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Taxotere (Docetaxel) - Warnings and Precautions

 
 



WARNING

The incidence of treatment-related mortality associated with TAXOTERE therapy is increased in patients with abnormal liver function, in patients receiving higher doses, and in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma and a history of prior treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy who receive TAXOTERE as a single agent at a dose of 100 mg/m2 [see Warnings and Precautions].

TAXOTERE should generally not be given to patients with bilirubin > upper limit of normal (ULN), or to patients with SGOT and/or SGPT >1.5 × ULN concomitant with alkaline phosphatase >2.5 × ULN. Patients with elevations of bilirubin or abnormalities of transaminase concurrent with alkaline phosphatase are at increased risk for the development of grade 4 neutropenia, febrile neutropenia, infections, severe thrombocytopenia, severe stomatitis, severe skin toxicity, and toxic death. Patients with isolated elevations of transaminase >1.5 × ULN also had a higher rate of febrile neutropenia grade 4 but did not have an increased incidence of toxic death. Bilirubin, SGOT or SGPT, and alkaline phosphatase values should be obtained prior to each cycle of TAXOTERE therapy and reviewed by the treating physician.

TAXOTERE therapy should not be given to patients with neutrophil counts of <1500 cells/mm3. In order to monitor the occurrence of neutropenia, which may be severe and result in infection, frequent blood cell counts should be performed on all patients receiving TAXOTERE.

Severe hypersensitivity reactions characterized by generalized rash/erythema, hypotension and/or bronchospasm, or very rarely fatal anaphylaxis, have been reported in patients who received the recommended 3-day dexamethasone premedication. Hypersensitivity reactions require immediate discontinuation of the TAXOTERE infusion and administration of appropriate therapy [see Warnings and Precautions]. TAXOTERE must not be given to patients who have a history of severe hypersensitivity reactions to TAXOTERE or to other drugs formulated with polysorbate 80 [see Contraindications (4) ].

Severe fluid retention occurred in 6.5% (6/92) of patients despite use of a 3-day dexamethasone premedication regimen. It was characterized by one or more of the following events: poorly tolerated peripheral edema, generalized edema, pleural effusion requiring urgent drainage, dyspnea at rest, cardiac tamponade, or pronounced abdominal distention (due to ascites) [see Warnings and Precautions].

 

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

TAXOTERE should be administered under the supervision of a qualified physician experienced in the use of antineoplastic agents. Appropriate management of complications is possible only when adequate diagnostic and treatment facilities are readily available.

Toxic Deaths

  • Breast Cancer

TAXOTERE administered at 100 mg/m2 was associated with deaths considered possibly or probably related to treatment in 2.0% (19/965) of metastatic breast cancer patients, both previously treated and untreated, with normal baseline liver function and in 11.5% (7/61) of patients with various tumor types who had abnormal baseline liver function (SGOT and/or SGPT >1.5 times ULN together with AP >2.5 times ULN). Among patients dosed at 60 mg/m2, mortality related to treatment occurred in 0.6% (3/481) of patients with normal liver function, and in 3 of 7 patients with abnormal liver function. Approximately half of these deaths occurred during the first cycle. Sepsis accounted for the majority of the deaths.

  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

TAXOTERE administered at a dose of 100 mg/m2 in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer who had a history of prior platinum-based chemotherapy was associated with increased treatment-related mortality (14% and 5% in two randomized, controlled studies). There were 2.8% treatment-related deaths among the 176 patients treated at the 75 mg/m2 dose in the randomized trials. Among patients who experienced treatment-related mortality at the 75 mg/m2 dose level, 3 of 5 patients had a PS of 2 at study entry [see Boxed Warning, Clinical Studies, and Dosage and Administration].

Premedication Regimen

All patients should be premedicated with oral corticosteroids (see below for prostate cancer) such as dexamethasone 16 mg per day (e.g., 8 mg BID) for 3 days starting 1 day prior to TAXOTERE to reduce the severity of fluid retention and hypersensitivity reactions [see Dosage and Administration]. This regimen was evaluated in 92 patients with metastatic breast cancer previously treated with chemotherapy given TAXOTERE at a dose of 100 mg/m2 every 3 weeks.

The pretreatment regimen for hormone-refractory metastatic prostate cancer is oral dexamethasone 8 mg, at 12 hours, 3 hours and 1 hour before the TAXOTERE infusion [see Dosage and Administration].

Hypersensitivity Reactions

Patients should be observed closely for hypersensitivity reactions, especially during the first and second infusions. Severe hypersensitivity reactions characterized by generalized rash/erythema, hypotension and/or bronchospasm, or very rarely fatal anaphylaxis, have been reported in patients premedicated with 3 days of corticosteroids. Severe hypersensitivity reactions require immediate discontinuation of the TAXOTERE infusion and aggressive therapy. Patients with a history of severe hypersensitivity reactions should not be rechallenged with TAXOTERE.

