in total plasma clearance and a doubling of exposure (as measured by AUC). Peak plasma levels were also increased by about 30% and half-life was increased to 2.1 hrs.

There were no significant differences in the pharmacokinetics of oral pilocarpine in volunteer subjects (N=8) with renal insufficiency (mean creatinine clearances 25.4 mL/min; range 9.8 – 40.8 mL/min) compared to the pharmacokinetics previously observed in normal volunteers.

Clinical Studies:

Head & Neck Cancer Patients:

A 12 week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 207 patients (142 men, 65 women) was conducted in patients whose mean age was 58.5 years with a range of 19 to 77; the racial distribution was Caucasian 95%, Black 4%, and other 1%. In this population, a statistically significant improvement in mouth dryness occurred in the 5 and 10 mg pilocarpine hydrochloride tablet treated patients compared to placebo treated patients. The 5 and 10 mg treated patients could not be distinguished. (See Pharmacodynamics section for flow study details.)

Another 12 week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 162 patients whose mean age was 57.8 years with a range of 27 to 80; the racial distribution was Caucasian 88%, Black 10%, and other 2%. The effects of placebo were compared to 2.5 mg three times a day of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets for 4 weeks followed by adjustment to 5 mg three times a day and 10 mg three times a day. Lowering of the dose was necessary because of adverse events in 3 of 67 patients treated with 5 mg of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets and in 7 of 66 patients treated with 10 mg of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets. After 4 weeks of treatment, 2.5 mg of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets three times a day was comparable to placebo in relieving dryness. In patients treated with 5 mg and 10 mg of pilocarpine hydrochloride tablets, the greatest improvement in dryness was noted in patients with no measurable salivary flow at baseline.

In both studies, some patients noted improvement in the global assessment of their dry mouth, speaking without liquids, and a reduced need for supplemental oral comfort agents.

In the two placebo-controlled clinical trials, the most common adverse events related to drug, and increasing in rate as dose increases, were sweating, nausea, rhinitis, diarrhea, chills, flushing, urinary frequency, dizziness, and asthenia. The most common adverse experience causing withdrawal from treatment was sweating (5 mg t.i.d. ≤1%; 10 mg t.i.d. =12%).

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