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Strattera (Atomoxetine Hydrochloride) - Warnings and Precautions

 
 



WARNING

Suicidal Ideation in Children and Adolescents — STRATTERA (atomoxetine) increased the risk of suicidal ideation in short-term studies in children or adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Anyone considering the use of STRATTERA in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be monitored closely for suicidality (suicidal thinking and behavior), clinical worsening, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. STRATTERA is approved for ADHD in pediatric and adult patients. STRATTERA is not approved for major depressive disorder.

Pooled analyses of short-term (6 to 18 weeks) placebo-controlled trials of STRATTERA in children and adolescents (a total of 12 trials involving over 2200 patients, including 11 trials in ADHD and 1 trial in enuresis) have revealed a greater risk of suicidal ideation early during treatment in those receiving STRATTERA compared to placebo. The average risk of suicidal ideation in patients receiving STRATTERA was 0.4% (5/1357 patients), compared to none in placebo-treated patients (851 patients). No suicides occurred in these trials. (See WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS, Pediatric Use).

 

WARNINGS

Suicidal Ideation

STRATTERA increased the risk of suicidal ideation in short-term studies in children and adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Pooled analyses of short-term (6 to 18 weeks) placebo-controlled trials of STRATTERA in children and adolescents have revealed a greater risk of suicidal ideation early during treatment in those receiving STRATTERA. There were a total of 12 trials (11 in ADHD and 1 in enuresis) involving over 2200 patients (including 1357 patients receiving STRATTERA and 851 receiving placebo). The average risk of suicidal ideation in patients receiving STRATTERA was 0.4% (5/1357 patients), compared to none in placebo-treated patients. There was 1 suicide attempt among these approximately 2200 patients, occurring in a patient treated with STRATTERA. No suicides occurred in these trials. All events occurred in children 12 years of age or younger. All events occurred during the first month of treatment. It is unknown whether the risk of suicidal ideation in pediatric patients extends to longer-term use. A similar analysis in adult patients treated with STRATTERA for either ADHD or major depressive disorder (MDD) did not reveal an increased risk of suicidal ideation or behavior in association with the use of STRATTERA.

All pediatric patients being treated with STRATTERA should be monitored closely for suicidality, clinical worsening, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes. Such monitoring would generally include at least weekly face-to-face contact with patients or their family members or caregivers during the first 4 weeks of treatment, then every other week visits for the next 4 weeks, then at 12 weeks, and as clinically indicated beyond 12 weeks. Additional contact by telephone may be appropriate between face-to-face visits.

The following symptoms have been reported with STRATTERA: anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania and mania. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is a concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality. Thus, patients being treated with STRATTERA should be observed for the emergence of such symptoms.

Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to emerging suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe or abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms.

Families and caregivers of pediatric patients being treated with STRATTERA 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 healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers.

Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder — In general, particular care should be taken in treating ADHD in patients with comorbid bipolar disorder because of concern for possible induction of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown. However, prior to initiating treatment with STRATTERA, patients with comorbid depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression.

Severe Liver Injury

Postmarketing reports indicate that STRATTERA can cause severe liver injury in rare cases. Although no evidence of liver injury was detected in clinical trials of about 6000 patients, there have been two reported cases of markedly elevated hepatic enzymes and bilirubin, in the absence of other obvious explanatory factors, out of more than 2 million patients during the first two years of postmarketing experience. In one patient, liver injury, manifested by elevated hepatic enzymes (up to 40 X upper limit of normal (ULN)) and jaundice (bilirubin up to 12 X ULN), recurred upon rechallenge, and was followed by recovery upon drug discontinuation providing evidence that STRATTERA caused the liver injury. Such reactions may occur several months after therapy is started, but laboratory abnormalities may continue to worsen for several weeks after drug is stopped. Because of probable underreporting, it is impossible to provide an accurate estimate of the true incidence of these events. The patients described above recovered from their liver injury, and did not require a liver transplant. However, in a small percentage of patients, severe drug-related liver injury may progress to acute liver failure resulting in death or the need for a liver transplant.

