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Prolia (Denosumab) - Warnings and Precautions



Drug Products with Same Active Ingredient

Prolia contains the same active ingredient (denosumab) found in Xgeva. Patients receiving Prolia should not receive Xgeva.


Clinically significant hypersensitivity including anaphylaxis has been reported with Prolia. Symptoms have included hypotension, dyspnea, throat tightness, facial and upper airway edema, pruritus, and urticaria. If an anaphylactic or other clinically significant allergic reaction occurs, initiate appropriate therapy and discontinue further use of Prolia. [see Contraindications Adverse Reactions].

Hypocalcemia and Mineral Metabolism

Hypocalcemia may be exacerbated by the use of Prolia. Pre-existing hypocalcemia must be corrected prior to initiating therapy with Prolia. In patients predisposed to hypocalcemia and disturbances of mineral metabolism (e.g. history of hypoparathyroidism, thyroid surgery, parathyroid surgery, malabsorption syndromes, excision of small intestine, severe renal impairment [creatinine clearance <30 mL/min] or receiving dialysis), clinical monitoring of calcium and mineral levels (phosphorus and magnesium) is highly recommended.

Hypocalcemia following Prolia administration is a significant risk in patients with severe renal impairment [creatinine clearance <30 mL/min] or receiving dialysis. These patients may also develop marked elevations of serum parathyroid hormone (PTH). Instruct all patients with severe renal impairment, including those receiving dialysis, about the symptoms of hypocalcemia and the importance of maintaining calcium levels with adequate calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

Adequately supplement all patients with calcium and vitamin D [see Dosage and Administration Contraindications (4.1), Adverse Reactions (6.1), and Patient Counseling Information].

Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), which can occur spontaneously, is generally associated with tooth extraction and/or local infection with delayed healing. ONJ has been reported in patients receiving denosumab [see Adverse Reactions ]. A routine oral exam should be performed by the prescriber prior to initiation of Prolia treatment.  A dental examination with appropriate preventive dentistry should be considered prior to treatment with Prolia in patients with risk factors for ONJ such as invasive dental procedures (e.g. tooth extraction, dental implants, oral surgery), diagnosis of cancer, concomitant therapies (e.g. chemotherapy, corticosteroids), poor oral hygiene, and co-morbid disorders (e.g. periodontal and/or other pre-existing dental disease, anemia, coagulopathy, infection, ill-fitting dentures).  Good oral hygiene practices should be maintained during treatment with Prolia.

For patients requiring invasive dental procedures, clinical judgment of the treating physician and/or oral surgeon should guide the management plan of each patient based on individual benefit-risk assessment.

Patients who are suspected of having or who develop ONJ while on Prolia should receive care by a dentist or an oral surgeon. In these patients, extensive dental surgery to treat ONJ may exacerbate the condition. Discontinuation of Prolia therapy should be considered based on individual benefit-risk assessment.

Atypical Subtrochanteric and Diaphyseal FemoralFractures

Atypical low-energy or low trauma fractures of the shaft have been reported in patients receiving Prolia [see Adverse Reactions]. These fractures can occur anywhere in the femoral shaft from just below the lesser trochanter to above the supracondylar flare and are transverse or short oblique in orientation without evidence of comminution. Causality has not been established as these fractures also occur in osteoporotic patients who have not been treated with anti-resorptive agents.

Atypical femoral fractures most commonly occur with minimal or no trauma to the affected area. They may be bilateral and many patients report prodromal pain in the affected area, usually presenting as dull, aching thigh pain, weeks to months before a complete fracture occurs.  A number of reports note that patients were also receiving treatment with glucocorticoids (e.g. prednisone) at the time of fracture.

During Prolia treatment, patients should be advised to report new or unusual thigh, hip, or groin pain. Any patient who presents with thigh or groin pain should be suspected of having an atypical fracture and should be evaluated to rule out an incomplete femur fracture. Patient presenting with an atypical femur fracture should also be assessed for symptoms and signs of fracture in the contralateral limb. Interruption of Prolia therapy should be considered, pending a risk/benefit assessment, on an individual basis.

