Albendazole: Package Insert and Label Information

ALBENDAZOLE- albendazole tablet, film coated
Amneal Pharmaceuticals of New York LLC

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

1.1 Neurocysticercosis

Albendazole is indicated for the treatment of parenchymal neurocysticercosis due to active lesions caused by larval forms of the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium.

1.2 Hydatid Disease

Albendazole is indicated for the treatment of cystic hydatid disease of the liver, lung, and peritoneum, caused by the larval form of the dog tapeworm, Echinococcus granulosus.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 Dosage

Dosing of albendazole will vary depending upon the indication. Albendazole tablets may be crushed or chewed and swallowed with a drink of water. Albendazole tablets should be taken with food [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Table 1: Albendazole Dosage

Indication

Patient Weight

Dose

Duration

Hydatid Disease

60 kg or greater

400 mg twice daily, with meals

28-day cycle followed by a 14-day albendazole-free interval, for a total of 3 cycles

Less than 60 kg

15 mg/kg/day given in divided doses twice daily with meals (maximum total daily dose 800 mg)

Neurocysticercosis

60 kg or greater

400 mg twice daily, with meals

8 to 30 days

Less than 60 kg

15 mg/kg/day given in divided doses twice daily with meals (maximum total daily dose 800 mg)

2.2 Concomitant Medication to Avoid Adverse Reactions

Patients being treated for neurocysticercosis should receive appropriate steroid and anticonvulsant therapy as required. Oral or intravenous corticosteroids should be considered to prevent cerebral hypertensive episodes during the first week of treatment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

2.3 Monitoring for Safety Before and During Treatment

  • Monitor blood counts at the beginning of each 28-day cycle of therapy, and every 2 weeks while on therapy with albendazole in all patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
  • Monitor liver enzymes (transaminases) at the beginning of each 28-day cycle of therapy, and at least every 2 weeks during treatment with albendazole in all patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].
  • Obtain a pregnancy test in women of reproductive potential prior to therapy [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

  • Tablet: 200 mg

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

Albendazole is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to the benzimidazole class of compounds or any components of albendazole.

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Bone Marrow Suppression

Fatalities associated with the use of albendazole have been reported due to granulocytopenia or pancytopenia. Albendazole may cause bone marrow suppression, aplastic anemia, and agranulocytosis. Monitor blood counts at the beginning of each 28-day cycle of therapy, and every 2 weeks while on therapy with albendazole in all patients. Patients with liver disease and patients with hepatic echinococcosis are at increased risk for bone marrow suppression and warrant more frequent monitoring of blood counts. Discontinue albendazole if clinically significant decreases in blood cell counts occur.

5.2 Embryo-fetal Toxicity

Albendazole may cause fetal harm and should not be used in pregnant women except in clinical circumstances where no alternative management is appropriate. Obtain pregnancy test prior to prescribing albendazole to women of reproductive potential. Advise women of reproductive potential to use effective birth control for the duration of albendazole therapy and for one month after end of therapy. Immediately discontinue albendazole if a patient becomes pregnant and apprise the patient of the potential hazard to the fetus [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1, 8.3)].

5.3 Risk of Neurologic Symptoms in Neurocysticercosis

Patients being treated for neurocysticercosis should receive steroid and anticonvulsant therapy to prevent neurological symptoms (e.g. seizures, increased intracranial pressure and focal signs) as a result of an inflammatory reaction caused by death of the parasite within the brain.

5.4 Risk of Retinal Damage in Patients with Retinal Neurocysticercosis

Cysticercosis may involve the retina. Before initiating therapy for neurocysticercosis, examine the patient for the presence of retinal lesions. If such lesions are visualized, weigh the need for anticysticeral therapy against the possibility of retinal damage resulting from inflammatory damage caused by albendazole-induced death of the parasite.

5.5 Hepatic Effects

In clinical trials, treatment with albendazole has been associated with mild to moderate elevations of hepatic enzymes in approximately 16% of patients. These elevations have generally returned to normal upon discontinuation of therapy. There have also been case reports of acute liver failure of uncertain causality and hepatitis [see Adverse Reactions (6)].

Monitor liver enzymes (transaminases) before the start of each treatment cycle and at least every 2 weeks during treatment. If hepatic enzymes exceed twice the upper limit of normal, consideration should be given to discontinuing albendazole therapy based on individual patient circumstances. Restarting albendazole treatment in patients whose hepatic enzymes have normalized off treatment is an individual decision that should take into account the risk/benefit of further albendazole usage. Perform laboratory tests frequently if albendazole treatment is restarted.

Patients with elevated liver enzyme test results are at increased risk for hepatotoxicity and bone marrow suppression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)]. Discontinue therapy if liver enzymes are significantly increased or if clinically significant decreases in blood cell counts occur.

5.6 Unmasking of Neurocysticercosis in Hydatid Patients

Undiagnosed neurocysticercosis may be uncovered in patients treated with albendazole for other conditions. Patients with epidemiologic factors who are at risk for neurocysticercosis should be evaluated prior to initiation of therapy.

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The adverse reaction profile of albendazole differs between hydatid disease and neurocysticercosis. Adverse reactions occurring with a frequency of 1% or greater in either disease are described in Table 2 below.