STRATTERA should be discontinued in patients with jaundice or laboratory evidence of liver injury, and should not be restarted. Laboratory testing to determine liver enzyme levels should be done upon the first symptom or sign of liver dysfunction (e.g., pruritus, dark urine, jaundice, right upper quadrant tenderness, or unexplained “flu-like” symptoms). ( See also Information for Patients under PRECAUTIONS.)

Allergic Events

Although uncommon, allergic reactions, including angioneurotic edema, urticaria, and rash, have been reported in patients taking STRATTERA.

PRECAUTIONS

General

Effects on blood pressure and heart rate — STRATTERA should be used with caution in patients with hypertension, tachycardia, or cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease because it can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Pulse and blood pressure should be measured at baseline, following STRATTERA dose increases, and periodically while on therapy.

In pediatric placebo-controlled trials, STRATTERA-treated subjects experienced a mean increase in heart rate of about 6 beats/minute compared with placebo subjects. At the final study visit before drug discontinuation, 3.6% (12/335) of STRATTERA-treated subjects had heart rate increases of at least 25 beats/minute and a heart rate of at least 110 beats/minute, compared with 0.5% (1/204) of placebo subjects. No pediatric subject had a heart rate increase of at least 25 beats/minute and a heart rate of at least 110 beats/minute on more than one occasion. Tachycardia was identified as an adverse event for 1.5% (5/340) of these pediatric subjects compared with 0.5% (1/207) of placebo subjects. The mean heart rate increase in extensive metabolizer (EM) patients was 6.7 beats/minute, and in poor metabolizer (PM) patients 10.4 beats/minute.

STRATTERA-treated pediatric subjects experienced mean increases of about 1.5 mm Hg in systolic and diastolic blood pressures compared with placebo. At the final study visit before drug discontinuation, 6.8% (22/324) of STRATTERA-treated pediatric subjects had high systolic blood pressure measurements compared with 3.0% (6/197) of placebo subjects. High systolic blood pressures were measured on 2 or more occasions in 8.6% (28/324) of STRATTERA-treated subjects and 3.6% (7/197) of placebo subjects. At the final study visit before drug discontinuation, 2.8% (9/326) of STRATTERA-treated pediatric subjects had high diastolic blood pressure measurements compared with 0.5% (1/200) of placebo subjects. High diastolic blood pressures were measured on 2 or more occasions in 5.2% (17/326) of STRATTERA-treated subjects and 1.5% (3/200) of placebo subjects. (High systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements were defined as those exceeding the 95th percentile, stratified by age, gender, and height percentile - National High Blood Pressure Education Working Group on Hypertension Control in Children and Adolescents.)

In adult placebo-controlled trials, STRATTERA-treated subjects experienced a mean increase in heart rate of 5 beats/minute compared with placebo subjects. Tachycardia was identified as an adverse event for 3% (8/269) of these adult atomoxetine subjects compared with 0.8% (2/263) of placebo subjects.

STRATTERA-treated adult subjects experienced mean increases in systolic (about 3 mm Hg) and diastolic (about 1 mm Hg) blood pressures compared with placebo. At the final study visit before drug discontinuation, 1.9% (5/258) of STRATTERA-treated adult subjects had systolic blood pressure measurements ≥150 mm Hg compared with 1.2% (3/256) of placebo subjects. At the final study visit before drug discontinuation, 0.8% (2/257) of STRATTERA-treated adult subjects had diastolic blood pressure measurements ≥100 mm Hg compared with 0.4% (1/257) of placebo subjects. No adult subject had a high systolic or diastolic blood pressure detected on more than one occasion.

Orthostatic hypotension has been reported in subjects taking STRATTERA. In short-term, child- and adolescent-controlled trials, 1.8% (6/340) of STRATTERA-treated subjects experienced symptoms of postural hypotension compared with 0.5% (1/207) of placebo-treated subjects. STRATTERA should be used with caution in any condition that may predispose patients to hypotension.

