Dopamine agonists, in clinical studies and clinical experience, appear to impair the systemic regulation of blood pressure, with resulting orthostatic hypotension, especially during dose escalation. Parkinson’s disease patients, in addition, appear to have an impaired capacity to respond to an orthostatic challenge. For these reasons, Parkinson’s disease patients being treated with dopaminergic agonists ordinarily require careful monitoring for signs and symptoms of orthostatic hypotension, especially during dose escalation, and should be informed of this risk.
In clinical trials of pramipexole, however, and despite clear orthostatic effects in normal volunteers, the reported incidence of clinically significant orthostatic hypotension was not greater among those assigned to pramipexole tablets than among those assigned to placebo. This result, especially with the higher doses used in Parkinson’s disease, is clearly unexpected in light of the previous experience with the risks of dopamine agonist therapy.While this finding could reflect a unique property of pramipexole, it might also be explained by the conditions of the study and the nature of the population enrolled in the clinical trials. Patients were very carefully titrated, and patients with active cardiovascular disease or significant orthostatic hypotension at baseline were excluded.
Case reports and the results of a cross-sectional study suggest that patients can experience intense urges to gamble, increased sexual urges, intense urges to spend money uncontrollably, binge eating, and/or other intense urges and the inability to control these urges while taking one or more of the medications, including pramipexole dihydrochloride, that increase central dopaminergic tone and that are generally used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. In some cases, although not all, these urges were reported to have stopped when the dose was reduced or the medication was discontinued. Because patients may not recognize these behaviors as abnormal it is important for prescribers to specifically ask patients or their caregivers about the development of new or increased gambling urges, sexual urges, uncontrolled spending or other urges while being treated with pramipexole dihydrochloride. Physicians should consider dose reduction or stopping the medication if a patient develops such urges while taking pramipexole dihydrochloride.
In the three double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in early Parkinson’s disease, hallucinations were observed in 9% (35 of 388) of patients receiving pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets, compared with 2.6% (6 of 235) of patients receiving placebo. In the four double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in advanced Parkinson’s disease, where patients received pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets and concomitant levodopa, hallucinations were observed in 16.5% (43 of 260) of patients receiving pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets compared with 3.8% (10 of 264) of patients receiving placebo. Hallucinations were of sufficient severity to cause discontinuation of treatment in 3.1% of the early Parkinson’s disease patients and 2.7% of the advanced Parkinson’s disease patients compared with about 0.4% of placebo patients in both populations.
Age appears to increase the risk of hallucinations attributable to pramipexole. In the early Parkinson’s disease patients, the risk of hallucinations was 1.9 times greater than placebo in patients younger than 65 years and 6.8 times greater than placebo in patients older than 65 years. In the advanced Parkinson’s disease patients, the risk of hallucinations was 3.5 times greater than placebo in patients younger than 65 years and 5.2 times greater than placebo in patients older than 65 years.
Postmarketing reports with medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease, including pramipexole dihydrochloride, indicate that patients may experience new or worsening mental status and behavioral changes, which may be severe, including psychotic-like behavior during treatment with pramipexole dihydrochloride or after starting or increasing the dose of pramipexole dihydrochloride. Other drugs prescribed to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can have similar effects on thinking and behavior. This abnormal thinking and behavior can consist of one or more of a variety of manifestations including paranoid ideation, delusions, hallucinations, confusion, psychotic-like behavior, disorientation, aggressive behavior, agitation, and delirium.
Patients with a major psychotic disorder should ordinarily not be treated with dopamine agonists, including pramipexole dihydrochloride, because of the risk of exacerbating the psychosis. In addition, certain medications used to treat psychosis may exacerbate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and may decrease the effectiveness of pramipexole dihydrochloride [see Drug Interactions (7.1) ].
Pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets may potentiate the dopaminergic side effects of levodopa and may cause or exacerbate preexisting dyskinesia.
