WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Savella is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor (SNRI), similar to some drugs used for the treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Patients, both adult and pediatric, with depression or other psychiatric disorders may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking these medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants, including drugs that inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin, may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment.
In the placebo-controlled clinical trials of adults with fibromyalgia, among the patients who had a history of depression at treatment initiation, the incidence of suicidal ideation was 0.5% in patients treated with placebo, 0% in patients treated with Savella 100 mg/day, and 1.3% in patients treated with Savella 200 mg/day. No suicides occurred in the short-term or longer-term (up to 1 year) fibromyalgia trials.
Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of drugs used to treat depression (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18-24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with these drugs compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in suicidality risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults age 65 and older.
The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of 9 drugs used to treat depression in over 4400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk of differences (drug versus placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1.
Table 1. Risk Differences (Drug – Placebo) in the number of Cases of Suicidality, per 1000 patients treated
| Age Range || Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated |
|< 18||14 additional cases|
|18-24||5 additional cases|
| Decreases Compared to Placebo |
|25-64||1 fewer case|
|≥ 65||6 fewer cases|
No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.
It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.
All patients being treated with drugs inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.
The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with drugs inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.
Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients who may experience worsening depressive symptoms, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe or abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms.
If the decision has been made to discontinue treatment due to worsening depressive symptoms or emergent suicidality, medication should be tapered, as rapidly as is feasible, but with recognition that abrupt discontinuation can produce withdrawal symptoms [see Dosage and Administration—Recommended Dosing Dosage—Discontinuing Savella ( 2.4), and Warnings and Precautions—Discontinuation of Treatment with Savella ( 5.7 )].
Families and caregivers of patients being treated with drugs inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and/or serotonin for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to health care providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for Savella should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur with agents that inhibit serotonin reuptake, including Savella, particularly with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs (including triptans and tramadol) and with drugs which impair metabolism of serotonin (including MAOIs). Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., hyperreflexia, incoordination) and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
The concomitant use of Savella with MAOIs is contraindicated [see Contraindications ].
If concomitant treatment of Savella with a 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonist (triptan) is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases [see Drug Interactions (7)].
The concomitant use of Savella with serotonin precursors (such as tryptophan) is not recommended [see Drug Interactions (7)].
Effects on Blood Pressure
Inhibition of the reuptake of norepinephrine (NE) and serotonin (5-HT) can lead to cardiovascular effects. SNRIs, including Savella, have been associated with reports of increase in blood pressure.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical pharmacology study in healthy subjects designed to evaluate the effects of milnacipran on various parameters, including blood pressure at supratherapeutic doses, there was evidence of mean increases in supine blood pressure at doses up to 300 mg twice daily (600 mg/day). At the highest 300 mg twice daily dose, the mean increase in systolic blood pressure was up to 8.1 mm Hg for the placebo group and up to 10.0 mm Hg for the Savella treated group over the 12 hour steady state dosing interval. The corresponding mean increase in diastolic blood pressure over this interval was up to 4.6 mm Hg for placebo and up to 11.5 mm Hg for the Savella treated group.
In the 3-month placebo-controlled fibromyalgia clinical trials, Savella treatment was associated with mean increases of up to 3.1 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) [ see Adverse Reactions ].
In the placebo-controlled trials, among fibromyalgia patients who were non-hypertensive at baseline, approximately twice as many patients in the Savella treatment arms became hypertensive at the end of the study (SBP ≥ 140 mmHg or DBP ≥ 90 mmHg) compared with the placebo patients: 7.2% of patients in the placebo arm versus 19.5% of patients treated with Savella 100 mg/day and 16.6% of patients treated with Savella 200 mg/day. Among patients who met systolic criteria for pre-hypertension at baseline (SBP 120-139 mmHg), more patients became hypertensive at the end of the study in the Savella treatment arms than placebo: 9% of patients in the placebo arm versus 14% in both the Savella 100 mg/day and the Savella 200 mg/day treatment arms.
Among fibromyalgia patients who were hypertensive at baseline, more patients in the Savella treatment arms had a >15 mmHg increase in SBP than placebo at the end of the study: 1% of patients in the placebo arm versus 7% in the Savella 100 mg/day and 2% in the Savella 200 mg/day treatment arms. Similarly, more patients who were hypertensive at baseline and were treated with Savella had DBP increases > 10 mmHg than placebo at the end of study: 3% of patients in the placebo arm versus 8% in the Savella 100 mg/day and 6% in the Savella 200 mg/day treatment arms.