Effects on urine outflow from the bladder — In adult ADHD controlled trials, the rates of urinary retention (3%, 7/269) and urinary hesitation (3%, 7/269) were increased among atomoxetine subjects compared with placebo subjects (0%, 0/263). Two adult atomoxetine subjects and no placebo subjects discontinued from controlled clinical trials because of urinary retention. A complaint of urinary retention or urinary hesitancy should be considered potentially related to atomoxetine.

Effects on Growth — Data on the long-term effects of STRATTERA on growth come from open-label studies, and weight and height changes are compared to normative population data. In general, the weight and height gain of pediatric patients treated with STRATTERA lags behind that predicted by normative population data for about the first 9-12 months of treatment. Subsequently, weight gain rebounds and at about 3 years of treatment, patients treated with STRATTERA have gained 17.9 kg on average, 0.5 kg more than predicted by their baseline data. After about 12 months, gain in height stabilizes, and at 3 years, patients treated with STRATTERA have gained 19.4 cm on average, 0.4 cm less than predicted by their baseline data (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1: Mean Weight and Height Percentiles Over Time for Patients With Three Years of STRATTERA Treatment

Figure 1: Mean Weight and Height Percentiles Over Time for Patients With Three Years of STRATTERA Treatment

This growth pattern was generally similar regardless of pubertal status at the time of treatment initiation. Patients who were pre-pubertal at the start of treatment (girls ≤8 years old, boys ≤9 years old) gained an average of 2.1 kg and 1.2 cm less than predicted after three years. Patients who were pubertal (girls >8 to ≤13 years old, boys >9 to ≤14 years old) or late pubertal (girls >13 years old, boys >14 years old) had average weight and height gains that were close to or exceeded those predicted after three years of treatment.

Growth followed a similar pattern in both extensive and poor metabolizers (EMs, PMs). PMs treated for at least two years gained an average of 2.4 kg and 1.1 cm less than predicted, while EMs gained an average of 0.2 kg and 0.4 cm less than predicted.

In short-term controlled studies (up to 9 weeks), STRATTERA-treated patients lost an average of 0.4 kg and gained an average of 0.9 cm, compared to a gain of 1.5 kg and 1.1 cm in the placebo-treated patients. In a fixed-dose controlled trial, 1.3%, 7.1%, 19.3%, and 29.1% of patients lost at least 3.5% of their body weight in the placebo, 0.5, 1.2, and 1.8 mg/kg/day dose groups.

Growth should be monitored during treatment with STRATTERA.

Aggressive Behavior or Hostility — Aggressive behavior or hostility is often observed in children and adolescents with ADHD, and has been reported in clinical trials and the postmarketing experience of some medications indicated for the treatment of ADHD. Although there is no conclusive evidence that STRATTERA causes aggressive behavior or hostility, aggressive behavior or hostility was more frequently observed in clinical trials among children and adolescents treated with STRATTERA compared to placebo (overall risk ratio of 1.33 – not statistically significant). Patients beginning treatment for ADHD should be monitored for the appearance of or worsening of aggressive behavior or hostility.

Information for Patients

Prescribers or other health professionals should inform patients, their families, and their caregivers about the benefits and risks associated with treatment with STRATTERA and should counsel them in its appropriate use. A patient Medication Guide about using STRATTERA is available. The prescriber or health professional should instruct patients, their families, and their caregivers to read the Medication Guide and should assist them in understanding its contents. Patients should be given the opportunity to discuss the contents of the Medication Guide and to obtain answers to any questions they may have. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.

Patients should be advised of the following issues and asked to alert their prescriber if these occur while taking STRATTERA.

Suicide Risk — Patients, their families, and their caregivers should be encouraged to be alert to the emergence of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, mania, other unusual changes in behavior, depression, and suicidal ideation, especially early during STRATTERA treatment and when the dose is adjusted. Families and caregivers of patients should be advised to observe for the emergence of such symptoms on a day-to-day basis, since changes may be abrupt. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient's prescriber or health professional, especially if they are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms. Symptoms such as these may be associated with an increased risk for suicidal thinking and behavior and indicate a need for very close monitoring and possibly changes in the medication.

