ARIPIPRAZOLE- aripiprazole solution
WARNING: INCREASED MORTALITY IN ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA-RELATED PSYCHOSIS and SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIORS WITH ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Aripiprazole is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS (5.1) ] .
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies. These studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in patients over age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressant use in patients aged 65 and older [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS (5.3) ] .
In patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy, monitor closely for worsening, and for emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Advise families and caregivers of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS (5.3) ].
Aripiprazole Oral Solution is indicated for the treatment of:
- Schizophrenia [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.1)]
- Acute Treatment of Manic and Mixed Episodes associated with Bipolar I Disorder [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.2)]
- Adjunctive Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.3)]
- Irritability Associated with Autistic Disorder [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.4)]
- Treatment of Tourette’s Disorder [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.5)]
The recommended starting and target dose for aripiprazole is 10 or 15 mg/day administered on a once-a-day schedule without regard to meals. Aripiprazole has been systematically evaluated and shown to be effective in a dose range of 10 to 30 mg/day. Dosage increases should generally not be made before 2 weeks, the time needed to achieve steady-state [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.1)].
Maintenance Treatment: Maintenance of efficacy in schizophrenia was demonstrated in a trial involving patients with schizophrenia who had been symptomatically stable on other antipsychotic medications for periods of 3 months or longer. These patients were discontinued from those medications and randomized to either aripiprazole 15 mg/day or placebo, and observed for relapse [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.1)]. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the continued need for maintenance treatment.
The recommended target dose of aripiprazole is 10 mg/day. Aripiprazole was studied in adolescent patients 13 to 17 years of age with schizophrenia at daily doses of 10 mg and 30 mg. The starting daily dose of the tablet formulation in these patients was 2 mg, which was titrated to 5 mg after 2 days and to the target dose of 10 mg after 2 additional days. Subsequent dose increases should be administered in 5 mg increments. The 30 mg/day dose was not shown to be more efficacious than the 10 mg/day dose. Aripiprazole can be administered without regard to meals [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.1)]. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the need for maintenance treatment.
Switching from Other Antipsychotics
There are no systematically collected data to specifically address switching patients with schizophrenia from other antipsychotics to aripiprazole or concerning concomitant administration with other antipsychotics. While immediate discontinuation of the previous antipsychotic treatment may be acceptable for some patients with schizophrenia, more gradual discontinuation may be most appropriate for others. In all cases, the period of overlapping antipsychotic administration should be minimized.
Acute Treatment of Manic and Mixed Episodes
Adults: The recommended starting dose in adults is 15 mg given once daily as monotherapy and 10 mg to 15 mg given once daily as adjunctive therapy with lithium or valproate. Aripiprazole can be given without regard to meals. The recommended target dose of aripiprazole is 15 mg/day, as monotherapy or as adjunctive therapy with lithium or valproate. The dose may be increased to 30 mg/day based on clinical response. The safety of doses above 30 mg/day has not been evaluated in clinical trials.
Pediatrics: The recommended starting dose in pediatric patients (10 to 17 years) as monotherapy is 2 mg/day, with titration to 5 mg/day after 2 days, and a target dose of 10 mg/day after 2 additional days. Recommended dosing as adjunctive therapy to lithium or valproate is the same. Subsequent dose increases, if needed, should be administered in 5 mg/day increments. Aripiprazole can be given without regard to meals [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.2)].
The recommended starting dose for aripiprazole as adjunctive treatment for patients already taking an antidepressant is 2 to 5 mg/day. The recommended dosage range is 2 to 15 mg/day. Dosage adjustments of up to 5 mg/day should occur gradually, at intervals of no less than 1 week [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.3)]. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the continued need for maintenance treatment.
Pediatric Patients (6 to 17 years)
The recommended dosage range for the treatment of pediatric patients with irritability associated with autistic disorder is 5 to 15 mg/day.
Dosing should be initiated at 2 mg/day. The dose should be increased to 5 mg/day, with subsequent increases to 10 mg/day or 15 mg/day if needed. Dose adjustments of up to 5 mg/day should occur gradually, at intervals of no less than 1 week [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.4)]. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the continued need for maintenance treatment.
Pediatric Patients (6 to 18 years)
The recommended dosage range for Tourette’s Disorder is 5 to 20 mg/day.
For patients weighing less than 50 kg, dosing should be initiated at 2 mg/day with a target dose of 5 mg/day after 2 days. The dose can be increased to 10 mg/day in patients who do not achieve optimal control of tics. Dosage adjustments should occur gradually at intervals of no less than 1 week.
For patients weighing 50 kg or more, dosing should be initiated at 2 mg/day for 2 days, and then increased to 5 mg/day for 5 days, with a target dose of 10 mg/day on day 8. The dose can be increased up to 20 mg/day for patients who do not achieve optimal control of tics. Dosage adjustments should occur gradually in increments of 5 mg/day at intervals of no less than 1 week [see CLINICAL STUDIES (14.5)].
Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the continued need for maintenance treatment.
Dosage adjustments are recommended in patients who are known CYP2D6 poor metabolizers and in patients taking concomitant CYP3A4 inhibitors or CYP2D6 inhibitors or strong CYP3A4 inducers (see Table 2). When the coadministered drug is withdrawn from the combination therapy, aripiprazole dosage should then be adjusted to its original level. When the coadministered CYP3A4 inducer is withdrawn, aripiprazole dosage should be reduced to the original level over 1 to 2 weeks. Patients who may be receiving a combination of strong, moderate, and weak inhibitors of CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 (e.g., a strong CYP3A4 inhibitor and a moderate CYP2D6 inhibitor or a moderate CYP3A4 inhibitor with a moderate CYP2D6 inhibitor), the dosing may be reduced to one-quarter (25%) of the usual dose initially and then adjusted to achieve a favorable clinical response.
Table 2: Dose Adjustments for Aripiprazole in Patients who are known CYP2D6 Poor Metabolizers and Patients Taking Concomitant CYP2D6 Inhibitors, 3A4 Inhibitors, and/or CYP3A4 Inducers
Dosage Adjustments for Aripiprazole
Known CYP2D6 Poor Metabolizers
Administer half of usual dose
Known CYP2D6 Poor Metabolizers taking concomitant strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., itraconazole, clarithromycin)
Administer a quarter of usual dose
Strong CYP2D6 (e.g., quinidine, fluoxetine, paroxetine) or CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., itraconazole, clarithromycin)
Administer half of usual dose
Strong CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 inhibitors
Administer a quarter of usual dose
Strong CYP3A4 inducers (e.g., carbamazepine, rifampin)
Double usual dose over 1 to 2 weeks
When adjunctive aripiprazole oral solution is administered to patients with major depressive disorder, aripiprazole oral solution should be administered without dosage adjustment as specified in DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION (2.3).
The oral solution can be substituted for tablets on a mg-per-mg basis up to the 25 mg dose level. Patients receiving 30 mg tablets should receive 25 mg of the solution [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY (12.3)].
Aripiprazole Oral Solution (1 mg/mL) is a clear, colorless to yellow solution with orange-vanilla odor, supplied in child-resistant bottles along with a calibrated oral dosing cup.
Aripiprazole is contraindicated in patients with a history of a hypersensitivity reaction to aripiprazole. Reactions have ranged from pruritus/urticaria to anaphylaxis [see ADVERSE REACTIONS (6.2)].
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Aripiprazole is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see BOXED WARNING ] .
Safety Experience in Elderly Patients with Psychosis Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease
In three, 10-week, placebo-controlled studies of aripiprazole in elderly patients with psychosis associated with Alzheimer’s disease (n=938; mean age: 82.4 years; range: 56 to 99 years), the adverse reactions that were reported at an incidence of ≥3% and aripiprazole incidence at least twice that for placebo were lethargy [placebo 2%, aripiprazole 5%], somnolence (including sedation) [placebo 3%, aripiprazole 8%], and incontinence (primarily, urinary incontinence) [placebo 1%, aripiprazole 5%], excessive salivation [placebo 0%, aripiprazole 4%], and lightheadedness [placebo 1%, aripiprazole 4%].
The safety and efficacy of aripiprazole in the treatment of patients with psychosis associated with dementia have not been established. If the prescriber elects to treat such patients with aripiprazole, assess for the emergence of difficulty swallowing or excessive somnolence, which could predispose to accidental injury or aspiration [see BOXED WARNING].
In placebo-controlled clinical studies (two flexible dose and one fixed dose study) of dementia-related psychosis, there was an increased incidence of cerebrovascular adverse events (e.g., stroke, transient ischemic attack), including fatalities, in aripiprazole-treated patients (mean age: 84 years; range: 78 to 88 years). In the fixed-dose study, there was a statistically significant dose response relationship for cerebrovascular adverse events in patients treated with aripiprazole. Aripiprazole is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see BOXED WARNING].
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, 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 antidepressant 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 may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment. Pooled analyses of short-term, placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (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 MDD and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 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 antidepressant drugs 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 differences (drug vs. 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 5.
Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated
Increases Compared to Placebo
14 additional cases
5 additional cases
Decreases Compared to Placebo
1 fewer case
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 antidepressants 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, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for MDD 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 whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.
Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants 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 healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for aripiprazole should be written for the smallest quantity of oral solution consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.
Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder: A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation 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 an antidepressant, patients with 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.
It should be noted that aripiprazole is not approved for use in treating depression in the pediatric population.
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