These symptoms were usually mild and resolved without treatment. Treatment discontinuations were predominantly due to leukopenia (0.7%) or hepatic abnormalities (3.8% in hydatid disease). The following incidence reflects adverse reactions that were reported to be at least possibly or probably related to albendazole.

T able 2: Adverse Reaction Incidence 1% or Greater in Hydatid Disease and Neurocysticercosis

A dverse Reaction

H ydatid Disease

N eurocysticercosis

G astrointestinal

Abdominal Pain

6

0

Nausea

4

6

Vomiting

4

6

G eneral disorders and administration site conditions

Fever

1

0

Investigations

Elevated Hepatic Enzymes

16

less than 1

N ervous system disorders

Dizziness

1

less than 1

Headache

1

11

Meningeal Signs

0

1

Raised Intracranial Pressure

0

2

Vertigo

1

less than 1

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders

Reversible Alopecia

2

less than 1

The following adverse events were observed at an incidence of less than 1%:

Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders: There have been reports of leukopenia, granulocytopenia, pancytopenia, agranulocytosis, or thrombocytopenia [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

Immune System Disorders: Hypersensitivity reactions, including rash and urticaria.

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of albendazole. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders: Aplastic anemia, bone marrow suppression, neutropenia.

Eye Disorders: Vision blurred.

Gastrointestinal Disorders: Diarrhea.

General System Disorders: Asthenia.

Hepatobiliary Disorders: Elevations of hepatic enzymes, hepatitis, acute liver failure.

Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders: Rhabdomyolysis.

Nervous System Disorders: Somnolence, convulsion.

Renal and Urinary Disorders: Acute renal failure.

Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders: Erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

7 DRUG INTERACTIONS

7.1 Dexamethasone

Steady-state trough concentrations of albendazole sulfoxide were about 56% higher when 8 mg dexamethasone was co-administered with each dose of albendazole (15 mg/kg/day) in 8 neurocysticercosis patients.

7.2 Praziquantel

In the fed state, praziquantel (40 mg/kg) increased mean maximum plasma concentration and area under the curve of albendazole sulfoxide by about 50% in healthy subjects (n = 10) compared with a separate group of subjects (n = 6) given albendazole alone. Mean Tmax and mean plasma elimination half-life of albendazole sulfoxide were unchanged. The pharmacokinetics of praziquantel were unchanged following co-administration with albendazole (400 mg).

7.3 Cimetidine

Albendazole sulfoxide concentrations in bile and cystic fluid were increased (about 2-fold) in hydatid cyst patients treated with cimetidine (10 mg/kg/day) (n = 7) compared with albendazole (20 mg/kg/day) alone (n = 12). Albendazole sulfoxide plasma concentrations were unchanged 4 hours after dosing.

7.4 Theophylline

Following a single dose of albendazole (400 mg), the pharmacokinetics of theophylline (aminophylline 5.8 mg/kg infused over 20 minutes) were unchanged. Albendazole induces cytochrome P450 1A in human hepatoma cells; therefore, it is recommended that plasma concentrations of theophylline be monitored during and after treatment.

8 USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

There are limited data on use of albendazole in pregnant women to inform a drug-associated risk of major birth defects and miscarriage. In published studies, single-dose albendazole exposure during pregnancy did not show evidence of an increased risk of adverse maternal or fetal outcomes; however, this finding cannot be extrapolated to multiple-dose exposures (see Data).

In animal reproductive studies, oral administration of albendazole during gestation caused embryotoxicity and skeletal malformations in pregnant rats (at oral doses of 0.10 times and 0.32 times the recommended human dose based on body surface area in mg/m2) and pregnant rabbits (at oral doses of 0.60 times the recommended human dose based on body surface area in mg/m2). Albendazole was also associated with maternal toxicity in rabbits (at doses of 0.60 times the recommended human dose based on body surface area in mg/m2) (see Data).

Albendazole should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Albendazole should not be used in pregnant women except in clinical circumstances where no alternative management is appropriate. If a patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, albendazole should be discontinued immediately. If pregnancy occurs while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.

The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively.

Data

Human Data

A Cochrane review could not provide sufficient evidence of the impact of antihelminthics (including albendazole) on the pregnancy outcomes of low birthweight, perinatal mortality and preterm birth. In a large trial of about 2507 women, albendazole use during the second or third trimester of pregnancy had no overall effect on birth weight, perinatal mortality, or congenital anomalies. With a limited sample size and single-does exposure, another study could not rule out a two-fold increased risk of major malformations [4.7% vs. 2.2%; OR 2.2 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5 to 10.1); p = 0.26].

Animal Data

Albendazole has been shown to be teratogenic (to cause embryotoxicity and skeletal malformations) in pregnant rats and rabbits. The teratogenic response in the rat was shown at oral doses of 10 and 30 mg/kg/day (0.10 times and 0.32 times the recommended human dose based on body surface area in mg/m2 , respectively) during gestation days 6 to 15 and in pregnant rabbits at oral doses of 30 mg/kg/day (0.60 times the recommended human dose based on body surface area in mg/m2) administered during gestation days 7 to 19. In the rabbit study, maternal toxicity (33% mortality) was noted at 30 mg/kg/day. In mice, no teratogenic effects were observed at oral doses up to 30 mg/kg/day (0.16 times the recommended human dose based on body surface area in mg/m2), administered during gestation days 6 to 15.

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