Consideration should be given to a slower rate of dose titration and a lower target dose in the elderly and in patients who are debilitated or who have a predisposition to hypotensive reactions [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. When indicated, dose escalation should be performed with caution in these patients.
Elderly patients should be started on quetiapine fumarate tablets, 50 mg/day and the dose can be increased in increments of 50 mg/day depending on the clinical response and tolerability of the individual patient.
Patients with hepatic impairment should be started on 25 mg/day. The dose should be increased daily in increments of 25 mg/day to 50 mg/day to an effective dose, depending on the clinical response and tolerability of the patient.
Quetiapine fumarate tablets dose should be reduced to one sixth of original dose when co-medicated with a potent CYP3A4 inhibitor (e.g., ketoconazole, itraconazole, indinavir, ritonavir, nefazodone, etc.). When the CYP3A4 inhibitor is discontinued, the dose of quetiapine fumarate tablets should be increased by 6 fold [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3) and Drug Interactions (7.1)].
Quetiapine fumarate tablets dose should be increased up to 5 fold of the original dose when used in combination with a chronic treatment (e.g., greater than 7 to 14 days) of a potent CYP3A4 inducer (e.g., phenytoin, carbamazepine, rifampin, avasimibe, St. John’s wort etc.). The dose should be titrated based on the clinical response and tolerability of the individual patient. When the CYP3A4 inducer is discontinued, the dose of quetiapine fumarate tablets should be reduced to the original level within 7 to 14 days [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3) and Drug Interactions (7.1)].
Although there are no data to specifically address re-initiation of treatment, it is recommended that when restarting therapy of patients who have been off quetiapine fumarate tablets for more than one week, the initial dosing schedule should be followed. When restarting patients who have been off quetiapine fumarate tablets for less than one week, gradual dose escalation may not be required and the maintenance dose may be re-initiated.
There are no systematically collected data to specifically address switching patients with schizophrenia from antipsychotics to quetiapine fumarate tablets, or concerning concomitant administration with antipsychotics. While immediate discontinuation of the previous antipsychotic treatment may be acceptable for some patients with schizophrenia, more gradual discontinuation may be most appropriate for others. In all cases, the period of overlapping antipsychotic administration should be minimized. When switching patients with schizophrenia from depot antipsychotics, if medically appropriate, initiate quetiapine fumarate tablets therapy in place of the next scheduled injection. The need for continuing existing EPS medication should be re-evaluated periodically.
Quetiapine fumarate tablets are available as follows:
25 mg, light brown, round shaped, biconvex tablets, with “SZ” debossed on one side and “230″ on the other side.
50 mg, white, round shaped, biconvex tablets, with “SZ” debossed on one side and “200″ on the other side.
100 mg, yellow, round shaped, biconvex tablets, with “SZ” debossed on one side and “231″ on the other side.
150 mg, light brown, round shaped, biconvex tablets, with “SZ” debossed on one side and “269″ on the other side.
200 mg, white, round shaped, biconvex tablets, with “SZ” debossed on one side and “232″ on the other side.
300 mg, white, capsule shaped, biconvex tablets, with “SZ” debossed on one side and “233″ on the other side.
400 mg, yellow, capsule shaped, biconvex tablets, with “SZ” debossed on one side and “267″ on the other side.
Hypersensitivity to quetiapine or to any excipients in the quetiapine fumarate tablet formulation. Anaphylactic reactions have been reported in patients treated with quetiapine fumarate tablets.
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analysis of 17 placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. Quetiapine fumarate is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis (see Boxed Warning).
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment. Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18 to 24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.
The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4,400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk differences (drug vs. placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1,000 patients treated) are provided in Table 2.
Table 2 Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1,000 Patients Treated
Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1,000 Patients Treated
Increases Compared to Placebo
18 to 24
Decreases Compared to Placebo
25 to 64
No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.
It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.
All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.
The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.
Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.
Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for quetiapine fumarate should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.
Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder: A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown. However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, including quetiapine fumarate, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression.
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