In two-year carcinogenicity studies, zafirlukast was administered at dietary doses of 10, 100, and 300 mg/kg to mice and 40, 400, and 2000 mg/kg to rats. Male mice at an oral dose of 300 mg/kg/day (approximately 30 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults and in children on a mg/m2 basis) showed an increased incidence of hepatocellular adenomas; female mice at this dose showed a greater incidence of whole body histocytic sarcomas. Male and female rats at an oral dose of 2000 mg/kg/day (resulting in approximately 160 times the exposure to drug plus metabolites from the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults and in children based on a comparison of the plasma area-under the curve [AUC] values) of zafirlukast showed an increased incidence of urinary bladder transitional cell papillomas. Zafirlukast was not tumorigenic at oral doses up to 100 mg/kg (approximately 10 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults and in children on a mg/m2 basis) in mice and at oral doses up to 400 mg/kg (resulting in approximately 140 times the exposure to drug plus metabolites from the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults and in children based on a comparison of the plasma AUC values) in rats. The clinical significance of these findings for the long-term use of zafirlukast is unknown.
Zafirlukast showed no evidence of mutagenic potential in the reverse microbial assay, in 2 forward point mutation (CHO-HGPRT and mouse lymphoma) assays or in two assays for chromosomal aberrations (the in vitro human peripheral blood lymphocyte clastogenic assay and the in vivo rat bone marrow micronucleus assay).
No evidence of impairment of fertility and reproduction was seen in male and female rats treated with zafirlukast at oral doses up to 2000 mg/kg (approximately 410 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults on a mg/m2 basis).
No teratogenicity was observed at oral doses up to 1600 mg/kg/day in mice (approximately 160 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults on a mg/m2 basis), up to 2000 mg/kg/day in rats (approximately 410 times the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults on a mg/m2 basis) and up to 2000 mg/kg/day in cynomolgus monkeys (which resulted in approximately 20 times the exposure to drug plus metabolites compared to that from the maximum recommended daily oral dose in adults based on comparison of the AUC values). At an oral dose of 2000 mg/kg/day in rats, maternal toxicity and deaths were seen with increased incidence of early fetal resorption. Spontaneous abortions occurred in cynomolgus monkeys at the maternally toxic oral dose of 2000 mg/kg/day. There are no adequate and well-controlled trials in pregnant women. Because animal reproductive studies are not always predictive of human response, zafirlukast should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Zafirlukast is excreted in breast milk. Following repeated 40 mg twice-a-day dosing in healthy women, average steady-state concentrations of zafirlukast in breast milk were 50 ng/mL compared to 255 ng/mL in plasma. Because of the potential for tumorigenicity shown for zafirlukast in mouse and rat studies and the enhanced sensitivity of neonatal rats and dogs to the adverse effects of zafirlukast, zafirlukast should not be administered to mothers who are breast-feeding.
The safety of zafirlukast at doses of 10 mg twice daily has been demonstrated in 205 pediatric patients 5 through 11 years of age in placebo-controlled trials lasting up to six weeks and with 179 patients in this age range participating in 52 weeks of treatment in an open label extension.
The effectiveness of zafirlukast for the prophylaxis and chronic treatment of asthma in pediatric patients 5 through 11 years of age is based on an extrapolation of the demonstrated efficacy of zafirlukast in adults with asthma and the likelihood that the disease course, and pathophysiology and the drug’s effect are substantially similar between the two populations. The recommended dose for the patients 5 through 11 years of age is based upon a cross-study comparison of the pharmacokinetics of zafirlukast in adults and pediatric subjects, and on the safety profile of zafirlukast in both adult and pediatric patients at doses equal to or higher than the recommended dose.
The safety and effectiveness of zafirlukast for pediatric patients less than 5 years of age has not been established. The effect of zafirlukast on growth in children has not been determined.
Based on cross-study comparison, the clearance of zafirlukast is reduced in patients 65 years of age and older such that Cmax and AUC are approximately 2- to 3-fold greater than those of younger patients (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
A total of 8094 patients were exposed to zafirlukast in North American and European short-term placebo-controlled clinical trials. Of these, 243 patients were elderly (age 65 years and older). No overall difference in adverse events was seen in the elderly patients, except for an increase in the frequency of infections among zafirlukast-treated elderly patients compared to placebo-treated elderly patients (7.0% vs. 2.9%). The infections were not severe, occurred mostly in the lower respiratory tract, and did not necessitate withdrawal of therapy.
An open-label, uncontrolled, 4-week trial of 3759 asthma patients compared the safety and efficacy of zafirlukast 20 mg given twice daily in three patient age groups, adolescents (12-17 years), adults (18-65 years), and elderly (greater than 65 years). A higher percentage of elderly patients (n=384) reported adverse events when compared to adults and adolescents. These elderly patients showed less improvement in efficacy measures. In the elderly patients, adverse events occurring in greater than 1% of the population included headache (4.7%), diarrhea and nausea (1.8%), and pharyngitis (1.3%). The elderly reported the lowest percentage of infections of all three age groups in this study.
