DESVENLAFAXINE- desvenlafaxine succinate tablet, extended release
Preferred Pharmaceuticals Inc.
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 (5.1)].
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 (5.1)].
Desvenlafaxine is not approved for use in pediatric patients [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].
Desvenlafaxine is indicated for the treatment of adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) [see Clinical Studies (14)].
The recommended dose for desvenlafaxine is 50 mg once daily, with or without food. The 50 mg dose is both a starting dose and the therapeutic dose. Desvenlafaxine should be taken at approximately the same time each day. Tablets must be swallowed whole with fluid and not divided, crushed, chewed, or dissolved.
In clinical studies, doses of 10 mg to 400 mg per day were studied. In clinical studies, doses of 50 mg to 400 mg per day were shown to be effective, although no additional benefit was demonstrated at doses greater than 50 mg per day and adverse reactions and discontinuations were more frequent at higher doses.
The 25 mg per day dose is intended for a gradual reduction in dose when discontinuing treatment. When discontinuing therapy, gradual dose reduction is recommended whenever possible to minimize discontinuation symptoms [see Dosage and Administration (2.5) and Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].
The maximum recommended dose in patients with moderate renal impairment (24-hr creatinine clearance [ClCr ] = 30 to 50 mL/min, Cockcroft-Gault [C-G]) is 50 mg per day. The maximum recommended dose in patients with severe renal impairment (ClCr 15 to 29 mL/min, C-G) or end-stage renal disease (ESRD, ClCr < 15 mL/min, C-G) is 25 mg every day or 50 mg every other day. Supplemental doses should not be given to patients after dialysis [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
The recommended dose in patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh score 7 to 15) is 50 mg per day. Dose escalation above 100 mg per day is not recommended [see Use in Specific Populations (8.7) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
It is generally agreed that acute episodes of major depressive disorder require several months or longer of sustained pharmacologic therapy. Longer-term efficacy of desvenlafaxine (50 to 400 mg) was established in two maintenance trials [see Clinical Studies (14)]. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the need for continued treatment.
Adverse reactions may occur upon discontinuation of desvenlafaxine [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)]. Gradually reduce the dosage rather than stopping desvenlafaxine abruptly whenever possible.
Discontinuation symptoms have been reported when switching patients from other antidepressants, including venlafaxine, to desvenlafaxine. Tapering of the initial antidepressant may be necessary to minimize discontinuation symptoms.
2.7 Switching Patients to or from a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) Intended to Treat Psychiatric Disorders
At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders and initiation of therapy with desvenlafaxine. Conversely, at least 7 days should be allowed after stopping desvenlafaxine before starting an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders [see Contraindications (4)].
Do not start desvenlafaxine in a patient who is being treated with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue because there is increased risk of serotonin syndrome. In a patient who requires more urgent treatment of a psychiatric condition, other interventions, including hospitalization, should be considered [see Contraindications (4)].
In some cases, a patient already receiving desvenlafaxine therapy may require urgent treatment with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. If acceptable alternatives to linezolid or intravenous methylene blue treatment are not available and the potential benefits of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue treatment are judged to outweigh the risks of serotonin syndrome in a particular patient, desvenlafaxine should be stopped promptly, and linezolid or intravenous methylene blue can be administered. The patient should be monitored for symptoms of serotonin syndrome for 7 days or until 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue, whichever comes first. Therapy with desvenlafaxine may be resumed 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
The risk of administering methylene blue by non-intravenous routes (such as oral tablets or by local injection) or in intravenous doses much lower than 1 mg/kg with desvenlafaxine is unclear. The clinician should, nevertheless, be aware of the possibility of emergent symptoms of serotonin syndrome with such use [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
Desvenlafaxine extended-release tablets are available as 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg tablets.
25 mg, tan colored, round, biconvex tablets, debossed with ‘L634’ on one side and plain on other side.
50 mg, light pink colored, round, biconvex tablets, debossed with ‘L349’ on one side and plain on other side.
100 mg, dark brown to red colored, round, biconvex tablets, debossed with ‘L350’ on one side and plain on other side.
- Hypersensitivity to desvenlafaxine succinate, venlafaxine hydrochloride or to any excipients in the desvenlafaxine formulation. Angioedema has been reported in patients treated with desvenlafaxine[see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].
- The use of MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders with desvenlafaxine or within 7 days of stopping treatment with desvenlafaxine is contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. The use of desvenlafaxine within 14 days of stopping an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders is also contraindicated [see Dosage and Administration (2.7) and Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
- Starting desvenlafaxine in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue is also contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome [see Dosage and Administration (2.8) and Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].
Patients with 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 studies 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 to 24) with major depressive disorder (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 studies in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term studies of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4,400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled studies in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term studies (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 1,000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1. Table 1
Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1,000 Patients Treated
Increases Compared to Placebo
14 additional cases
18 to 24
5 additional cases
Decreases Compared to Placebo
25 to 64
1 fewer case
6 fewer cases
No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric studies. There were suicides in the adult studies, 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 studies 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 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 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.
If the decision has been made to discontinue treatment, medication should be tapered, as rapidly as is feasible, but with recognition that abrupt discontinuation can be associated with certain symptoms [see Dosage and Administration (2.4), Warnings and Precautions (5.7) ].
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 desvenlafaxine should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets 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 studies) 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 desvenlafaxine is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including desvenlafaxine, can precipitate serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. The risk is increased with concomitant use of other serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, amphetamines, and St. John’s Wort) and with drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin, i.e., MAOIs [see Contraindications (4), Drug Interactions (7.1)]. Serotonin syndrome can also occur when these drugs are used alone.
Serotonin syndrome signs and symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia), neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination), seizures, and gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
The concomitant use of desvenlafaxine with MAOIs is contraindicated. In addition, do not initiate desvenlafaxine in a patient being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. No reports involved the administration of methylene blue by other routes (such as oral tablets or local tissue injection). If it is necessary to initiate treatment with an MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue in a patient taking desvenlafaxine, discontinue desvenlafaxine before initiating treatment with the MAOI [see Contraindications (4), Drug Interactions (7.1)].
Monitor all patients taking desvenlafaxine for the emergence of serotonin syndrome. Discontinue treatment with desvenlafaxine and any concomitant serotonergic agents immediately if the above symptoms occur, and initiate supportive symptomatic treatment. If concomitant use of desvenlafaxine with other serotonergic drugs is clinically warranted, inform patients of the increased risk for serotonin syndrome and monitor for symptoms.
Patients receiving desvenlafaxine should have regular monitoring of blood pressure since increases in blood pressure were observed in clinical studies [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)]. Pre-existing hypertension should be controlled before initiating treatment with desvenlafaxine. Caution should be exercised in treating patients with pre-existing hypertension, cardiovascular, or cerebrovascular conditions that might be compromised by increases in blood pressure. Cases of elevated blood pressure requiring immediate treatment have been reported with desvenlafaxine.
Sustained blood pressure increases could have adverse consequences. For patients who experience a sustained increase in blood pressure while receiving desvenlafaxine, either dose reduction or discontinuation should be considered [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].
Drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake inhibition, including desvenlafaxine, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anticoagulants 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 have ranged from ecchymosis, hematoma, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages. Inform patients about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of desvenlafaxine and antiplatelet agents or anticoagulants. For patients taking warfarin, carefully monitor coagulation indices when initiating, titrating, or discontinuing desvenlafaxine.
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