Mexiletine Hydrochloride: Package Insert and Label Information

MEXILETINE HYDROCHLORIDE- mexiletine hydrochloride capsule
Lannett Company, Inc.

Lannett Company, Inc.

DESCRIPTION

Mexiletine hydrochloride, USP is an orally active antiarrhythmic agent. It is a white to off-white crystalline powder with slightly bitter taste, freely soluble in water and in alcohol. Mexiletine hydrochloride, USP has a pKa of 9.2. The chemical name of mexiletine hydrochloride, USP is 1-methyl-2-(2,6-xylyloxy)ethylamine hydrochloride and its structural formula is:

Chemical Structure

C 11 H 17 NO∙HCl
Mol. Wt. 215.72

Each capsule for oral administration, contains 150 mg, 200 mg, or 250 mg of mexiletine hydrochloride, USP. 100 mg of mexiletine hydrochloride, USP is equivalent to 83.31 mg of mexiletine base. In addition, each capsule contains the following excipients: colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate and pregelatinized corn starch. The capsule shell contains: FD&C Yellow #6, gelatin and titanium dioxide. The 150 mg capsule also contains: yellow iron oxide, red iron oxide and black iron oxide. The 250 mg capsule also contains: FD&C Blue #1 and D&C Yellow #10. The imprinting ink contains: ammonium hydroxide, black iron oxide, propylene glycol and shellac.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Mechanism of Action

Mexiletine hydrochloride is a local anesthetic, antiarrhythmic agent, structurally similar to lidocaine, but orally active. In animal studies, mexiletine has been shown to be effective in the suppression of induced ventricular arrhythmias, including those induced by glycoside toxicity and coronary artery ligation. Mexiletine, like lidocaine, inhibits the inward sodium current, thus reducing the rate of rise of the action potential, Phase 0. Mexiletine decreased the effective refractory period (ERP) in Purkinje fibers. The decrease in ERP was of lesser magnitude than the decrease in action potential duration (APD), with a resulting increase in the ERP/APD ratio.

Electrophysiology in Man

Mexiletine is a Class 1B antiarrhythmic compound with electrophysiologic properties in man similar to those of lidocaine, but dissimilar from quinidine, procainamide, and disopyramide.

In patients with normal conduction systems, mexiletine has a minimal effect on cardiac impulse generation and propagation. In clinical trials, no development of second-degree or third-degree AV block was observed. Mexiletine did not prolong ventricular depolarization (QRS duration) or repolarization (QT intervals) as measured by electrocardiography. Theoretically, therefore, mexiletine may be useful in the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias associated with a prolonged QT interval.

In patients with pre-existing conduction defects, depression of the sinus rate, prolongation of sinus node recovery time, decreased conduction velocity and increased effective refractory period of the intraventricular conduction system have occasionally been observed.

The antiarrhythmic effect of mexiletine has been established in controlled comparative trials against placebo, quinidine, procainamide and disopyramide. Mexiletine hydrochloride, at doses of 200-400 mg q8h, produced a significant reduction of ventricular premature beats, paired beats, and episodes of non-sustained ventricular tachycardia compared to placebo and was similar in effectiveness to the active agents. Among all patients entered into the studies, about 30% in each treatment group had a 70% or greater reduction in PVC count and about 40% failed to complete the 3-month studies because of adverse effects. Follow-up of patients from the controlled trials has demonstrated continued effectiveness of mexiletine in long-term use.

Hemodynamics

Hemodynamic studies in a limited number of patients, with normal or abnormal myocardial function, following oral administration of mexiletine hydrochloride, have shown small, usually not statistically significant, decreases in cardiac output and increases in systemic vascular resistance, but no significant negative inotropic effect. Blood pressure and pulse rate remain essentially unchanged. Mild depression of myocardial function, similar to that produced by lidocaine, has occasionally been observed following intravenous mexiletine therapy in patients with cardiac disease.

Pharmacokinetics

Mexiletine is well absorbed (~90%) from the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike lidocaine, its first-pass metabolism is low. Peak blood levels are reached in two to three hours. In normal subjects, the plasma elimination half-life of mexiletine is approximately 10-12 hours. It is 50-60% bound to plasma protein, with a volume of distribution of 5-7 liters/kg. Mexiletine is mainly metabolized in the liver, the primary pathway being CYP2D6 metabolism, although it is also a substrate for CYP1A2. With involvement of CYP2D6, there can be either poor or extensive metabolizer phenotypes. Since approximately 90% of mexiletine hydrochloride is metabolized in the liver into inactive metabolites, pathological changes in the liver can restrict hepatic clearance of mexiletine hydrochloride and its metabolites. The metabolic degradation proceeds via various pathways including aromatic and aliphatic hydroxylation, dealkylation, deamination and N-oxidation. Several of the resulting metabolites are submitted to further conjugation with glucuronic acid (phase II metabolism); among these are the major metabolites p-hydroxymexiletine, hydroxy-methylmexiletine and N-hydroxy-mexiletine. Approximately 10% is excreted unchanged by the kidney. While urinary pH does not normally have much influence on elimination, marked changes in urinary pH influence the rate of excretion: acidification accelerates excretion, while alkalinization retards it.

