Sertraline Hydrochloride (Page 2 of 9)

5.2 Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and SSRIs, including sertraline hydrochloride, can precipitate serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. The risk is increased with concomitant use of other serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, amphetamines, and St. John’s Wort) and with drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin, i.e., MAOIs [See Contraindications (4), Drug Interactions (7.1)]. Serotonin syndrome can also occur when these drugs are used alone.
Serotonin syndrome signs and symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia), neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination), seizures, and gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
The concomitant use of sertraline hydrochloride with MAOIs is contraindicated. In addition, do not initiate sertraline hydrochloride in a patient being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. No reports involved the administration of methylene blue by other routes (such as oral tablets or local tissue injection). If it is necessary to initiate treatment with an MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue in a patient taking sertraline hydrochloride tablets, discontinue sertraline hydrochloride tablets before initiating treatment with the MAOI [See Contraindications (4), Drug Interactions (7.1)].

Monitor all patients taking sertraline hydrochloride for the emergence of serotonin syndrome. Discontinue treatment with sertraline hydrochloride and any concomitant serotonergic agents immediately if the above symptoms occur, and initiate supportive symptomatic treatment. If concomitant use of sertraline hydrochloride with other serotonergic drugs is clinically warranted, inform patients of the increased risk for serotonin syndrome and monitor for symptoms.

5.3 Increased Risk of Bleeding

Drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake inhibition, including sertraline hydrochloride, increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), other antiplatelet drugs, warfarin, and other anticoagulants may add to this risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Bleeding events related to drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake have ranged from ecchymosis, hematoma, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages.
Inform patients of the increased risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of sertraline hydrochloride and antiplatelet agents or anticoagulants. For patients taking warfarin, carefully monitor the international normalized ratio.

5.4 Activation of Mania or Hypomania

In patients with bipolar disorder, treating a depressive episode with sertraline hydrochloride or another antidepressant may precipitate a mixed/manic episode. In controlled clinical trials, patients with bipolar disorder were generally excluded; however, symptoms of mania or hypomania were reported in 0.4% of patients treated with sertraline hydrochloride. Prior to initiating treatment with sertraline hydrochloride, screen patients for any personal or family history of bipolar disorder, mania, or hypomania.

5.5 Discontinuation Syndrome

Adverse reactions after discontinuation of serotonergic antidepressants, particularly after abrupt discontinuation, include: nausea, sweating, dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesia, such as electric shock sensations), tremor, anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, hypomania, tinnitus, and seizures. A gradual reduction in dosage rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible [See Dosage and Administration (2.6)].

5.6 Seizures

Sertraline hydrochloride has not been systematically evaluated in patients with seizure disorders. Patients with a history of seizures were excluded from clinical studies. Sertraline hydrochloride should be prescribed with caution in patients with a seizure disorder.

5.7 Angle-Closure Glaucoma

The pupillary dilation that occurs following use of many antidepressant drugs including sertraline hydrochloride may trigger an angle closure attack in a patient with anatomically narrow angles who does not have a patent iridectomy. Avoid use of antidepressants, including sertraline hydrochloride, in patients with untreated anatomically narrow angles.

5.8 Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SNRIs and SSRIs, including sertraline hydrochloride. Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported. Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe or acute cases have included hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death. In many cases, this hyponatremia appears to be the result of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH).
In patients with symptomatic hyponatremia, discontinue sertraline hydrochloride and institute appropriate medical intervention. Elderly patients, patients taking diuretics, and those who are volume-depleted may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs [See Use in Specific Populations (8.5)].

5.9 False-Positive Effects on Screening Tests for Benzodiazepines

False-positive urine immunoassay screening tests for benzodiazepines have been reported in patients taking sertraline hydrochloride. This finding is due to lack of specificity of the screening tests. False-positive test results may be expected for several days following discontinuation of sertraline hydrochloride. Confirmatory tests, such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, will help distinguish sertraline hydrochloride from benzodiazepines [See Drug Interactions (7.3)].

5.10 QTc Prolongation

During post-marketing use of sertraline, cases of QTc prolongation and Torsade de Pointes (TdP) have been reported. Most reports were confounded by other risk factors. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo- and positive-controlled three-period crossover thorough QTc study in 54 healthy adult subjects, there was a positive relationship between the length of the rate-adjusted QTc interval and serum sertraline concentration. Therefore, sertraline hydrochloride should be used with caution in patients with risk factors for QTc prolongation [See Drug Interactions (7.1), Clinical Pharmacology (12.2)].

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

The following adverse reactions are described in more detail in other sections of the prescribing information:

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
The data described below are from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of sertraline hydrochloride (mostly 50 mg to 200 mg per day) in 3066 adults diagnosed with MDD, OCD, PD, PTSD, SAD, and PMDD. These 3066 patients exposed to sertraline hydrochloride for 8 to12 weeks represent 568 patient-years of exposure. The mean age was 40 years; 57% were females and 43% were males. The most common adverse reactions (≥5% and twice placebo) in all pooled placebo-controlled clinical trials of all sertraline hydrochloride-treated patients with MDD, OCD, PD, PTSD, SAD and PMDD were nausea, diarrhea/loose stool, tremor, dyspepsia, decreased appetite, hyperhidrosis, ejaculation failure, and decreased libido (see Table 3). The following are the most common adverse reactions in trials of sertraline hydrochloride (≥5% and twice placebo) by indication that were not mentioned previously.

