Savella (Page 5 of 7)

8.5 Geriatric Use

In controlled clinical studies of Savella, 402 patients were 60 years or older, and no overall differences in safety and efficacy were observed between these patients and younger patients.

In view of the predominant excretion of unchanged milnacipran via kidneys and the expected decrease in renal function with age, renal function should be considered prior to use of Savella in the elderly [see Dosage and Administration (2.2)].

SNRIs, SSRIs, and Savella, have been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse event [see Warnings and Precautions (5.8)].


9.1 Controlled Substance

Milnacipran is not a controlled substance.

9.2 Abuse

Milnacipran did not produce behavioral signs indicative of abuse potential in animal or human studies.

9.3 Dependence

Milnacipran produces physical dependence, as evidenced by the emergence of withdrawal symptoms following drug discontinuation, similar to other SNRIs and SSRIs. These withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Thus, Savella should be tapered and not abruptly discontinued after extended use [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].


There is limited clinical experience with Savella overdose in humans. In clinical trials, cases of acute ingestions up to 1000 mg, alone or in combination with other drugs, were reported with none being fatal.

In postmarketing experience, fatal outcomes have been reported for acute overdoses primarily involving multiple drugs but also with Savella only. The most common signs and symptoms included increased blood pressure, cardio-respiratory arrest, changes in the level of consciousness (ranging from somnolence to coma), confusional state, dizziness, and increased hepatic enzymes.

Management of Overdose

There is no specific antidote to Savella, but if serotonin syndrome ensues, specific treatment (such as with cyproheptadine and/or temperature control) may be considered. In case of acute overdose, treatment should consist of those general measures employed in the management of overdose with any drug.

An adequate airway, oxygenation, and ventilation should be assured and cardiac rhythm and vital signs should be monitored. Induction of emesis is not recommended. Gastric lavage with a large-bore orogastric tube with appropriate airway protection, if needed, may be indicated if performed soon after ingestion or in symptomatic patients. Because there is no specific antidote for Savella, symptomatic care and treatment with gastric lavage and activated charcoal should be considered as soon as possible for patients who experience a Savella overdose.

Due to the large volume of distribution of this drug, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, and exchange transfusion are unlikely to be beneficial.

In managing overdose, the possibility of multiple drug involvement should be considered. The physician should consider contacting a poison control center for additional information on the treatment of any overdose. Telephone numbers for certified poison control centers are listed in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR).


Milnacipran hydrochloride is a selective norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake inhibitor; it inhibits norepinephrine uptake with greater potency than serotonin. It is a racemic mixture with the chemical name: (±)-[1R(S),2S(R)]-2-(aminomethyl)-N,N-diethyl-1-phenylcyclopropanecarboxamide hydrochloride. The structural formula is:

Structural Formula

Milnacipran hydrochloride is a white to off-white crystalline powder with a melting point of 179°C.

It is freely soluble in water, methanol, ethanol, chloroform, and methylene chloride and sparingly soluble in diethyl ether. It has an empirical formula of C15H23ClN2O and a molecular weight of 282.8 g/mol.

Savella is available for oral administration as film-coated tablets containing 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg milnacipran hydrochloride. Each tablet also contains dibasic calcium phosphate, povidone, carboxymethylcellulose calcium, colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, and talc as inactive ingredients. The film coat contains the following additional inactive ingredients:

12.5 mg:

FD&C Blue #2 Aluminum Lake, polyvinyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide

25 mg:

Polyvinyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide

50 mg:

Polyvinyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide

100 mg:

FD&C Red #40 Aluminum Lake, polyvinyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide


12.1 Mechanism of Action

The exact mechanism of the central pain inhibitory action of milnacipran and its ability to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia in humans are unknown. Preclinical studies have shown that milnacipran is a potent inhibitor of neuronal norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake; milnacipran inhibits norepinephrine uptake with approximately 3-fold higher potency in vitro than serotonin without directly affecting the uptake of dopamine or other neurotransmitters. Milnacipran has no significant affinity for serotonergic (5-HT1-7), α- and β-adrenergic, muscarinic (M1-5), histamine (H1-4), dopamine (D1-5), opiate, benzodiazepine, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in vitro. Pharmacologic activity at these receptors is hypothesized to be associated with the various anticholinergic, sedative, and cardiovascular effects seen with other psychotropic drugs.

Milnacipran has no significant affinity for Ca++, K+, Na+ and Cl– channels and does not inhibit the activity of human monoamine oxidases (MAO-A and MAO-B) or acetylcholinesterase.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Cardiovascular Electrophysiology -The effect of Savella on the QTcF interval was measured in a double-blind placebo- and positive-controlled parallel study in 88 healthy subjects using 600 mg/day Savella (3 to 6 times the recommended therapeutic dose for fibromyalgia). After baseline and placebo adjustment, the maximum mean QTcF change was 8 ms (2-sided 90% CI, 3-12 ms). This increase is not considered to be clinically significant.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Milnacipran is well absorbed after oral administration with an absolute bioavailability of approximately 85% to 90%. The exposure to milnacipran increased proportionally within the therapeutic dose range. It is excreted predominantly unchanged in urine (55%) and has a terminal elimination half-life of about 6 to 8 hours. Steady-state levels are reached within 36 to 48 hours and can be predicted from single-dose data. The active enantiomer, d -milnacipran, has a longer elimination half-life (8-10 hours) than the l -enantiomer (4-6 hours). There is no interconversion between the enantiomers.