Several metabolites of mexiletine have shown minimal antiarrhythmic activity in animal models. The most active is the minor metabolite N-methylmexiletine, which is less than 20% as potent as mexiletine. The urinary excretion of N-methylmexiletine in man is less than 0.5%. Thus, the therapeutic activity of mexiletine is due to the parent compound.

Hepatic impairment prolongs the elimination half-life of mexiletine. In eight patients with moderate to severe liver disease, the mean half-life was approximately 25 hours.

Consistent with the limited renal elimination of mexiletine, little change in the half-life has been detected in patients with reduced renal function. In eight patients with creatinine clearance less than 10 mL/min, the mean plasma elimination half-life was 15.7 hours; in seven patients with creatinine clearance between 11-40 mL/min, the mean half-life was 13.4 hours.

The absorption rate of mexiletine is reduced in clinical situations such as acute myocardial infarction in which gastric emptying time is increased. Narcotics, atropine and magnesium-aluminum hydroxide have also been reported to slow the absorption of mexiletine. Metoclopramide has been reported to accelerate absorption.

Mexiletine plasma levels of at least 0.5 mcg/mL are generally required for therapeutic response. An increase in the frequency of central nervous system adverse effects has been observed when plasma levels exceed 2 mcg/mL. Thus, the therapeutic range is approximately 0.5 to 2 mcg/mL. Plasma levels within the therapeutic range can be attained with either three times daily or twice daily dosing but peak to trough differences are greater with the latter regimen, creating the possibility of adverse effects at peak and arrhythmic escape at trough. Nevertheless, some patients may be transferred successfully to the twice daily regimen. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Mexiletine hydrochloride capsules, USP are indicated for the treatment of documented ventricular arrhythmias, such as sustained ventricular tachycardia, that, in the judgement of the physician, are life-threatening. Because of the proarrhythmic effects of mexiletine, its use with lesser arrhythmias is generally not recommended. Treatment of patients with asymptomatic ventricular premature contractions should be avoided.

Initiation of mexiletine treatment, as with other antiarrhythmic agents used to treat life-threatening arrhythmias, should be carried out in the hospital.

Antiarrhythmic drugs have not been shown to enhance survival in patients with ventricular arrhythmias.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Mexiletine hydrochloride capsules are contraindicated in the presence of cardiogenic shock or pre-existing second- or third-degree AV block (if no pacemaker is present).

WARNINGS

BOXED WARNING

WARNINGS

Mortality

In the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial (CAST), a long-term, multicentered, randomized, double-blind study in patients with asymptomatic non-life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias who had a myocardial infarction more than six days but less than two years previously, an excessive mortality or non-fatal cardiac arrest rate (7.7%) was seen in patients treated with encainide or flecainide compared with that seen in patients assigned to carefully matched placebo-treated groups (3.0%). The average duration of treatment with encainide or flecainide in this study was ten months.

The applicability of the CAST results to other populations (e.g., those without recent myocardial infarction) is uncertain. Considering the known proarrhythmic properties of mexiletine and the lack of evidence of improved survival for any antiarrhythmic drug in patients without life-threatening arrhythmias, the use of mexiletine as well as other antiarrhythmic agents should be reserved for patients with life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia.

Acute Liver Injury

In postmarketing experience abnormal liver function tests have been reported, some in the first few weeks of therapy with mexiletine hydrochloride. Most of these have been observed in the setting of congestive heart failure or ischemia and their relationship to mexiletine hydrochloride has not been established.

Drug Reactions with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS)

Drug reactions with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) have been reported in patients taking mexiletine. DRESS typically presents with eosinophilia, fever, rash, and/or lymphadenopathy in association with other organ involvement, such as hepatitis, nephritis, hematologic abnormalities, myocarditis, or myositis, sometimes resembling an acute viral infection. Discontinue mexiletine if DRESS is suspected.

PRECAUTIONS

General

If a ventricular pacemaker is operative, patients with second- or third-degree heart block may be treated with mexiletine hydrochloride if continuously monitored. A limited number of patients (45 of 475 in controlled clinical trials) with preexisting first-degree AV block were treated with mexiletine; none of these patients developed second- or third-degree AV block. Caution should be exercised when it is used in such patients or in patients with pre-existing sinus node dysfunction or intraventricular conduction abnormalities.

Like other antiarrhythmics mexiletine hydrochloride can cause worsening of arrhythmias. This has been uncommon in patients with less serious arrhythmias (frequent premature beats or non-sustained ventricular tachycardia: see ADVERSE REACTIONS), but is of greater concern in patients with life-threatening arrhythmias such as sustained ventricular tachycardia. In patients with such arrhythmias subjected to programmed electrical stimulation or to exercise provocation, 10-15% of patients had exacerbation of the arrhythmia, a rate not greater than that of other agents.

Mexiletine should be used with caution in patients with hypotension and severe congestive heart failure because of the potential for aggravating these conditions.

