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Invega Sustenna (Paliperidone Palmitate) - Warnings and Precautions



Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of 17 placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. INVEGA® SUSTENNA® (paliperidone palmitate) is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis. [See Warnings and Precautions]



Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with atypical antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death compared to placebo. INVEGA® SUSTENNA® (paliperidone palmitate) is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis [see Boxed Warning ].

Cerebrovascular Adverse Events, Including Stroke, in Elderly Patients With Dementia-Related Psychosis

In placebo-controlled trials with risperidone, aripiprazole, and olanzapine in elderly subjects with dementia, there was a higher incidence of cerebrovascular adverse events (cerebrovascular accidents and transient ischemic attacks) including fatalities compared to placebo-treated subjects. Oral paliperidone and INVEGA® SUSTENNA® were not marketed at the time these studies were performed and are not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see also Boxed Warning and Warnings and Precautions].

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome

A potentially fatal symptom complex sometimes referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) has been reported in association with antipsychotic drugs, including paliperidone. Clinical manifestations of NMS are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmia). Additional signs may include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis), and acute renal failure.

The diagnostic evaluation of patients with this syndrome is complicated. In arriving at a diagnosis, it is important to identify cases in which the clinical presentation includes both serious medical illness (e.g., pneumonia, systemic infection, etc.) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms (EPS). Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, drug fever, and primary central nervous system pathology.

The management of NMS should include: immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy; intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring; and (3) treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available. There is no general agreement about specific pharmacological treatment regimens for uncomplicated NMS.

If a patient appears to require antipsychotic drug treatment after recovery from NMS, reintroduction of drug therapy should be closely monitored, since recurrences of NMS have been reported.

QT Prolongation

Paliperidone causes a modest increase in the corrected QT (QTc) interval. The use of paliperidone should be avoided in combination with other drugs that are known to prolong QTc including Class 1A (e.g., quinidine, procainamide) or Class III (e.g., amiodarone, sotalol) antiarrhythmic medications, antipsychotic medications (e.g., chlorpromazine, thioridazine), antibiotics (e.g., gatifloxacin, moxifloxacin), or any other class of medications known to prolong the QTc interval. Paliperidone should also be avoided in patients with congenital long QT syndrome and in patients with a history of cardiac arrhythmias.

Certain circumstances may increase the risk of the occurrence of torsade de pointes and/or sudden death in association with the use of drugs that prolong the QTc interval, including (1) bradycardia; (2) hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia; (3) concomitant use of other drugs that prolong the QTc interval; and (4) presence of congenital prolongation of the QT interval.

The effects of oral paliperidone on the QT interval were evaluated in a double-blind, active-controlled (moxifloxacin 400 mg single dose), multicenter QT study in adults with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, and in three placebo- and active-controlled 6-week, fixed-dose efficacy trials in adults with schizophrenia.

In the QT study (n = 141), the 8 mg dose of immediate-release oral paliperidone (n=50) showed a mean placebo-subtracted increase from baseline in QTcLD of 12.3 msec (90% CI: 8.9; 15.6) on day 8 at 1.5 hours post-dose. The mean steady-state peak plasma concentration for this 8 mg dose of paliperidone immediate release (Cmax ss = 113 ng/mL) was more than 2-fold the exposure observed with the maximum recommended 234 mg dose of INVEGA® SUSTENNA® administered in the deltoid muscle (predicted median Cmax ss = 50 ng/mL). In this same study, a 4 mg dose of the immediate-release oral formulation of paliperidone, for which Cmax ss = 35 ng/mL, showed an increased placebo-subtracted QTcLD of 6.8 msec (90% CI: 3.6; 10.1) on day 2 at 1.5 hours post-dose.

In the three fixed-dose efficacy studies of oral paliperidone extended release, electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements taken at various time points showed only one subject in the oral paliperidone 12 mg group had a change exceeding 60 msec at one time-point on Day 6 (increase of 62 msec).

In the four fixed-dose efficacy studies of INVEGA® SUSTENNA®, no subject experienced a change in QTcLD exceeding 60 msec and no subject had a QTcLD value of > 500 msec at any time point. In the maintenance study, no subject had a QTcLD change > 60 msec, and one subject had a QTcLD value of 507 msec (Bazett's QT corrected interval [QTcB] value of 483 msec); this latter subject also had a heart rate of 45 beats per minute.

Tardive Dyskinesia

A syndrome of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements may develop in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs. Although the prevalence of the syndrome appears to be highest among the elderly, especially elderly women, it is impossible to predict which patients will develop the syndrome. Whether antipsychotic drug products differ in their potential to cause tardive dyskinesia is unknown.