Serious Infections

In a clinical trial of over 7800 women with postmenopausal osteoporosis, serious infections leading to hospitalization were reported more frequently in the Prolia group than in the placebo group [see Adverse Reactions ]. Serious skin infections, as well as infections of the abdomen, urinary tract, and ear, were more frequent in patients treated with Prolia. Endocarditis was also reported more frequently in Prolia-treated patients. The incidence of opportunistic infections was similar between placebo and Prolia groups, and the overall incidence of infections was similar between the treatment groups. Advise patients to seek prompt medical attention if they develop signs or symptoms of severe infection, including cellulitis. 

Patients on concomitant immunosuppressant agents or with impaired immune systems may be at increased risk for serious infections.  Consider the benefit-risk profile in such patients before treating with Prolia. In patients who develop serious infections while on Prolia, prescribers should assess the need for continued Prolia therapy.

Dermatologic Adverse Reactions

In a large clinical trial of over 7800 women with postmenopausal osteoporosis, epidermal and dermal adverse events such as dermatitis, eczema, and rashes occurred at a significantly higher rate in the Prolia group compared to the placebo group. Most of these events were not specific to the injection site [see Adverse Reactions]. Consider discontinuing Prolia if severe symptoms develop.

Musculoskeletal Pain

In post-marketing experience, severe and occasionally incapacitating bone, joint, and/or muscle pain has been reported in patients taking Prolia [see Adverse Reactions ]. The time to onset of symptoms varied from one day to several months after starting Prolia. Consider discontinuing use if severe symptoms develop [see Patient Counseling Information].

Suppressionof Bone Turnover

In clinical trials in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis, treatment with Prolia resulted in significant suppression of bone remodeling as evidenced by markers of bone turnover and bone histomorphometry [see Clinical Pharmacology and Clinical Studies]. The significance of these findings and the effect of long-term treatment with Prolia are unknown. The long-term consequences of the degree of suppression of bone remodeling observed with Prolia may contribute to adverse outcomes such as osteonecrosis of the jaw, atypical fractures, and delayed fracture healing. Monitor patients for these consequences.



Pregnancy Category X

Risk Summary
Prolia may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman based on findings in animals.  In utero denosumab exposure in cynomolgus monkeys resulted in increased fetal loss, stillbirths, and postnatal mortality, along with evidence of absent lymph nodes, abnormal bone growth and decreased neonatal growth.  Prolia is contraindicated in women who are pregnant.  If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to a fetus.

Women who become pregnant during Prolia treatment are encouraged to enroll in Amgen’s Pregnancy Surveillance Program.  Patients or their physicians should call 1-800-77-AMGEN (1-800-772-6436) to enroll.

Clinical Considerations
The effects of Prolia on the fetus are likely to be greater during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.  Monoclonal antibodies, such as denosumab, are transported across the placenta in a linear fashion as pregnancy progresses, with the largest amount transferred during the third trimester.  If the patient becomes pregnant during Prolia therapy, treatment should be discontinued and the patient should consult their physician.

Animal Data
The effects of denosumab on prenatal development have been studied in both cynomolgus monkeys and genetically engineered mice in which RANK ligand (RANKL) expression was turned off by gene removal (a “knockout mouse”).  In cynomolgus monkeys dosed subcutaneously with denosumab throughout pregnancy at a pharmacologically active dose, there was increased fetal loss during gestation, stillbirths, and postnatal mortality.  Other findings in offspring included absence of axillary, inguinal, mandibular, and mesenteric lymph nodes; abnormal bone growth, reduced bone strength, reduced hematopoiesis, dental dysplasia and tooth malalignment; and decreased neonatal growth.  At birth out to 1 month of age, infants had measurable blood levels of denosumab (22-621% of maternal levels). 