Patients initiating STRATTERA should be cautioned that liver dysfunction may develop rarely. Patients should be instructed to contact their physician immediately should they develop pruritus, dark urine, jaundice, right upper quadrant tenderness, or unexplained “flu-like” symptoms.

Patients should be instructed to call their doctor as soon as possible should they notice an increase in aggression or hostility.

STRATTERA is an ocular irritant. STRATTERA capsules are not intended to be opened. In the event of capsule content coming in contact with the eye, the affected eye should be flushed immediately with water, and medical advice obtained. Hands and any potentially contaminated surfaces should be washed as soon as possible.

Patients should consult a physician if they are taking or plan to take any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, or herbal remedies.

Patients should consult a physician if they are nursing, pregnant, or thinking of becoming pregnant while taking STRATTERA.

Patients may take STRATTERA with or without food.

If patients miss a dose, they should take it as soon as possible, but should not take more than the prescribed total daily amount of STRATTERA in any 24-hour period.

Patients should use caution when driving a car or operating hazardous machinery until they are reasonably certain that their performance is not affected by atomoxetine.

Laboratory Tests

Routine laboratory tests are not required.

CYP2D6 metabolism — Poor metabolizers (PMs) of CYP2D6 have a 10-fold higher AUC and a 5-fold higher peak concentration to a given dose of STRATTERA compared with extensive metabolizers (EMs). Approximately 7% of a Caucasian population are PMs. Laboratory tests are available to identify CYP2D6 PMs. The blood levels in PMs are similar to those attained by taking strong inhibitors of CYP2D6. The higher blood levels in PMs lead to a higher rate of some adverse effects of STRATTERA (see  ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Drug-Drug Interactions

Albuterol — STRATTERA should be administered with caution to patients being treated with systemically-administered (oral or intravenous) albuterol (or other beta2 agonists) because the action of albuterol on the cardiovascular system can be potentiated resulting in increases in heart rate and blood pressure.

CYP2D6 inhibitors — Atomoxetine is primarily metabolized by the CYP2D6 pathway to 4-hydroxyatomoxetine. In EMs, selective inhibitors of CYP2D6 increase atomoxetine steady-state plasma concentrations to exposures similar to those observed in PMs. Dosage adjustment of STRATTERA may be necessary when coadministered with CYP2D6 inhibitors, e.g., paroxetine, fluoxetine, and quinidine (see  DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). In EM individuals treated with paroxetine or fluoxetine, the AUC of atomoxetine is approximately 6- to 8-fold and Css,max is about 3- to 4-fold greater than atomoxetine alone.

In vitro studies suggest that coadministration of cytochrome P450 inhibitors to PMs will not increase the plasma concentrations of atomoxetine.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors — See CONTRAINDICATIONS.

Pressor agents — Because of possible effects on blood pressure, STRATTERA should be used cautiously with pressor agents.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Carcinogenesis — Atomoxetine HCl was not carcinogenic in rats and mice when given in the diet for 2 years at time-weighted average doses up to 47 and 458 mg/kg/day, respectively. The highest dose used in rats is approximately 8 and 5 times the maximum human dose in children and adults, respectively, on a mg/m2 basis. Plasma levels (AUC) of atomoxetine at this dose in rats are estimated to be 1.8 times (extensive metabolizers) or 0.2 times (poor metabolizers) those in humans receiving the maximum human dose. The highest dose used in mice is approximately 39 and 26 times the maximum human dose in children and adults, respectively, on a mg/m2 basis.

Mutagenesis — Atomoxetine HCl was negative in a battery of genotoxicity studies that included a reverse point mutation assay (Ames Test), an in vitro mouse lymphoma assay, a chromosomal aberration test in Chinese hamster ovary cells, an unscheduled DNA synthesis test in rat hepatocytes, and an in vivo micronucleus test in mice. However, there was a slight increase in the percentage of Chinese hamster ovary cells with diplochromosomes, suggesting endoreduplication (numerical aberration).

