INDICATIONS AND USAGE
Nefazodone hydrochloride tablets are indicated for the treatment of depression. When deciding among the alternative treatments available for this condition, the prescriber should consider the risk of hepatic failure associated with nefazodone hydrochloride treatment (see WARNINGS). In many cases, this would lead to the conclusion that other drugs should be tried first.
The efficacy of nefazodone in the treatment of depression was established in 6 to 8 week controlled trials of outpatients and in a 6 week controlled trial of depressed inpatients whose diagnoses corresponded most closely to the DSM-III or DSM-IIIR category of major depressive disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
A major depressive episode implies a prominent and relatively persistent depressed or dysphoric mood that usually interferes with daily functioning (nearly every day for at least 2 weeks). It must include either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least five of the following nine symptoms: depressed mood, loss of interest in usual activities, significant change in weight and/or appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, increased fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or impaired concentration, a suicide attempt or suicidal ideation.
The efficacy of nefazodone in reducing relapse in patients with major depression who were judged to have had a satisfactory clinical response to 16 weeks of open-label nefazodone treatment for an acute depressive episode has been demonstrated in a randomized placebo-controlled trial (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). Although remitted patients were followed for as long as 36 weeks in the study cited (i.e., 52 weeks total), the physician who elects to use nefazodone for extended periods should periodically reevaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
When deciding among the alternative treatments available for depression, the prescriber should consider the risk of hepatic failure associated with nefazodone hydrochloride treatment (see WARNINGS).
The recommended starting dose for nefazodone hydrochloride tablets is 200 mg/day, administered in two divided doses (BID). In the controlled clinical trials establishing the antidepressant efficacy of nefazodone, the effective dose range was generally 300 to 600 mg/day. Consequently, most patients, depending on tolerability and the need for further clinical effect, should have their dose increased. Dose increases should occur in increments of 100 mg/day to 200 mg/day, again on a BID schedule, at intervals of no less than 1 week. As with all antidepressants, several weeks on treatment may be required to obtain a full antidepressant response.
Dosage for Elderly or Debilitated Patients
The recommended initial dose for elderly or debilitated patients is 100 mg/day, administered in two divided doses (BID). These patients often have reduced nefazodone clearance and/or increased sensitivity to the side effects of CNS-active drugs. It may also be appropriate to modify the rate of subsequent dose titration. As steady-state plasma levels do not change with age, the final target dose based on a careful assessment of the patient’s clinical response may be similar in healthy younger and older patients.
There is no body of evidence available from controlled trials to indicate how long the depressed patient should be treated with nefazodone. It is generally agreed, however, that pharmacological treatment for acute episodes of depression should continue for up to 6 months or longer. Whether the dose of antidepressant needed to induce remission is identical to the dose needed to maintain euthymia is unknown. Systematic evaluation of the efficacy of nefazodone has shown that efficacy is maintained for periods of up to 36 weeks following 16 weeks of open-label acute treatment (treated for 52 weeks total) at dosages that averaged 438 mg/day. For most patients, their maintenance dose was that associated with response during acute treatment. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY.) The safety of nefazodone in long-term use is supported by data from both double-blind and open-label trials involving more than 250 patients treated for at least one year.
Switching Patients to or from a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor
At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI and initiation of therapy with nefazodone. In addition, at least 7 days should be allowed after stopping nefazodone before starting an MAOI.
Nefazodone hydrochloride tablets, 50 mg, are light-pink to pink (mottled), capsule-shaped, beveled-edged tablets, debossed “7178” on one side and debossed “93” on the other side. They are available in bottles of 100.
Nefazodone hydrochloride tablets, 100 mg, are white to off-white, capsule-shaped tablets, debossed “1024” on one side and scored on the other side with a debossed “93” on one side of the score. They are available in bottles of 60.
Nefazodone hydrochloride tablets, 150 mg, are peach (mottled), capsule-shaped tablets, debossed “7113” on one side and scored on the other side with a debossed “93” on one side of the score. They are available in bottles of 60.
Nefazodone hydrochloride tablets, 200 mg, are light-yellow to yellow (mottled), capsule-shaped tablets, debossed “1025” on one side and debossed “93” on the other side. They are available in bottles of 60.
Nefazodone hydrochloride tablets, 250 mg, are white to off-white, capsule-shaped tablets, debossed “1026” on one side and debossed “93” on the other side. They are available in bottles of 60.
Store at 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) [See USP Controlled Room Temperature].
Dispense in a tight, light-resistant container as defined in the USP, with a child-resistant closure (as required).
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