The risk of developing tardive dyskinesia and the likelihood that it will become irreversible appear to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic drugs administered to the patient increase, but the syndrome can develop after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses, although this is uncommon.

There is no known treatment for established tardive dyskinesia, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn. Antipsychotic treatment itself may suppress (or partially suppress) the signs and symptoms of the syndrome and may thus mask the underlying process. The effect of symptomatic suppression on the long-term course of the syndrome is unknown.

Given these considerations, INVEGA® SUSTENNA® should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimize the occurrence of tardive dyskinesia. Chronic antipsychotic treatment should generally be reserved for patients who suffer from a chronic illness that is known to respond to antipsychotic drugs. In patients who do require chronic treatment, the smallest dose and the shortest duration of treatment producing a satisfactory clinical response should be sought. The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.

If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear in a patient treated with INVEGA® SUSTENNA®, drug discontinuation should be considered. However, some patients may require treatment with INVEGA® SUSTENNA® despite the presence of the syndrome.

Hyperglycemia and Diabetes Mellitus

Hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma or death, has been reported in patients treated with all atypical antipsychotics. These cases were, for the most part, seen in post-marketing clinical use and epidemiologic studies, not in clinical trials, and there have been few reports of hyperglycemia or diabetes in trial subjects treated with INVEGA® SUSTENNA®. Assessment of the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and glucose abnormalities is complicated by the possibility of an increased background risk of diabetes mellitus in patients with schizophrenia and the increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus in the general population. Given these confounders, the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and hyperglycemia-related adverse events is not completely understood. However, epidemiological studies suggest an increased risk of treatment-emergent hyperglycemia-related adverse events in patients treated with the atypical antipsychotics.

Patients with an established diagnosis of diabetes mellitus who are started on atypical antipsychotics should be monitored regularly for worsening of glucose control. Patients with risk factors for diabetes mellitus (e.g., obesity, family history of diabetes) who are starting treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing at the beginning of treatment and periodically during treatment. Any patient treated with atypical antipsychotics should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycemia including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, and weakness. Patients who develop symptoms of hyperglycemia during treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing. In some cases, hyperglycemia has resolved when the atypical antipsychotic was discontinued; however, some patients required continuation of anti-diabetic treatment despite discontinuation of the suspect drug.

Weight Gain

Weight gain has been observed with INVEGA® SUSTENNA® and other atypical antipsychotics. In the 13-week study involving 234 mg initiation dosing, the proportion of subjects with an abnormal weight increase ≥ 7% showed a dose-related trend, with a 5% incidence rate in the placebo group compared with rates of 6%, 8%, and 13% in the INVEGA® SUSTENNA® 39 mg, 156 mg, and 234 mg groups, respectively. In the two 13-week, fixed-dose, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials (pooled data), the proportions of subjects meeting a weight gain criterion of ≥ 7% of body weight were 6%, 9%, and 10% in the INVEGA® SUSTENNA® 39 mg, 78 mg, and 156 mg groups, respectively, compared with 2% in the placebo group. In the 9-week, fixed-dose, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 8% and 6% in the INVEGA® SUSTENNA® 78 mg and 156 mg groups, respectively, met this criterion compared with 4% in the placebo group.

During the 33-week open-label period (9-week flexible-dose transition phase followed by a 24-week maintenance phase flexible-dose and minimum 12-week fixed dose) of the maintenance trial, 12% of INVEGA® SUSTENNA®-treated subjects met this criterion; the mean (SD) weight change from open-label baseline was +0.7 kg. In the variable length double-blind phase, this criterion (weight gain of ≥ 7% from double-blind phase to endpoint) was met by 6% of INVEGA® SUSTENNA®-treated subjects compared with 3% of placebo-treated subjects; the mean weight change from double-blind baseline was +0.5 kg for INVEGA® SUSTENNA® compared with –1.0 kg for placebo. Similar results were observed in the open-label extension phase of this study.


Like other drugs that antagonize dopamine D2 receptors, paliperidone elevates prolactin levels and the elevation persists during chronic administration. Paliperidone has a prolactin-elevating effect similar to that seen with risperidone, a drug that is associated with higher levels of prolactin than other antipsychotic drugs.

