Neonates exposed to sertraline hydrochloride and other SSRIs or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), late in the third trimester have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications can arise immediately upon delivery. Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of SSRIs and SNRIs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome. It should be noted that, in some cases, the clinical picture is consistent with serotonin syndrome (see WARNINGS: Serotonin Syndrome).
Infants exposed to SSRIs in pregnancy may have an increased risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN occurs in 1– 2 per 1,000 live births in the general population and is associated with substantial neonatal morbidity and mortality. Several recent epidemiologic studies suggest a positive statistical association between SSRI use (including sertraline hydrochloride) in pregnancy and PPHN. Other studies do not show a significant statistical association.
Physicians should also note the results of a prospective longitudinal study of 201 pregnant women with a history of major depression, who were either on antidepressants or had received antidepressants less than 12 weeks prior to their last menstrual period, and were in remission. Women who discontinued antidepressant medication during pregnancy showed a significant increase in relapse of their major depression compared to those women who remained on antidepressant medication throughout pregnancy.
When treating a pregnant woman with sertraline hydrochloride, the physician should carefully consider both the potential risks of taking an SSRI, along with the established benefits of treating depression with an antidepressant. This decision can only be made on a case by case basis (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Labor and Delivery
The effect of sertraline hydrochloride on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.
It is not known whether, and if so in what amount, sertraline or its metabolites are excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when sertraline hydrochloride is administered to a nursing woman.
The efficacy of sertraline hydrochloride for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder was demonstrated in a 12-week, multicenter, placebo-controlled study with 187 outpatients ages 6–17 (see Clinical Trials under CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). Safety and effectiveness in the pediatric population other than pediatric patients with OCD have not been established (see BOX WARNING and WARNINGS-Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk). Two placebo controlled trials (n=373) in pediatric patients with MDD have been conducted with sertraline hydrochloride, and the data were not sufficient to support a claim for use in pediatric patients. Anyone considering the use of sertraline hydrochloride in a child or adolescent must balance the potential risks with the clinical need.
The safety of sertraline hydrochloride use in children and adolescents with OCD, ages 6–18, was evaluated in a 12-week, multicenter, placebo-controlled study with 187 outpatients, ages 6–17, and in a flexible dose, 52 week open extension study of 137 patients, ages 6–18, who had completed the initial 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Sertraline hydrochloride was administered at doses of either 25 mg/day (children, ages 6–12) or 50 mg/day (adolescents, ages 13–18) and then titrated in weekly 25 mg/day or 50 mg/day increments, respectively, to a maximum dose of 200 mg/day based upon clinical response. The mean dose for completers was 157 mg/day. In the acute 12 week pediatric study and in the 52 week study, sertraline hydrochloride had an adverse event profile generally similar to that observed in adults.
Sertraline pharmacokinetics were evaluated in 61 pediatric patients between 6 and 17 years of age with major depressive disorder or OCD and revealed similar drug exposures to those of adults when plasma concentration was adjusted for weight (see Pharmacokinetics under CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
Approximately 600 patients with major depressive disorder or OCD between 6 and 17 years of age have received sertraline hydrochloride in clinical trials, both controlled and uncontrolled. The adverse event profile observed in these patients was generally similar to that observed in adult studies with sertraline hydrochloride (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). As with other SSRIs, decreased appetite and weight loss have been observed in association with the use of sertraline hydrochloride. In a pooled analysis of two 10-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, flexible dose (50–200 mg) outpatient trials for major depressive disorder (n=373), there was a difference in weight change between sertraline and placebo of roughly 1 kilogram, for both children (ages 6–11) and adolescents (ages 12–17), in both cases representing a slight weight loss for sertraline compared to a slight gain for placebo. At baseline the mean weight for children was 39.0 kg for sertraline and 38.5 kg for placebo. At baseline the mean weight for adolescents was 61.4 kg for sertraline and 62.5 kg for placebo. There was a bigger difference between sertraline and placebo in the proportion of outliers for clinically important weight loss in children than in adolescents. For children, about 7% had a weight loss > 7% of body weight compared to none of the placebo patients; for adolescents, about 2% had a weight loss > 7% of body weight compared to about 1% of the placebo patients. A subset of these patients who completed the randomized controlled trials (sertraline n=99, placebo n=122) were continued into a 24-week, flexible-dose, open-label, extension study. A mean weight loss of approximately 0.5 kg was seen during the first eight weeks of treatment for subjects with first exposure to sertraline during the open-label extension study, similar to mean weight loss observed among sertraline treated subjects during the first eight weeks of the randomized controlled trials. The subjects continuing in the open label study began gaining weight compared to baseline by week 12 of sertraline treatment. Those subjects who completed 34 weeks of sertraline treatment (10 weeks in a placebo controlled trial + 24 weeks open label, n=68) had weight gain that was similar to that expected using data from age-adjusted peers. Regular monitoring of weight and growth is recommended if treatment of a pediatric patient with an SSRI is to be continued long term. Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients below the age of 6 have not been established.
The risks, if any, that may be associated with sertraline hydrochloride’s use beyond 1 year in children and adolescents with OCD or major depressive disorder have not been systematically assessed. The prescriber should be mindful that the evidence relied upon to conclude that sertraline is safe for use in children and adolescents derives from clinical studies that were 10 to 52 weeks in duration and from the extrapolation of experience gained with adult patients. In particular, there are no studies that directly evaluate the effects of long-term sertraline use on the growth, development, and maturation of children and adolescents. Although there is no affirmative finding to suggest that sertraline possesses a capacity to adversely affect growth, development or maturation, the absence of such findings is not compelling evidence of the absence of the potential of sertraline to have adverse effects in chronic use (see WARNINGS – Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk).
U.S. geriatric clinical studies of sertraline hydrochloride in major depressive disorder included 663 sertraline hydrochloride-treated subjects ≥ 65 years of age, of those, 180 were ≥ 75 years of age. No overall differences in the pattern of adverse reactions were observed in the geriatric clinical trial subjects relative to those reported in younger subjects (see ADVERSE REACTIONS), and other reported experience has not identified differences in safety patterns between the elderly and younger subjects. As with all medications, greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. There were 947 subjects in placebo-controlled geriatric clinical studies of sertraline hydrochloride in major depressive disorder. No overall differences in the pattern of efficacy were observed in the geriatric clinical trial subjects relative to those reported in younger subjects.
In 354 geriatric subjects treated with sertraline hydrochloride in placebo-controlled trials, the overall profile of adverse events was generally similar to that shown in Tables 2 and 3. Urinary tract infection was the only adverse event not appearing in Tables 2 and 3 and reported at an incidence of at least 2% and at a rate greater than placebo in placebo-controlled trials.
SSRIS and SNRIs, including sertraline hydrochloride, have been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse event (see PRECAUTIONS, Hyponatremia).
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