VARENICLINE- varenicline tartrate tablet, film coated
A-S Medication Solutions
Varenicline tablets are indicated for use as an aid to smoking cessation treatment.
Smoking cessation therapies are more likely to succeed for patients who are motivated to stop smoking and who are provided additional advice and support. Provide patients with appropriate educational materials and counseling to support the quit attempt.
The patient should set a date to stop smoking. Begin varenicline tablet dosing one week before this date. Alternatively, the patient can begin varenicline tablet dosing and then quit smoking between days 8 and 35 of treatment.
Varenicline tablets should be taken orally after eating and with a full glass of water.
The recommended dose of varenicline tablets are 1 mg twice daily following a 1-week titration as follows:
|Days 1 – 3:||0.5 mg once daily|
|Days 4 – 7:||0.5 mg twice daily|
|Day 8 – end of treatment:||1 mg twice daily|
Patients should be treated with varenicline tablets for 12 weeks. For patients who have successfully stopped smoking at the end of 12 weeks, an additional course of 12 weeks treatment with varenicline tablets is recommended to further increase the likelihood of long-term abstinence.
For patients who are sure that they are not able or willing to quit abruptly, consider a gradual approach to quitting smoking with varenicline tablets. Patients should begin varenicline tablets dosing and reduce smoking by 50% from baseline within the first four weeks, by an additional 50% in the next four weeks, and continue reducing with the goal of reaching complete abstinence by 12 weeks. Continue varenicline tablets treatment for an additional 12 weeks, for a total of 24 weeks of treatment. Encourage patients to attempt quitting sooner if they feel ready [see Clinical Studies (14.5)].
Patients who are motivated to quit, and who did not succeed in stopping smoking during prior varenicline tablets therapy for reasons other than intolerability due to adverse events or who relapsed after treatment, should be encouraged to make another attempt with varenicline tablets once factors contributing to the failed attempt have been identified and addressed.
Consider a temporary or permanent dose reduction in patients who cannot tolerate the adverse effects of varenicline tablets.
Patients with Impaired Renal Function
No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with mild to moderate renal impairment. For patients with severe renal impairment (estimated creatinine clearance less than 30 mL per min), the recommended starting dose of varenicline tablets is 0.5 mg once daily. The dose may then be titrated as needed to a maximum dose of 0.5 mg twice daily. For patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing hemodialysis, a maximum dose of 0.5 mg once daily may be administered if tolerated [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6), Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
Elderly and Patients with Impaired Hepatic Function
No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with hepatic impairment. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function [see Use in Specific Populations (8.5)].
Modified capsule-shaped, biconvex, film-coated tablets: 0.5 mg (white, engraved “APO” on one side and “VAR” over “0.5” on the other side) and 1 mg (blue, engraved “APO” on one side and “VAR” over “1” on the other side).
Varenicline tablets are contraindicated in patients with a known history of serious hypersensitivity reactions or skin reactions to varenicline.
Serious neuropsychiatric adverse events have been reported in patients being treated with varenicline tablets [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. These postmarketing reports have included changes in mood (including depression and mania), psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, homicidal ideation, aggression, hostility, agitation, anxiety, and panic, as well as suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide. Some patients who stopped smoking may have been experiencing symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, including depressed mood. Depression, rarely including suicidal ideation, has been reported in smokers undergoing a smoking cessation attempt without medication. However, some of these adverse events occurred in patients taking varenicline tablets who continued to smoke.
Neuropsychiatric adverse events occurred in patients without and with pre-existing psychiatric disease; some patients experienced worsening of their psychiatric illnesses. Some neuropsychiatric adverse events, including unusual and sometimes aggressive behavior directed to oneself or others, may have been worsened by concomitant use of alcohol [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), Adverse Reactions (6.2)]. Observe patients for the occurrence of neuropsychiatric adverse events. Advise patients and caregivers that the patient should stop taking varenicline tablets and contact a healthcare provider immediately if agitation, depressed mood, or changes in behavior or thinking that are not typical for the patient are observed, or if the patient develops suicidal ideation or suicidal behavior. The healthcare provider should evaluate the severity of the symptoms and the extent to which the patient is benefiting from treatment, and consider options including dose reduction, continued treatment under closer monitoring, or discontinuing treatment. In many post marketing cases, resolution of symptoms after discontinuation of varenicline tablets was reported. However, the symptoms persisted in some cases; therefore, ongoing monitoring and supportive care should be provided until symptoms resolve.
The neuropsychiatric safety of varenicline tablets was evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, active and placebo-controlled study that included patients without a history of psychiatric disorder (non-psychiatric cohort, N=3912) and patients with a history of psychiatric disorder (psychiatric cohort, N=4003). In the non-psychiatric cohort, varenicline tablets were not associated with an increased incidence of clinically significant neuropsychiatric adverse events in a composite endpoint comprising anxiety, depression, feeling abnormal, hostility, agitation, aggression, delusions, hallucinations, homicidal ideation, mania, panic, and irritability. In the psychiatric cohort, there were more events reported in each treatment group compared to the non-psychiatric cohort, and the incidence of events in the composite endpoint was higher for each of the active treatments compared to placebo: Risk Differences (RDs) (95%CI) vs. placebo were 2.7% (-0.05, 5.4) for varenicline tablets, 2.2% (-0.5, 4.9) for bupropion, and 0.4% (-2.2, 3.0) for transdermal nicotine. In the non-psychiatric cohort, neuropsychiatric adverse events of a serious nature were reported in 0.1% of varenicline-treated patients and 0.4% of placebo-treated patients. In the psychiatric cohort, neuropsychiatric events of a serious nature were reported in 0.6% of varenicline-treated patients, with 0.5% involving psychiatric hospitalization. In placebo-treated patients, serious neuropsychiatric events occurred in 0.6%, with 0.2% requiring psychiatric hospitalization [see Clinical Studies (14.10)].
During clinical trials and the postmarketing experience, there have been reports of seizures in patients treated with varenicline tablets. Some patients had no history of seizures, whereas others had a history of seizure disorder that was remote or well-controlled. In most cases, the seizure occurred within the first month of therapy. Weigh this potential risk against the potential benefits before prescribing varenicline tablets in patients with a history of seizures or other factors that can lower the seizure threshold. Advise patients to discontinue varenicline tablets and contact a healthcare provider immediately if they experience a seizure while on treatment [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].
There have been postmarketing reports of patients experiencing increased intoxicating effects of alcohol while taking varenicline tablets. Some cases described unusual and sometimes aggressive behavior and were often accompanied by amnesia for the events. Advise patients to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume while taking varenicline tablets until they know whether varenicline tablets affect their tolerance for alcohol [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].
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