Zortress (Page 2 of 12)

2.5 Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) — Tacrolimus in Liver Transplant Patients

Both tacrolimus doses and the target range for whole blood trough concentrations should be reduced, when given in a regimen with Zortress, in order to minimize the potential risk of nephrotoxicity [ s ee Warnings and Precautions (5. 6 ) , Clinical Pharmacology (12. 9 )] .

The recommended tacrolimus therapeutic range when administered with Zortress are whole blood trough (C-0h) concentrations of 3 to 5 ng/mL by three weeks after the first dose of Zortress (approximately Month 2) and through Month 12 posttransplant.

The median tacrolimus trough concentrations observed in the clinical trial ranged between 8.6 to 9.5 ng/mL at Weeks 2 and 4 posttransplant (prior to initiation of everolimus). The median tacrolimus trough concentrations ranged between 7 to 8.1 ng/mL at Weeks 5 and 6 posttransplant, between 5.2 to 5.6 ng/mL at Months 2 and 3 posttransplant, and between 4.3 to 4.9 ng/mL between Months 4 and 12 posttransplant [ see Clinical Pharmacology (12. 9 ) , Clinical Studies (14.2) ].

Tacrolimus is to be administered as oral capsules twice daily unless intravenous administration of tacrolimus cannot be avoided.

In liver transplant patients, the tacrolimus dose should be based on tacrolimus whole blood trough concentrations [ s ee Clinical Pharmacology (12. 9 )] .

In liver transplantation, there are limited data regarding dosing Zortress with reduced tacrolimus trough concentrations of 3 to 5 ng/mL after 12 months. Prior to dose reduction of tacrolimus it should be ascertained that the steady-state everolimus whole blood trough concentration is at least 3 ng/mL. Unlike the interaction between cyclosporine and everolimus, tacrolimus does not affect everolimus trough concentrations, and consequently, everolimus concentrations do not decrease if the tacrolimus exposure is reduced.

2.6 Administration

Zortress tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water and not crushed before use.

Administer Zortress consistently approximately 12 hours apart with or without food to minimize variability in absorption and at the same time as cyclosporine or tacrolimus [ s ee Clinical Pharmacology (12. 3 ) ] .

2.7 Hepatic Impairment

Whole blood trough concentrations of everolimus should be closely monitored in patients with impaired hepatic function. For patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A), the initial daily dose should be reduced by approximately one-third of the normally recommended daily dose. For patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh B or C), the initial daily dose should be reduced to approximately one-half of the normally recommended daily dose. Further dose adjustment and/or dose titration should be made if a patient’s whole blood trough concentration of everolimus, as measured by an LC/MS/MS assay, is not within the target trough concentration range of 3 to 8 ng/mL [ s ee Clinical Pharmacology (12. 6 )] .


Zortress is available as 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 0.75 mg, and 1 mg tablets.

Table 1. Description of Zortress (everolimus) Tablets
Dosage Strength 0.25 mg 0.5 mg 0.75 mg 1 mg
Appearance White to yellowish, marbled, round, flat tablets with bevelled edge
Imprint “C” on one side and “NVR” on the other “CH” on one side and “NVR” on the other “CL” on one side and “NVR” on the other “CU” on one side and “NVR” on the other


4.1 Hypersensitivity Reactions

Zortress is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to everolimus, sirolimus, or to components of the drug product.


5.1 Management of Immunosuppression

Only physicians experienced in management of systemic immunosuppressant therapy in transplantation should prescribe Zortress. Patients receiving the drug should be managed in facilities equipped and staffed with adequate laboratory and supportive medical resources. The physician responsible for the maintenance therapy should have complete information requisite for the follow-up of the patient. In limited data with the complete elimination of calcineurin inhibition (CNI), there was an increased risk of acute rejection.

5.2 Lymphomas and Other Malignancies

Patients receiving immunosuppressants, including Zortress, are at increased risk of developing lymphomas and other malignancies, particularly of the skin. The risk appears to be related to the intensity and duration of immunosuppression rather than to the use of any specific agent.

As usual for patients with increased risk for skin cancer, exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet light should be limited by wearing protective clothing and using a sunscreen with a high protection factor.

5.3 Serious Infections

Patients receiving immunosuppressants, including Zortress, are at increased risk of developing bacterial, viral, fungal, and protozoal infections, including opportunistic infections [ s ee Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1 3 ) , Adverse Reactions (6. 1, 6. 2)] . These infections may lead to serious, including fatal, outcomes. Because of the danger of over-immunosuppression, which can cause increased susceptibility to infection, combination immunosuppressant therapy should be used with caution.

Antimicrobial prophylaxis for Pneumocystis jiroveci (carinii) pneumonia and prophylaxis for cytomegalovirus (CMV) is recommended in transplant recipients.

5.4 Kidney Graft Thrombosis

An increased risk of kidney arterial and venous thrombosis, resulting in graft loss, has been reported, usually within the first 30 days posttransplantation [ s ee Boxed Warning] .

5.5 Hepatic Artery Thrombosis

Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors are associated with an increase in hepatic artery thrombosis (HAT). Reported cases mostly have occurred within the first 30 days posttransplant and most also lead to graft loss or death. Therefore, Zortress should not be administered earlier than 30 days after liver transplant.

5.6 Zortress and Calcineurin Inhibitor-Induced Nephrotoxicity

In kidney transplant recipients, Zortress with standard dose cyclosporine increases the risk of nephrotoxicity resulting in a lower glomerular filtration rate. Reduced doses of cyclosporine are required for use in combination with Zortress in order to reduce renal dysfunction [ see Boxed Warning, Indications and Usage (1. 1 ), Clinical Pharmacology (12. 8 )] .

In liver transplant recipients, Zortress has not been studied with standard dose tacrolimus. Reduced doses of tacrolimus should be used in combination with Zortress in order to minimize the potential risk of nephrotoxicity [ s ee Indications and Usage (1.2), Clinical Pharmacology (12. 9 )] .

Renal function should be monitored during the administration of Zortress. Consider switching to other immunosuppressive therapies if renal function does not improve after dose adjustments or if the dysfunction is thought to be drug related. Caution should be exercised when using other drugs which are known to impair renal function.

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