Hyperprolactinemia, regardless of etiology, may suppress hypothalamic GnRH, resulting in reduced pituitary gonadotrophin secretion. This, in turn, may inhibit reproductive function by impairing gonadal steroidogenesis in both female and male patients. Galactorrhea, amenorrhea, gynecomastia, and impotence have been reported in patients receiving prolactin-elevating compounds. Long-standing hyperprolactinemia when associated with hypogonadism may lead to decreased bone density in both female and male subjects.

Tissue culture experiments indicate that approximately one-third of human breast cancers are prolactin dependent in vitro, a factor of potential importance if the prescription of these drugs is considered in a patient with previously detected breast cancer. An increase in the incidence of pituitary gland, mammary gland, and pancreatic islet cell neoplasia (mammary adenocarcinomas, pituitary and pancreatic adenomas) was observed in the risperidone carcinogenicity studies conducted in mice and rats [see Nonclinical Toxicology]. Neither clinical studies nor epidemiologic studies conducted to date have shown an association between chronic administration of this class of drugs and tumorigenesis in humans, but the available evidence is too limited to be conclusive.

Orthostatic Hypotension and Syncope

Paliperidone can induce orthostatic hypotension and syncope in some patients because of its alpha-blocking activity. Syncope was reported in < 1% (4/1293) of subjects treated with INVEGA® SUSTENNA® in the recommended dose range of 39 mg to 234 mg in the four fixed-dose, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials compared with 0% (0/510) of subjects treated with placebo. In the four fixed-dose efficacy studies, orthostatic hypotension was reported as an adverse event by < 1% (2/1293) of INVEGA® SUSTENNA®-treated subjects compared to 0% (0/510) with placebo. Incidences of orthostatic hypotension and syncope in the long-term studies were similar to those observed in the short-term studies.

INVEGA® SUSTENNA® should be used with caution in patients with known cardiovascular disease (e.g., heart failure, history of myocardial infarction or ischemia, conduction abnormalities), cerebrovascular disease, or conditions that predispose the patient to hypotension (e.g., dehydration, hypovolemia, and treatment with antihypertensive medications). Monitoring of orthostatic vital signs should be considered in patients who are vulnerable to hypotension.

Leukopenia, Neutropenia, and Agranulocytosis

Class Effect: In clinical trial and/or postmarketing experience, events of leukopenia/neutropenia have been reported temporally related to antipsychotic agents, including INVEGA®, an oral form of paliperidone. Agranulocytosis has also been reported.

Possible risk factors for leukopenia/neutropenia include pre-existing low white blood cell count (WBC) and history of drug-induced leukopenia/neutropenia. Patients with a history of a clinically significant low WBC or a drug-induced leukopenia/neutropenia should have their complete blood count (CBC) monitored frequently during the first few months of therapy and discontinuation of INVEGA® SUSTENNA® should be considered at the first sign of a clinically significant decline in WBC in the absence of other causative factors.

Patients with clinically significant neutropenia should be carefully monitored for fever or other symptoms or signs of infection and treated promptly if such symptoms or signs occur. Patients with severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count <1000/mm3) should discontinue INVEGA® SUSTENNA® and have their WBC followed until recovery.

Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment

Somnolence, sedation, and dizziness were reported as adverse reactions in subjects treated with INVEGA® SUSTENNA® [see Adverse Reactions]. Antipsychotics, including INVEGA® SUSTENNA®, have the potential to impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Patients should be cautioned about performing activities requiring mental alertness, such as operating hazardous machinery or operating a motor vehicle, until they are reasonably certain that paliperidone therapy does not adversely affect them.


In the four fixed-dose double-blind placebo-controlled studies, <1% (1/1293) of subjects treated with INVEGA® SUSTENNA® in the recommended dose range of 39 mg to 234 mg experienced an adverse event of convulsion compared with <1% (1/510) of placebo-treated subjects who experienced an adverse event of grand mal convulsion.

Like other antipsychotic drugs, INVEGA® SUSTENNA® should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or other conditions that potentially lower the seizure threshold. Conditions that lower the seizure threshold may be more prevalent in patients 65 years or older.


Esophageal dysmotility and aspiration have been associated with antipsychotic drug use. Aspiration pneumonia is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with advanced Alzheimer's dementia. INVEGA® SUSTENNA® and other antipsychotic drugs should be used cautiously in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia.


The possibility of suicide attempt is inherent in psychotic illnesses, and close supervision of high-risk patients should accompany drug therapy.


Drugs with alpha-adrenergic blocking effects have been reported to induce priapism. Although no cases of priapism have been reported in clinical trials with INVEGA® SUSTENNA®, priapism has been reported with oral paliperidone during postmarketing surveillance. Severe priapism may require surgical intervention.

Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP)

No cases of TTP were observed during clinical studies with oral paliperidone or INVEGA® SUSTENNA®. Although cases of TTP have been reported in association with risperidone administration, the relationship to risperidone therapy is unknown.

Body Temperature Regulation

Disruption of the body's ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic agents. Appropriate care is advised when prescribing INVEGA® SUSTENNA® to patients who will be experiencing conditions which may contribute to an elevation in core body temperature, e.g., exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, receiving concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration.


INVEGA® SUSTENNA® is intended for intramuscular injection, and care must be taken to avoid inadvertent injection into a blood vessel [see Dosage and Administration].

Antiemetic Effect

An antiemetic effect was observed in preclinical studies with paliperidone. This effect, if it occurs in humans, may mask the signs and symptoms of overdosage with certain drugs or of conditions such as intestinal obstruction, Reye's syndrome, and brain tumor.

Use in Patients with Concomitant Illness

Clinical experience with INVEGA® SUSTENNA® in patients with certain concomitant illnesses is limited [see Clinical Pharmacology].

Patients with Parkinson's Disease or Dementia with Lewy Bodies are reported to have an increased sensitivity to antipsychotic medication. Manifestations of this increased sensitivity include confusion, obtundation, postural instability with frequent falls, extrapyramidal symptoms, and clinical features consistent with the neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

INVEGA® SUSTENNA® has not been evaluated or used to any appreciable extent in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable heart disease. Patients with these diagnoses were excluded from premarketing clinical trials. Because of the risk of orthostatic hypotension with INVEGA® SUSTENNA®, caution should be observed in patients with known cardiovascular disease [see Warnings and Precautions].

Monitoring: Laboratory Tests

No specific laboratory tests are recommended.



Pregnancy Category C.

There were no treatment-related effects on the offspring when pregnant rats were injected intramuscularly with paliperidone palmitate during the period of organogenesis at doses up to 160 mg/kg, which is 10 times the maximum recommended human 234 mg dose of INVEGA® SUSTENNA® on a mg/m2 basis.

In studies in pregnant rats and rabbits in which paliperidone was given orally during the period of organogenesis, there were no increases in fetal abnormalities up to the highest doses tested (10 mg/kg/day in rats and 5 mg/kg/day in rabbits, which are each 8 times the maximum recommended human dose [12 mg/day] of orally administered paliperidone [INVEGA®] on a mg/m2 basis).

In rat reproduction studies with risperidone, which is extensively converted to paliperidone in rats and humans, increases in pup deaths were seen at oral doses which are less than the maximum recommended human dose of risperidone on a mg/m2 basis (see RISPERDAL® package insert).

There are no adequate and well controlled studies of INVEGA® SUSTENNA® in pregnant women. INVEGA® SUSTENNA® should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Use of first generation antipsychotic drugs during the last trimester of pregnancy has been associated with extrapyramidal symptoms in the neonate. These symptoms are usually self-limited. It is not known whether paliperidone, when taken near the end of pregnancy, will lead to similar neonatal signs and symptoms.

Labor and Delivery

The effect of INVEGA® SUSTENNA® on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.

Nursing Mothers

In animal studies with paliperidone and in human studies with risperidone, paliperidone was excreted in the milk. Therefore, women receiving INVEGA® SUSTENNA® should not breast feed infants.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of INVEGA® SUSTENNA® in patients < 18 years of age have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of INVEGA® SUSTENNA® did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients.

This drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney and clearance is decreased in patients with renal impairment [see Clinical Pharmacology], who should be given reduced doses. 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 Dosage and Administration].

Renal Impairment

INVEGA® SUSTENNA® has not been systematically studied in patients with renal impairment [see Clinical Pharmacology]. For patients with mild renal impairment (creatinine clearance ≥ 50 mL/min to < 80 mL/min), recommended initiation of INVEGA® SUSTENNA® is with a dose of 156 mg on treatment day 1 and 117 mg one week later, both administered in the deltoid muscle. Thereafter, follow with monthly injections of 78 mg in either the deltoid or gluteal muscle.

INVEGA® SUSTENNA® is not recommended in patients with moderate or severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance < 50 mL/min).

Hepatic Impairment

INVEGA® SUSTENNA® has not been studied in patients with hepatic impairment. Based on a study with oral paliperidone, no dose adjustment is required in patients with mild or moderate hepatic impairment. Paliperidone has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

Page last updated: 2010-03-11

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