Hypersensitivity reactions may occur within a few minutes following initiation of a TAXOTERE infusion. If minor reactions such as flushing or localized skin reactions occur, interruption of therapy is not required. All patients should be premedicated with an oral corticosteroid prior to the initiation of the infusion of TAXOTERE [see Boxed Warning, Premedication Regimen].

Hematologic Effects

Neutropenia (<2000 neutrophils/mm3) occurs in virtually all patients given 60–100 mg/m2 of TAXOTERE and grade 4 neutropenia (<500 cells/mm3) occurs in 85% of patients given 100 mg/m2 and 75% of patients given 60 mg/m2. Frequent monitoring of blood counts is, therefore, essential so that dose can be adjusted. TAXOTERE should not be administered to patients with neutrophils <1500 cells/mm3.

Febrile neutropenia occurred in about 12% of patients given 100 mg/m2 but was very uncommon in patients given 60 mg/m2. Hematologic responses, febrile reactions and infections, and rates of septic death for different regimens are dose related and are described in Clinical Studies .

Three breast cancer patients with severe liver impairment (bilirubin >1.7 times ULN) developed fatal gastrointestinal bleeding associated with severe drug-induced thrombocytopenia. In gastric cancer patients treated with TAXOTERE in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil (TCF), febrile neutropenia and/or neutropenic infection occurred in 12% of patients receiving G-CSF compared to 28% who did not. Patients receiving TCF should be closely monitored during the first and subsequent cycles for febrile neutropenia and neutropenic infection [see Adverse Reactions and Dosage Adjustments].

In order to monitor the occurrence of myelotoxicity, it is recommended that frequent peripheral blood cell counts be performed on all patients receiving TAXOTERE. Patients should not be retreated with subsequent cycles of TAXOTERE until neutrophils recover to a level >1500 cells/mm3 and platelets recover to a level > 100,000 cells/mm3.

A 25% reduction in the dose of TAXOTERE is recommended during subsequent cycles following severe neutropenia (<500 cells/mm3) lasting 7 days or more, febrile neutropenia, or a grade 4 infection in a TAXOTERE cycle [see Dosage and Administration].

Hepatic Impairment

[see Boxed Warning, Use in Specific Populations].

Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Treatment-related acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or myelodysplasia has occurred in patients given anthracyclines and/or cyclophosphamide, including use in adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. In the adjuvant breast cancer trial [(TAX316), see Clinical Studies] AML occurred in 3 of 744 patients who received TAXOTERE, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide and in 1 of 736 patients who received fluorouracil, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide. In the TAXOTERE, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (TAC) treated patients, the risk of delayed myelodysplasia or myeloid leukemia requires hematological follow-up [see Adverse Reactions (6) ].

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category D

TAXOTERE can cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. Studies in both rats and rabbits at doses ≥0.3 and 0.03 mg/kg/day, respectively (about 1/50 and 1/300 the daily maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis), administered during the period of organogenesis, have shown that TAXOTERE is embryotoxic and fetotoxic (characterized by intrauterine mortality, increased resorption, reduced fetal weight, and fetal ossification delay). The doses indicated above also caused maternal toxicity.

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women using TAXOTERE. If TAXOTERE is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus or potential risk for loss of the pregnancy. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant during therapy with TAXOTERE [see Use In Specific Populations].

General

Responding patients may not experience an improvement in performance status on therapy and may experience worsening. The relationship between changes in performance status, response to therapy, and treatment-related side effects has not been established.

Cutaneous

Localized erythema of the extremities with edema followed by desquamation has been observed. In case of severe skin toxicity, an adjustment in dosage is recommended [see Dose Adjustments During Treatment]. The discontinuation rate due to skin toxicity was 1.6% (15/965) for metastatic breast cancer patients. Among 92 breast cancer patients premedicated with 3-day corticosteroids, there were no cases of severe skin toxicity reported and no patient discontinued TAXOTERE due to skin toxicity.

5.10Fluid Retention

Severe fluid retention has been reported following TAXOTERE therapy [see Boxed Warning, Premedication Regimen]. Patients should be premedicated with oral corticosteroids prior to each TAXOTERE administration to reduce the incidence and severity of fluid retention [see Premedication Regimen]. Patients with pre-existing effusions should be closely monitored from the first dose for the possible exacerbation of the effusions.

When fluid retention occurs, peripheral edema usually starts in the lower extremities and may become generalized with a median weight gain of 2 kg.

Among 92 breast cancer patients premedicated with 3-day corticosteroids, moderate fluid retention occurred in 27.2% and severe fluid retention in 6.5%. The median cumulative dose to onset of moderate or severe fluid retention was 819 mg/m2. 9.8% (9/92) of patients discontinued treatment due to fluid retention: 4 patients discontinued with severe fluid retention; the remaining 5 had mild or moderate fluid retention. The median cumulative dose to treatment discontinuation due to fluid retention was 1021 mg/m2. Fluid retention was completely, but sometimes slowly, reversible with a median of 16 weeks from the last infusion of TAXOTERE to resolution (range: 0 to 42+ weeks). Patients developing peripheral edema may be treated with standard measures, e.g., salt restriction, oral diuretic(s).

