Savella

SAVELLA- milnacipran hydrochloride tablet, film coated
Cardinal Health

WARNING: SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS

Savella is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), similar to some drugs used for the treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders. Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of such drugs in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. 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 in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on Savella should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Savella is not approved for use in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Savella is not approved for use in pediatric patients [see Indications and Usage (1), Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Savella is indicated for the management of fibromyalgia.

Savella is not approved for use in pediatric patients [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

Savella is given orally with or without food.

Taking Savella with food may improve the tolerability of the drug.

2.1 Recommended Dosing

The recommended dose of Savella is 100 mg/day (50 mg twice daily).

Based on efficacy and tolerability dosing may be titrated according to the following schedule:

Day 1: 12.5 mg once

Days 2-3: 25 mg/day (12.5 mg twice daily)

Days 4-7: 50 mg/day (25 mg twice daily)

After Day 7: 100 mg/day (50 mg twice daily)

Based on individual patient response, the dose may be increased to 200 mg/day (100 mg twice daily).

Doses above 200 mg/day have not been studied.

Savella should be tapered and not abruptly discontinued after extended use [see Dosage and Administration (2.4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].

2.2 Patients with Renal Insufficiency

No dosage adjustment is necessary in patients with mild renal impairment.

Savella should be used with caution in patients with moderate renal impairment.

For patients with severe renal impairment (indicated by an estimated creatinine clearance of 5-29 mL/min), the maintenance dose should be reduced by 50% to 50 mg/day (25 mg twice daily).

Based on individual patient response, the dose may be increased to 100 mg/day (50 mg twice daily).

Savella is not recommended for patients with end-stage renal disease.

2.3 Patients with Hepatic Insufficiency

No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with hepatic impairment.

As with any drug, caution should be exercised in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

2.4 Discontinuing Savella

Withdrawal symptoms have been observed in clinical trials following discontinuation of milnacipran, as with other serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment. Savella should be tapered and not abruptly discontinued after extended use [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].

2.5 Switching a Patient to or from a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) Intended to Treat Psychiatric Disorders

At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of a MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders and initiation of therapy with Savella. Conversely, at least 5 days should be allowed after stopping Savella before starting a MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders [see Contraindications (4.1)].

2.6 Use of Savella with other MAOIs such as Linezolid or Methylene Blue

Do not start Savella in a patient being treated with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue because there is increased risk of serotonin syndrome. In a patient who requires more urgent treatment of a psychiatric condition, other interventions, including hospitalization, should be considered [see Contraindications (4.1) ].

In some cases, a patient already receiving Savella therapy may require urgent treatment with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. If acceptable alternatives to linezolid or intravenous methylene blue treatment are not available and the potential benefits of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue treatment are judged to outweigh the risks of serotonin syndrome in a particular patient, Savella should be stopped promptly, and linezolid or intravenous methylene blue can be administered. The patient should be monitored for symptoms of serotonin syndrome for 5 days or until 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue, whichever comes first. Therapy with Savella may be resumed 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

The risk of administering methylene blue by non-intravenous routes (such as oral tablets or by local injection) or in intravenous doses much lower than 1 mg/kg with Savella is unclear. The clinician should nevertheless be aware of the possibility of emergent symptoms of serotonin syndrome with such use [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

Film-coated, immediate-release tablets in four strengths: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg of milnacipran hydrochloride.

12.5 mg tablets are round, blue, “F” on one side, “L” on the reverse;

25 mg tablets are round, white, “FL” on one side, “25″ on the reverse;

50 mg tablets are oval, white, “FL” on one side, “50″ on the reverse;

100 mg tablets are oval, pink, “FL” on one side, “100″ on the reverse

[see Description (11) and How Supplied/ Storage and Handling (16)].

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

4.1 Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

The use of MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders with Savella or within 5 days of stopping treatment with Savella is contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. The use of Savella within 14 days of stopping an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders is also contraindicated [see Dosage and Administration (2.5), Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

Starting Savella in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue is also contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome [see Dosage and Administration (2.6), Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Suicide Risk

Savella is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor (SNRI), similar to some drugs used for the treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders.

Patients, both adult and pediatric, with depression or other psychiatric disorders 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 these 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, including drugs that inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin, may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment.

In the placebo-controlled clinical trials of adults with fibromyalgia, among the patients who had a history of depression at treatment initiation, the incidence of suicidal ideation was 0.5% in patients treated with placebo, 0% in patients treated with Savella 100 mg/day, and 1.3% in patients treated with Savella 200 mg/day. No suicides occurred in the short-term or longer-term (up to 1 year) fibromyalgia trials.

Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of drugs used to treat depression (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18-24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with these drugs compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in suicidality risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults age 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 drugs used to treat depression in over 4400 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 of differences (drug versus 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 1000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1.

Table 1: Risk Differences (Drug – Placebo) in the number of Cases of Suicidality, per 1000 patients treated

Age Range

Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated

< 18

14 additional cases

18-24

5 additional cases

Decreases Compared to Placebo

25-64

1 fewer case

≥ 65

6 fewer cases

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 drugs inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin 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, mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with drugs inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin 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 who may experience worsening depressive symptoms, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe or abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.

If the decision has been made to discontinue treatment due to worsening depressive symptoms or emergent suicidality, medication should be tapered, as rapidly as is feasible, but with recognition that abrupt discontinuation can produce withdrawal symptoms [see Dosage and Administration (2.1, 2.4), and Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].

Families and caregivers of patients being treated with drugs inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin 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 health care providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for Savella should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

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