The metabolite N-desmethylatomoxetine HCl was negative in the Ames Test, mouse lymphoma assay, and unscheduled DNA synthesis test.

Impairment of fertility — Atomoxetine HCl did not impair fertility in rats when given in the diet at doses of up to 57 mg/kg/day, which is approximately 6 times the maximum human dose on a mg/m2 basis.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category C

Pregnant rabbits were treated with up to 100 mg/kg/day of atomoxetine by gavage throughout the period of organogenesis. At this dose, in 1 of 3 studies, a decrease in live fetuses and an increase in early resorptions was observed. Slight increases in the incidences of atypical origin of carotid artery and absent subclavian artery were observed. These findings were observed at doses that caused slight maternal toxicity. The no-effect dose for these findings was 30 mg/kg/day. The 100-mg/kg dose is approximately 23 times the maximum human dose on a mg/m2 basis; plasma levels (AUC) of atomoxetine at this dose in rabbits are estimated to be 3.3 times (extensive metabolizers) or 0.4 times (poor metabolizers) those in humans receiving the maximum human dose.

Rats were treated with up to approximately 50 mg/kg/day of atomoxetine (approximately 6 times the maximum human dose on a mg/m2 basis) in the diet from 2 weeks (females) or 10 weeks (males) prior to mating through the periods of organogenesis and lactation. In 1 of 2 studies, decreases in pup weight and pup survival were observed. The decreased pup survival was also seen at 25 mg/kg (but not at 13 mg/kg). In a study in which rats were treated with atomoxetine in the diet from 2 weeks (females) or 10 weeks (males) prior to mating throughout the period of organogenesis, a decrease in fetal weight (female only) and an increase in the incidence of incomplete ossification of the vertebral arch in fetuses were observed at 40 mg/kg/day (approximately 5 times the maximum human dose on a mg/m2 basis) but not at 20 mg/kg/day.

No adverse fetal effects were seen when pregnant rats were treated with up to 150 mg/kg/day (approximately 17 times the maximum human dose on a mg/m2 basis) by gavage throughout the period of organogenesis.

No adequate and well-controlled studies have been conducted in pregnant women. STRATTERA should not be used during pregnancy unless the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Labor and Delivery

Parturition in rats was not affected by atomoxetine. The effect of STRATTERA on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.

Nursing Mothers

Atomoxetine and/or its metabolites were excreted in the milk of rats. It is not known if atomoxetine is excreted in human milk. Caution should be exercised if STRATTERA is administered to a nursing woman.

Pediatric Use

Anyone considering the use of STRATTERA in a child or adolescent must balance the potential risks with the clinical need (see BOX WARNING and WARNINGS, Suicidal Ideation).

The safety and efficacy of STRATTERA in pediatric patients less than 6 years of age have not been established. The efficacy of STRATTERA beyond 9 weeks and safety of STRATTERA beyond 1 year of treatment have not been systematically evaluated.

A study was conducted in young rats to evaluate the effects of atomoxetine on growth and neurobehavioral and sexual development. Rats were treated with 1, 10, or 50 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.2, 2, and 8 times, respectively, the maximum human dose on a mg/m2 basis) of atomoxetine given by gavage from the early postnatal period (Day 10 of age) through adulthood. Slight delays in onset of vaginal patency (all doses) and preputial separation (10 and 50 mg/kg), slight decreases in epididymal weight and sperm number (10 and 50 mg/kg), and a slight decrease in corpora lutea (50 mg/kg) were seen, but there were no effects on fertility or reproductive performance. A slight delay in onset of incisor eruption was seen at 50 mg/kg. A slight increase in motor activity was seen on Day 15 (males at 10 and 50 mg/kg and females at 50 mg/kg) and on Day 30 (females at 50 mg/kg) but not on Day 60 of age. There were no effects on learning and memory tests. The significance of these findings to humans is unknown.

Geriatric Use

The safety and efficacy of STRATTERA in geriatric patients have not been established.

Page last updated: 2006-02-23

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