5.11Neurologic

Severe neurosensory symptoms (paresthesia, dysesthesia, pain) were observed in 5.5% (53/965) of metastatic breast cancer patients, and resulted in treatment discontinuation in 6.1%. When these symptoms occur, dosage must be adjusted. If symptoms persist, treatment should be discontinued [see Dose Adjustments During Treatment]. Patients who experienced neurotoxicity in clinical trials and for whom follow-up information on the complete resolution of the event was available had spontaneous reversal of symptoms with a median of 9 weeks from onset (range: 0 to 106 weeks). Severe peripheral motor neuropathy mainly manifested as distal extremity weakness occurred in 4.4% (42/965).

5.12Asthenia

Severe asthenia has been reported in 14.9% (144/965) of metastatic breast cancer patients but has led to treatment discontinuation in only 1.8%. Symptoms of fatigue and weakness may last a few days up to several weeks and may be associated with deterioration of performance status in patients with progressive disease.

USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category D.

[see Warnings and Precautions]

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether TAXOTERE is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from TAXOTERE, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of docetaxel in pediatric patients have not been established.

Geriatric Use

In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy in elderly patients.

In a study conducted in chemotherapy-naïve patients with NSCLC (TAX326), 148 patients (36%) in the TAXOTERE+cisplatin group were 65 years of age or greater. There were 128 patients (32%) in the vinorelbine+cisplatin group 65 years of age or greater. In the TAXOTERE+cisplatin group, patients less than 65 years of age had a median survival of 10.3 months (95% CI: 9.1 months, 11.8 months) and patients 65 years or older had a median survival of 12.1 months (95% CI: 9.3 months, 14 months). In patients 65 years of age or greater treated with TAXOTERE+cisplatin, diarrhea (55%), peripheral edema (39%) and stomatitis (28%) were observed more frequently than in the vinorelbine+cisplatin group (diarrhea 24%, peripheral edema 20%, stomatitis 20%). Patients treated with TAXOTERE+cisplatin who were 65 years of age or greater were more likely to experience diarrhea (55%), infections (42%), peripheral edema (39%) and stomatitis (28%) compared to patients less than the age of 65 administered the same treatment (43%, 31%, 31% and 21%, respectively).

When TAXOTERE was combined with carboplatin for the treatment of chemotherapy-naïve, advanced non-small cell lung carcinoma, patients 65 years of age or greater (28%) experienced higher frequency of infection compared to similar patients treated with TAXOTERE+cisplatin, and a higher frequency of diarrhea, infection and peripheral edema than elderly patients treated with vinorelbine+cisplatin.

Of the 333 patients treated with TAXOTERE every three weeks plus prednisone in the prostate cancer study (TAX327), 209 patients were 65 years of age or greater and 68 patients were older than 75 years. In patients treated with TAXOTERE every three weeks, the following TEAEs occurred at rates ≥10% higher in patients 65 years of age or greater compared to younger patients: anemia (71% vs. 59%), infection (37% vs. 24%), nail changes (34% vs. 23%), anorexia (21% vs. 10%), weight loss (15% vs. 5%) respectively.

In the adjuvant breast cancer trial (TAX316), TAXOTERE in combination with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide was administered to 744 patients of whom 48 (6%) were 65 years of age or greater. The number of elderly patients who received this regimen was not sufficient to determine whether there were differences in safety and efficacy between elderly and younger patients.

Among the 221 patients treated with TAXOTERE in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil in the gastric cancer study, 54 were 65 years of age or older and 2 patients were older than 75 years. In this study, the number of patients who were 65 years of age or older was insufficient to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients. However, the incidence of serious adverse reactions was higher in the elderly patients compared to younger patients. The incidence of the following adverse reactions (all grades, regardless of relationship): lethargy, stomatitis, diarrhea, dizziness, edema, febrile neutropenia/neutropenic infection occurred at rates ≥10% higher in patients who were 65 years of age or older compared to younger patients. Elderly patients treated with TCF should be closely monitored.

Among the 174 and 251 patients who received the induction treatment with TAXOTERE in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil (TPF) for SCCHN in the TAX323 and TAX324 studies, 18 (10%) and 32 (13%) of the patients were 65 years of age or older, respectively.

These clinical studies of TAXOTERE in combination with cisplatin and fluorouracil in patients with SCCHN did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients. Other reported clinical experience with this treatment regimen has not identified differences in responses between elderly and younger patients.

Hepatic Impairment

Patients with bilirubin >ULN should generally not receive TAXOTERE. Also, patients with SGOT and/or SGPT >1.5 × ULN concomitant with alkaline phosphatase >2.5 × ULN should generally not receive TAXOTERE.

Page last updated: 2008-07-11

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