Following a recovery period from birth out to 6 months of age, the effects on bone quality and strength returned to normal; there were no adverse effects on tooth eruption, though dental dysplasia was still apparent; axillary and inguinal lymph nodes remained absent, while mandibular and mesenteric lymph nodes were present, though small; and minimal to moderate mineralization in multiple tissues was seen in one recovery animal.  There was no evidence of maternal harm prior to labor; adverse maternal effects occurred infrequently during labor.  Maternal mammary gland development was normal.  There was no fetal NOAEL (no observable adverse effect level) established for this study because only one dose of 50 mg/kg was evaluated. 

In RANKL knockout mice, absence of RANKL (the target of denosumab) also caused fetal lymph node agenesis and led to postnatal impairment of dentition and bone growth.  Pregnant RANKL knockout mice showed altered maturation of the maternal mammary gland, leading to impaired lactation [see Use in Specific Populations and Nonclinical Toxicology].

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether Prolia is excreted into human milk.  Measurable concentrations of denosumab were present in the maternal milk of cynomolgus monkeys up to 1 month after the last dose of denosumab (≤ 0.5% milk:serum ratio).  Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from Prolia, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Maternal exposure to Prolia during pregnancy may impair mammary gland development and lactation based on animal studies in pregnant mice lacking the RANK/RANKL signaling pathway that have shown altered maturation of the maternal mammary gland, leading to impaired lactation postpartum.  However in cynomolgus monkeys treated with denosumab throughout pregnancy, maternal mammary gland development was normal, with no impaired lactation.  Mammary gland histopathology at 6 months of age was normal in female offspring exposed to denosumab in utero; however, development and lactation have not been fully evaluated [see Use in Specific Populations and Nonclinical Toxicology].

Pediatric Use

Prolia is not recommended in pediatric patients.  The safety and effectiveness of Prolia in pediatric patients have not been established.

Treatment with Prolia may impair bone growth in children with open growth plates and may inhibit eruption of dentition.  In neonatal rats, inhibition of RANKL (the target of Prolia therapy) with a construct of osteoprotegerin bound to Fc (OPG-Fc) at doses ≤ 10 mg/kg was associated with inhibition of bone growth and tooth eruption.  Adolescent primates treated with denosumab at doses 10 and 50 times (10 and 50 mg/kg dose) higher than the recommended human dose of 60 mg administered every 6 months, based on body weight (mg/kg), had abnormal growth plates, considered to be consistent with the pharmacological activity of denosumab.

Cynomolgus monkeys exposed in utero to denosumab exhibited bone abnormalities, an absence of axillary, inguinal, mandibular, and mesenteric lymph nodes, reduced hematopoiesis, tooth malalignment, and decreased neonatal growth.  Some bone abnormalities recovered once exposure was ceased following birth; however, axillary and inguinal lymph nodes remained absent 6 months post-birth [see Use in Specific Populations ].

Geriatric Use

Of the total number of patients in clinical studies of Prolia, 9943 patients (76%) were ≥ 65 years old, while 3576 (27%) were ≥ 75 years old.  Of the patients in the osteoporosis study in men, 133 patients (55%) were ≥ 65 years old, while 39 patients (16%) were ≥ 75 years old.  No overall differences in safety or efficacy were observed between these patients and younger patients and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

Renal Impairment

No dose adjustment is necessary in patients with renal impairment.

In clinical studies, patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance < 30 mL/min) or receiving dialysis were at greater risk of developing hypocalcemia.  Consider the benefit-risk profile when administering Prolia to patients with severe renal impairment or receiving dialysis.  Clinical monitoring of calcium and mineral levels (phosphorus and magnesium) is highly recommended.  Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D is important in patients with severe renal impairment or receiving dialysis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), Adverse Reactions (6.1), and Clinical Pharmacology].

Hepatic Impairment

No clinical studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of hepatic impairment on the pharmacokinetics of Prolia.


Prolia may cause fetal harm [see Use in Specific Populations].

The extent to which denosumab is present in seminal fluid is unknown.  There is a potential for fetal exposure to denosumab when a man treated with Prolia has unprotected sexual intercourse with a pregnant partner.  The risk of fetal harm is likely to be low.  Advise men being treated with Prolia who have a pregnant partner of this potential risk.

Page last updated: 2014-06-30

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