Adults and Children 12 years of age and older
The safety database for zafirlukast consists of more than 4000 healthy volunteers and patients who received zafirlukast, of which 1723 were asthmatics enrolled in trials of 13 weeks duration or longer. A total of 671 patients received zafirlukast for 1 year or longer. The majority of the patients were 18 years of age or older; however, 222 patients between the age of 12 and 18 years received zafirlukast.
A comparison of adverse events reported by ≥ 1% of zafirlukast-treated patients, and at rates numerically greater than in placebo-treated patients, is shown for all trials in the table below.
- Adverse Event N=4058 N=2032
Headache 12.9% 11.7%
Infection 3.5% 3.4%
Nausea 3.1% 2.0%
Diarrhea 2.8% 2.1%
Pain (generalized) 1.9% 1.7%
Asthenia 1.8% 1.6%
Abdominal Pain 1.8% 1.1%
Accidental Injury 1.6% 1.5%
Dizziness 1.6% 1.5%
Myalgia 1.6% 1.5%
Fever 1.6% 1.1%
Back Pain 1.5% 1.2%
Vomiting 1.5% 1.1%
SGPT Elevation 1.5% 1.1%
- Dyspepsia 1.3% 1.2%
The frequency of less common adverse events was comparable between zafirlukast and placebo.
Rarely, elevations of one or more liver enzymes have occurred in patients receiving zafirlukast in controlled clinical trials. In clinical trials, most of these have been observed at doses four times higher than the recommended dose. The following hepatic events (which have occurred predominantly in females) have been reported from postmarketing adverse event surveillance of patients who have received the recommended dose of zafirlukast (40 mg/day): cases of symptomatic hepatitis (with or without hyperbilirubinemia) without other attributable cause; and rarely, hyperbilirubinemia without other elevated liver function tests. In most, but not all postmarketing reports, the patient’s symptoms abated and the liver enzymes returned to normal or near normal after stopping zafirlukast. In rare cases, patients have presented with fulminant hepatitis or progressed to hepatic failure, liver transplantation and death (see WARNINGS, Hepatotoxicity and PRECAUTIONS, Information for Patients).
In clinical trials, an increased proportion of zafirlukast patients over the age of 55 years reported infections as compared to placebo-treated patients. A similar finding was not observed in other age groups studied. These infections were mostly mild or moderate in intensity and predominantly affected
the respiratory tract. Infections occurred equally in both sexes, were dose-proportional to total milligrams of zafirlukast exposure, and were associated with coadministration of inhaled corticosteroids. The clinical significance of this finding is unknown.
In rare cases, patients with asthma on zafirlukast may present with systemic eosinophilia, eosinophilic pneumonia, or clinical features of vasculitis consistent with Churg-Strauss syndrome, a condition which is often treated with systemic steroid therapy. Physicians should be alert to eosinophilia, vasculitic rash, worsening pulmonary symptoms, cardiac complications, and/or neuropathy presenting in their patients. These events have usually, but not always, been associated with reductions and/or withdrawal of steroid therapy. The possibility that zafirlukast may be associated with emergence of Churg-Strauss syndrome can neither be excluded nor established (see PRECAUTIONS, Eosinophilic Conditions).
Neuropsychiatric adverse events, including insomnia and depression, have been reported in association with zafirlukast therapy (see PRECAUTIONS, Neuropsychiatric Events). Hypersensitivity reactions, including urticaria, angioedema and rashes, with or without blistering, have also been reported in association with zafirlukast therapy. Additionally, there have been reports of patients experiencing agranulocytosis, bleeding, bruising, or edema, arthralgia, myalgia, malaise, and pruritus in association with zafirlukast therapy.
Rare cases of patients experiencing increased theophylline levels with or without clinical signs or symptoms of theophylline toxicity after the addition of zafirlukast to an existing theophylline regimen have been reported. The mechanism of the interaction between zafirlukast and theophylline in these patients is unknown and not predicted by available in vitro metabolism data and the results of two clinical drug interaction studies (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and PRECAUTIONS, Drug Interactions).
Pediatric Patients 5 through 11 years of age
Zafirlukast has been evaluated for safety in 788 pediatric patients 5 through 11 years of age. Cumulatively, 313 pediatric patients were treated with zafirlukast 10 mg twice daily or higher for at least 6 months, and 113 of them were treated for one year or longer in clinical trials. The safety profile of zafirlukast 10 mg twice daily-versus placebo in the 4- and 6-week double-blind trials was generally similar to that observed in the adult clinical trials with zafirlukast 20 mg twice daily.
In pediatric patients receiving zafirlukast in multi-dose clinical trials, the following events occurred with a frequency of ≥ 2% and more frequently than in pediatric patients who received placebo, regardless of causality assessment: headache (4.5 vs. 4.2%) and abdominal pain (2.8 vs. 2.3%).
The post-marketing experience in this age group is similar to that seen in adults, including hepatic dysfunction, which may lead to liver failure.
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