Since pramipexole is eliminated through the kidneys, caution should be exercised when prescribing pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets to patients with renal impairment [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6), and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
A single case of rhabdomyolysis occurred in a 49-year-old male with advanced Parkinson’s disease treated with pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets. The patient was hospitalized with an elevated CPK (10,631 IU/L). The symptoms resolved with discontinuation of the medication.
A two-year open-label, randomized, parallel-group safety study of retinal deterioration and vision compared pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets and immediate-release ropinirole. Two hundred thirty four Parkinson’s disease patients (115 on pramipexole, mean dose 3 mg/day and 119 on ropinirole, mean dose 9.5 mg/day) were evaluated using a panel of clinical ophthalmological assessments. Of 234 patients who were evaluable, 196 had been treated for two years and 29 were judged to have developed clinical abnormalities that were considered meaningful (19 patients in each treatment arm had received treatment for less than two years). There was no statistical difference in retinal deterioration between the treatment arms; however, the study was only capable of detecting a very large difference between treatments. In addition, because the study did not include an untreated comparison group (placebo treated), it is unknown whether the findings reported in patients treated with either drug are greater than the background rate in an aging population.
Pathologic changes (degeneration and loss of photoreceptor cells) were observed in the retina of albino rats in the 2-year carcinogenicity study. While retinal degeneration was not diagnosed in pigmented rats treated for 2 years, a thinning in the outer nuclear layer of the retina was slightly greater in rats given drug compared with controls. Evaluation of the retinas of albino mice, monkeys, and minipigs did not reveal similar changes. The potential significance of this effect in humans has not been established, but cannot be disregarded because disruption of a mechanism that is universally present in vertebrates (i.e., disk shedding) may be involved [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.2) ].
Although the events enumerated below may not have been reported in association with the use of pramipexole in its development program, they are associated with the use of other dopaminergic drugs. The expected incidence of these events, however, is so low that even if pramipexole caused these events at rates similar to those attributable to other dopaminergic therapies, it would be unlikely that even a single case would have occurred in a cohort of the size exposed to pramipexole in studies to date.
Hyperpyrexia and Confusion
Although not reported with pramipexole in the clinical development program, a symptom complex resembling the neuroleptic malignant syndrome (characterized by elevated temperature, muscular rigidity, altered consciousness, and autonomic instability), with no other obvious etiology, has been reported in association with rapid dose reduction, withdrawal of, or changes in dopaminergic therapy. If possible, avoid sudden discontinuation or rapid dose reduction in patients taking pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets. If the decision is made to discontinue pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets, the dose should be tapered to reduce the risk of hyperpyrexia and confusion [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].
Cases of retroperitoneal fibrosis, pulmonary infiltrates, pleural effusion, pleural thickening, pericarditis, and cardiac valvulopathy have been reported in patients treated with ergot-derived dopaminergic agents. While these complications may resolve when the drug is discontinued, complete resolution does not always occur.
Although these adverse events are believed to be related to the ergoline structure of these compounds, whether other, nonergot-derived dopamine agonists can cause them is unknown.
Cases of possible fibrotic complications, including peritoneal fibrosis, pleural fibrosis, and pulmonary fibrosis have been reported in the post marketing experience with pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets. While the evidence is not sufficient to establish a causal relationship between pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets and these fibrotic complications, a contribution of pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets cannot be completely ruled out.
Epidemiological studies have shown that patients with Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk (2- to approximately 6-fold higher) of developing melanoma than the general population. Whether the observed increased risk was due to Parkinson’s disease or other factors, such as drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease, is unclear.
For the reasons stated above, patients and providers are advised to monitor for melanomas frequently and on a regular basis when using pramipexole dihydrochloride tablets for any indication. Ideally, periodic skin examinations should be performed by appropriately qualified individuals (e.g., dermatologists).
All MedLibrary.org resources are included in as near-original form as possible, meaning that the information from the original provider has been rendered here with only typographical or stylistic modifications and not with any substantive alterations of content, meaning or intent.