  • MDD: somnolence;
  • OCD: insomnia, agitation;
  • PD: constipation, agitation;
  • PTSD: fatigue;
  • PMDD: somnolence, dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, and abdominal pain;
  • SAD: insomnia, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, malaise.
Table 3: Common Adverse Reactions in Pooled Placebo-Controlled Trials in Adults with MDD, OCD, PD, PTSD, SAD, and PMDD*
(1) Denominator used was for male patients only (n=1316 sertraline hydrochloride; n=973 placebo).* Adverse reactions that occurred greater than 2% in sertraline hydrochloride-treated patients and at least 2% greater in sertraline hydrochloride-treated patients than placebo-treated patients.
Sertraline Hydrochloride (N=3066) Placebo (N=2293)
Cardiac disorders
Palpitations 4% 2%
Eye disorders
Visual impairment 4% 2%
Gastrointestinal Disorders
Nausea 26% 12%
Diarrhea/Loose Stools 20% 10%
Dry mouth 14% 9%
Dyspepsia 8% 4%
Constipation 6% 4%
Vomiting 4% 1%
General disorders and administration site conditions
Fatigue 12% 8%
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
Decreased appetite 7% 2%
Nervous system disorders
Dizziness 12% 8%
Somnolence 11% 6%
Tremor 9% 2%
Psychiatric Disorders
Insomnia 20% 13%
Agitation 8% 5%
Libido Decreased 6% 2%
Reproductive system and breast disorders
Ejaculation failure (1) 8% 1%
Erectile dysfunction (1) 4% 1%
Ejaculation disorder (1) 3% 0%
Male sexual dysfunction (1) 2% 0%
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
Hyperhidrosis 7% 3%

Adverse Reactions Leading to Discontinuation in Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials

In all placebo-controlled studies in patients with MDD, OCD, PD, PTSD, SAD and PMDD, 368 (12%) of the 3066 patients who received sertraline hydrochloride discontinued treatment due to an adverse reaction, compared with 93 (4%) of the 2293 placebo-treated patients. In placebo-controlled studies, the following were the common adverse reactions leading to discontinuation in sertraline hydrochloride-treated patients:

  • MDD, OCD, PD, PTSD, SAD and PMDD: nausea (3%), diarrhea (2%), agitation (2%), and insomnia (2%).
  • MDD (>2% and twice placebo): decreased appetite, dizziness, fatigue, headache, somnolence, tremor, and vomiting.
  • OCD: somnolence.
  • PD: nervousness and somnolence.

Male and Female Sexual Dysfunction

Although changes in sexual desire, sexual performance and sexual satisfaction often occur as manifestations of a psychiatric disorder, they may also be a consequence of SSRI treatment. However, reliable estimates of the incidence and severity of untoward experiences involving sexual desire, performance and satisfaction are difficult to obtain, in part because patients and healthcare providers may be reluctant to discuss them. Accordingly, estimates of the incidence of untoward sexual experience and performance cited in labeling may underestimate their actual incidence. Table 4 below displays the incidence of sexual adverse reactions reported by at least 2% of sertraline hydrochloride-treated patients and twice placebo from pooled placebo-controlled trials. For men and all indications, the most common adverse reactions (>2% and twice placebo) included: ejaculation failure, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorder, and male sexual dysfunction. For women, the most common adverse reaction (≥2% and twice placebo) was decreased libido.

Table 4: Most Common Sexual Adverse Reactions (≥2% and twice placebo) in Men or Women from Sertraline Hydrochloride Pooled Controlled Trials in Adults with MDD, OCD, PD, PTSD, SAD, and PMDD
Sertraline Hydrochloride Placebo
Men only (N=1316) (N=973)
Ejaculation failure 8% 1%
Libido decreased 7% 2%
Erectile dysfunction 4% 1%
Ejaculation disorder 3% 0%
Male sexual dysfunction 2% 0%
Women only (N=1750) (N=1320)
Libido decreased 4% 2%

Adverse Reactions in Pediatric Patients

In 281 pediatric patients treated with sertraline hydrochloride in placebo-controlled studies, the overall profile of adverse reactions was generally similar to that seen in adult studies. Adverse reactions that do not appear in Table 3 (most common adverse reactions in adults) yet were reported in at least 2% of pediatric patients and at a rate of at least twice the placebo rate include fever, hyperkinesia, urinary incontinence, aggression, epistaxis, purpura, arthralgia, decreased weight, muscle twitching, and anxiety.

Other Adverse Reactions Observed During the Premarketing Evaluation of Sertraline Hydrochloride

Other infrequent adverse reactions, not described elsewhere in the prescribing information, occurring at an incidence of < 2% in patients treated with sertraline hydrochloride were:

Cardiac disorders – tachycardia

Ear and labyrinth disorders – tinnitus

Endocrine disorders — hypothyroidism

Eye disorders — mydriasis, blurred vision

Gastrointestinal disorders – hematochezia, melena, rectal hemorrhage

General disorders and administration site conditions — edema, gait disturbance, irritability, pyrexia

Hepatobiliary disorders – elevated liver enzymes

Immune system disorders — anaphylaxis

Metabolism and nutrition disorders — diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, hypoglycemia, increased appetite

Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders – arthralgia, muscle spasms, tightness, or twitching

Nervous system disorders — ataxia, coma, convulsion, decreased alertness, hypoesthesia, lethargy, psychomotor hyperactivity, syncope

Psychiatric disorders — aggression, bruxism, confusional state, euphoric mood, hallucination

Renal and urinary disorders — hematuria

Reproductive system and breast disorders — galactorrhea, priapism, vaginal hemorrhage

Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders — bronchospasm, epistaxis, yawning

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders — alopecia; cold sweat; dermatitis; dermatitis bullous; pruritus; purpura; erythematous, follicular, or maculopapular rash; urticaria

Vascular disorders — hemorrhage, hypertension, vasodilation

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