Sustained increases in SBP (increase of ≥ 15 mmHg on three consecutive post-baseline visits) occurred in 2% of placebo patients versus 9% of patients receiving Savella 100 mg/day and 6% of patients receiving Savella 200 mg/day. Sustained increases in DBP (increase of ≥ 10 mmHg on 3 consecutive post-baseline visits) occurred in 4% of patients receiving placebo versus 13% of patients receiving Savella 100 mg/day and 10% of patients receiving Savella 200 mg/day.
Sustained increases in blood pressure could have adverse consequences. Cases of elevated blood pressure requiring immediate treatment have been reported.
Concomitant use of Savella with drugs that increase blood pressure and pulse has not been evaluated and such combinations should be used with caution [see Drug Interactions (7)].
Effects of Savella on blood pressure in patients with significant hypertension or cardiac disease have not been systematically evaluated. Savella should be used with caution in these patients.
Blood pressure should be measured prior to initiating treatment and periodically measured throughout Savella treatment. Pre-existing hypertension and other cardiovascular disease should be treated before starting therapy with Savella. For patients who experience a sustained increase in blood pressure while receiving Savella, either dose reduction or discontinuation should be considered.
Effects on Heart Rate
SNRIs have been associated with reports of increase in heart rate.
In clinical trials, relative to placebo, Savella treatment was associated with mean increases in pulse rate of approximately 7 to 8 beats per minute [ see Adverse Reactions (6.2, 6.3) ].
Increases in pulse ≥ 20 bpm occurred more frequently in Savella-treated patients when compared to placebo: 0.3% in the placebo arm versus 8% in the Savella 100 mg/day and 8% in the 200 mg/day treatment arms. The effect of Savella on heart rate did not appear to increase with increasing dose.
Savella has not been systematically evaluated in patients with a cardiac rhythm disorder.
Heart rate should be measured prior to initiating treatment and periodically measured throughout Savella treatment. Pre-existing tachyarrhythmias and other cardiac disease should be treated before starting therapy with Savella. For patients who experience a sustained increase in heart rate while receiving Savella, either dose reduction or discontinuation should be considered.
Savella has not been systematically evaluated in patients with a seizure disorder. In clinical trials evaluating Savella in patients with fibromyalgia, seizures/convulsions have not been reported. However, seizures have been reported infrequently in patients treated with Savella for disorders other than fibromyalgia. Savella should be prescribed with care in patients with a history of a seizure disorder.
In the placebo-controlled fibromyalgia trials, increases in the number of patients treated with Savella with mild elevations of ALT or AST (1-3 times the upper limit of normal, ULN) were observed. Increases in ALT were more frequently observed in the patients treated with Savella 100 mg/day (6%) and Savella 200 mg/day (7%), compared to the patients treated with placebo (3%). One patient receiving Savella 100 mg/day (0.2%) had an increase in ALT greater than 5 times the upper limit of normal but did not exceed 10 times the upper limit of normal. Increases in AST were more frequently observed in the patients treated with Savella 100 mg/day (3%) and Savella 200 mg/day (5%) compared to the patients treated with placebo (2%).
The increases of bilirubin observed in the fibromyalgia clinical trials were not clinically significant.
No case met the criteria of elevated ALT > 3x ULN and associated with an increase in bilirubin ≥ 2x ULN.
There have been cases of increased liver enzymes and reports of severe liver injury, including fulminant hepatitis with milnacipran from foreign postmarketing experience. In the cases of severe liver injury there were significant underlying clinical conditions and/or the use of multiple concomitant medications. Because of underreporting, it is impossible to provide an accurate estimate of the true incidence of these reactions.
Savella should be discontinued in patients who develop jaundice or other evidence of liver dysfunction. Treatment with Savella should not be resumed unless another cause can be established.
Savella should ordinarily not be prescribed to patients with substantial alcohol use or evidence of chronic liver disease.
Discontinuation of Treatment with Savella
Withdrawal symptoms have been observed in clinical trials following discontinuation of milnacipran, as with other SNRIs and SSRIs.
During marketing of milnacipran, and other SNRIs and SSRIs, there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events indicative of withdrawal and physical dependence occurring upon discontinuation of these drugs, particularly when discontinuation is abrupt. The adverse events include the following: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, hypomania, tinnitus, and seizures. Although these events are generally self-limiting, some have been reported to be severe.
Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with Savella. Savella should be tapered and not abruptly discontinued after extended use. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate [see Dosage and Administration ].
Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including Savella. In many cases, this hyponatremia appears to be the result of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH). Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SNRIs, SSRIs, or Savella. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are otherwise volume-depleted may be at greater risk [ see Geriatric Use (8.5) ]. Discontinuation of Savella should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia.
Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.
SSRIs and SNRIs, including Savella, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anti-coagulants may add to this risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Bleeding events related to SSRIs and SNRIs use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages.
Patients should be cautioned about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of Savella and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation.
Activation of Mania
No activation of mania or hypomania was reported in the clinical trials evaluating effects of Savella in patients with fibromyalgia. However those clinical trials excluded patients with current major depressive episode. Activation of mania and hypomania have been reported in patients with mood disorders who were treated with other similar drugs for major depressive disorder. As with these other agents, Savella should be used cautiously in patients with a history of mania.
Patients with a History of Dysuria
Because of their noradrenergic effect, SNRIs including Savella, can affect urethral resistance and micturition. In the controlled fibromyalgia trials, dysuria occurred more frequently in patients treated with Savella (1%) than in placebo-treated patients (0.5%). Caution is advised in use of Savella in patients with a history of dysuria, notably in male patients with prostatic hypertrophy, prostatitis, and other lower urinary tract obstructive disorders. Male patients are more prone to genitourinary adverse effects, such as dysuria or urinary retention, and may experience testicular pain or ejaculation disorders.
Controlled Narrow-Angle Glaucoma
Mydriasis has been reported in association with SNRIs and Savella; therefore, Savella should be used cautiously in patients with controlled narrow-angle glaucoma.
Do not use Savella in patients with Uncontrolled Narrow-Angle Glaucoma [see Contraindications ].
Concomitant Use with Alcohol
In clinical trials, more patients treated with Savella developed elevated transaminases than did placebo treated patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6) ]. Because it is possible that milnacipran may aggravate pre-existing liver disease, Savella should not be prescribed to patients with substantial alcohol use or evidence of chronic liver disease.
Allergy to FD&C Yellow No. 5
This product contains FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) which may cause allergic-type reactions (including bronchial asthma) in susceptible persons. Although the overall incidence of FD&C Yellow No. 5 (tartrazine) sensitivity in the general population is low, it is frequently seen in patients who also have aspirin hypersensitivity.
USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Pregnancy Category C
Milnacipran increased the incidence of dead fetuses in utero in rats at doses of 5 mg/kg/day (0.25 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). Administration of milnacipran to mice and rabbits during the period of organogenesis did not result in embryotoxicity or teratogenicity at doses up to 125 mg/kg/day in mice (3 times the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD] of 200 mg/day on a mg/m2 basis) and up to 60 mg/kg/day in rabbits (6 times the MRHD of 200 mg/day on a mg m2 basis). In rabbits, the incidence of the skeletal variation, extra single rib, was increased following administration of milnacipran at 15 mg/kg/day during the period of organogenesis.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Savella should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Neonates exposed to dual reuptake inhibitors of serotonin and norepinephrine, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors late in the third trimester have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications can arise immediately upon delivery. Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of these classes of drugs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome. It should be noted that, in some cases, the clinical picture is consistent with serotonin syndrome [ see Warnings and Precautions (5.2) ].
In rats, a decrease in pup body weight and viability on postpartum day 4 were observed when milnacipran, at a dose of 5 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.2 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis), was administered orally to rats during late gestation. The no-effect dose for maternal and offspring toxicity was 2.5 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.1 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis).
Labor and Delivery
The effect of milnacipran on labor and delivery is unknown. The use of Savella during labor and delivery is not recommended.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in nursing mothers. It is not known if milnacipran is excreted in human milk. Studies in animals have shown that milnacipran or its metabolites are excreted in breast milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from milnacipran, a decision should be made whether to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother. Because the safety of Savella in infants is not known, nursing while on Savella is not recommended.
Safety and effectiveness of Savella in a fibromyalgia pediatric population below the age of 17 have not been established [ see Box Warning and Warnings and Precautions (5.1) ]. The use of Savella is not recommended in pediatric patients.
In controlled clinical studies of Savella, 402 patients were 60 years or older, and no overall differences in safety and efficacy were observed between these patients and younger patients.
In view of the predominant excretion of unchanged milnacipran via kidneys and the expected decrease in renal function with age renal function should be considered prior to use of Savella in the elderly [ see Dosage and Administration (2.2) ].
SNRIs, SSRIs, and Savella, have been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse event [ see Warnings and Precautions (5.8) ].