Absorption and Distribution

Savella is absorbed following oral administration with maximum concentrations (Cmax ) reached within 2 to 4 hours post dose. Absorption of Savella is not affected by food. The absolute bioavailability is approximately 85% to 90%. The mean volume of distribution of milnacipran following a single intravenous dose to healthy subjects is approximately 400 L.

Plasma protein binding is 13%.

Metabolism and Elimination

Milnacipran and its metabolites are eliminated primarily by renal excretion. Following oral administration of 14 C-milnacipran hydrochloride, approximately 55% of the dose was excreted in urine as unchanged milnacipran (24% as l -milnacipran and 31% as d -milnacipran). The l- milnacipran carbamoyl-O-glucuronide was the major metabolite excreted in urine and accounted for approximately 17% of the dose; approximately 2% of the dose was excreted in urine as d- milnacipran carbamoyl-O-glucuronide. Approximately 8% of the dose was excreted in urine as the N-desethyl milnacipran metabolite.

Pharmacokinetics in Special Populations

Renal Impairment -Milnacipran pharmacokinetics were evaluated following single oral administration of 50 mg Savella to subjects with mild (creatinine clearance [CLcr] 50-80 mL/min), moderate (CLcr 30-49 mL/min), and severe (CLcr 5-29 mL/min) renal impairment and to healthy subjects (CLcr > 80 mL/min). The mean AUC0-∞ increased by 16%, 52%, and 199%, and terminal elimination half-life increased by 38%, 41%, and 122% in subjects with mild, moderate, and severe renal impairment, respectively, compared with healthy subjects.

No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with mild renal impairment. Caution should be exercised in patients with moderate renal impairment. Dose adjustment is necessary in severe renal impairment patients [see Dosage and Administration (2.2) ].

Hepatic Impairment -Milnacipran pharmacokinetics were evaluated following single oral administration of 50 mg Savella to subjects with mild (Child-Pugh A), moderate (Child-Pugh B), and severe (Child-Pugh C) hepatic impairment and to healthy subjects. AUC0-∞ and T½ were similar in healthy subjects and subjects with mild and moderate hepatic impairment. However, subjects with severe hepatic impairment had a 31% higher AUC0-∞ and a 55% higher T½ than healthy subjects. Caution should be exercised in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

Elderly -Cmax and AUC parameters of milnacipran were about 30% higher in elderly (> 65 years) subjects compared with young subjects due to age-related decreases in renal function.

No dosage adjustment is necessary based on age unless renal function is severely impaired [see Dosage and Administration (2.2) ].

Gender -Cmax and AUC parameters of milnacipran were about 20% higher in female subjects compared with male subjects. Dosage adjustment based on gender is not necessary.

Lactation study — In a pharmacokinetic study, a single, oral dose of 50 mg milnacipran HCl tablet was administered to 8 lactating women who were at least 12 weeks postpartum and weaning their infants. The maximum estimated daily infant dose for milnacipran from breast milk (assuming mean milk consumption of 150 mL/kg/day) was 5% of the maternal dose based on peak plasma concentrations. In most patients, peak concentrations of milnacipran in breast milk were seen within 4 hours after the maternal dose. Because of the limited data regarding infant exposure to Savella, caution should be exercised when Savella is administered to a nursing woman.

Drug-Drug Interactions

In Vitro Studies

In general, milnacipran, at concentrations that were at least 25 times those attained in clinical trials, did not inhibit human CYP1A2, CYP2A6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP2E1, and CYP3A4 or induce human CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2C8, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP3A4/5 enzyme systems, indicating a low potential of interactions with drugs metabolized by these enzymes.

In vitro studies have shown that the biotransformation rate of milnacipran by human hepatic microsomes and hepatocytes was low. A low biotransformation was also observed following incubation of milnacipran with cDNA-expressed human CYP1A2, CYP2A6, CYP2B6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP2E1, and CYP3A4 isozymes.

In Vivo Studies

The drug interaction studies described in this section were conducted in healthy adult subjects.

Carbamazepine-There were no clinically significant changes in the pharmacokinetics of milnacipran following co-administration of Savella (100 mg/day) and carbamazepine (200 mg twice a day). No changes were observed in the pharmacokinetics of carbamazepine or its epoxide metabolite due to co-administration with Savella.

Clomipramine-Switching from clomipramine (75 mg once a day) to milnacipran (100 mg/day) without a washout period did not lead to clinically significant changes in the pharmacokinetics of milnacipran. Because an increase in adverse events (eg, euphoria and postural hypotension) was observed after switching from clomipramine to milnacipran, monitoring of patients during treatment switch is recommended.

Digoxin-There was no pharmacokinetic interaction between Savella (200 mg/day) and digoxin

(0.2 mg/day Lanoxicaps) following multiple-dose administration to healthy subjects.

Fluoxetine-Switching from fluoxetine (20 mg once a day), a strong inhibitor of CYP2D6 and a moderate inhibitor of CYP2C19, to milnacipran (100 mg/day) without a washout period did not affect the pharmacokinetics of milnacipran.

Lithium-Multiple doses of Savella (100 mg/day) did not affect the pharmacokinetics of lithium.

Lorazepam-There was no pharmacokinetic interaction between a single dose of Savella (50 mg) and lorazepam (1.5 mg).

Pregabalin-There were no clinically significant changes in the steady-state pharmacokinetics of milnacipran or pregabalin following twice a day co-administration of 50 mg milnacipran and 150 mg pregabalin.

Warfarin-Steady-state milnacipran (200 mg/day) did not affect the pharmacokinetics of R-warfarin and S-warfarin or the pharmacodynamics (as assessed by measurement of prothrombin INR) of a single dose of 25 mg warfarin. The pharmacokinetics of Savella were not altered by warfarin.

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