Since mexiletine is metabolized in the liver, and hepatic impairment has been reported to prolong the elimination half-life of mexiletine, patients with liver disease should be followed carefully while receiving mexiletine. The same caution should be observed in patients with hepatic dysfunction secondary to congestive heart failure.

Concurrent drug therapy or dietary regimens which may markedly alter urinary pH should be avoided during mexiletine hydrochloride therapy. The minor fluctuations in urinary pH associated with normal diet do not affect the excretion of mexiletine.

SGOT Elevation and Liver Injury

In three-month controlled trials, elevations of SGOT greater than three times the upper limit of normal occurred in about 1% of both mexiletine-treated and control patients. Approximately 2% of patients in the mexiletine compassionate use program had elevations of SGOT greater than or equal to three times the upper limit of normal. These elevations frequently occurred in association with identifiable clinical events and therapeutic measures such as congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, blood transfusions and other medications. These elevations were often asymptomatic and transient, usually not associated with elevated bilirubin levels and usually did not require discontinuation of therapy. Marked elevations of SGOT (>1,000 U/L) were seen before death in four patients with end-stage cardiac disease (severe congestive heart failure, cardiogenic shock).

Rare instances of severe liver injury, including hepatic necrosis, have been reported in association with mexiletine treatment. It is recommended that patients in whom an abnormal liver test has occurred, or who have signs of symptoms suggesting liver dysfunction, be carefully evaluated. If persistent or worsening elevation of hepatic enzymes is detected, consideration should be given to discontinuing therapy.

Blood Dyscrasias

Among 10,867 patients treated with mexiletine in the compassionate use program, marked leukopenia (neutrophils less than 1,000/mm3) or agranulocytosis were seen in 0.06% and milder depressions of leukocytes were seen in 0.08%, and thrombocytopenia was observed in 0.16%. Many of these patients were seriously ill and receiving concomitant medications with known hematologic adverse effects. Rechallenge with mexiletine in several cases was negative. Marked leukopenia or agranulocytosis did not occur in any patient receiving mexiletine alone; five of the six cases of agranulocytosis were associated with procainamide (sustained release preparations in four) and one with vinblastine. If significant hematologic changes are observed, the patient should be carefully evaluated, and, if warranted, mexiletine should be discontinued. Blood counts usually return to normal within one month of discontinuation (See ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Convulsions (seizures) did not occur in mexiletine controlled clinical trials. In the compassionate use program, convulsions were reported in about 2 of 1,000 patients. Twenty-eight percent of these patients discontinued therapy. Convulsions were reported in patients with and without a prior history of seizures. Mexiletine should be used with caution in patients with known seizure disorder.

Drug Interactions

Since mexiletine hydrochloride is a substrate for the metabolic pathways involving CYP2D6 and CYP1A2 enzymes, inhibition or induction of either of these enzymes would be expected to alter mexiletine plasma concentrations. In a formal, single-dose interaction study (n = 6 males) the clearance of mexiletine was decreased by 38% following the coadministration of fluvoxamine, an inhibitor of CYP1A2. In another formal study (n = 8 extensive and n = 7 poor metabolizers of CYP2D6), coadministration of propafenone did not alter the kinetics of mexiletine in the poor CYP2D6 metabolizer group. However, the metabolic clearance of mexiletine in the extensive metabolizer phenotype decreased by about 70% making the poor and extensive metabolizer groups indistinguishable. In this crossover steady state study, the pharmacokinetics of propafenone were unaffected in either phenotype by the coadministration of mexiletine. Addition of mexiletine to propafenone did not lead to further electrocardiographic parameters changes of QRS, QTc, RR, and PR intervals than propafenone alone. When concomitant administration of either of these two drugs is initiated with mexiletine, the dose of mexiletine should be slowly titrated to desired effect.

In a large compassionate use program mexiletine has been used concurrently with commonly employed antianginal, antihypertensive, and anticoagulant drugs without observed interactions. A variety of antiarrhythmics such as quinidine or propranolol were also added, sometimes with improved control of ventricular ectopy. When phenytoin or other hepatic enzyme inducers such as rifampin and phenobarbital have been taken concurrently with mexiletine, lowered mexiletine plasma levels have been reported. Monitoring of mexiletine plasma levels is recommended during such concurrent use to avoid ineffective therapy.

In a formal study, benzodiazepines were shown not to affect mexiletine plasma concentrations. ECG intervals (PR, QRS, and QT) were not affected by concurrent mexiletine and digoxin, diuretics, or propranolol.

Concurrent administration of cimetidine and mexiletine has been reported to increase, decrease, or leave unchanged mexiletine plasma levels; therefore patients should be followed carefully during concurrent therapy.

Mexiletine does not alter serum digoxin levels but magnesium-aluminum hydroxide, when used to treat gastrointestinal symptoms due to mexiletine, has been reported to lower serum digoxin levels.

Concurrent use of mexiletine and theophylline may lead to increased plasma theophylline levels. One controlled study in eight normal subjects showed a 72% mean increase (range 35%-136%) in plasma theophylline levels. This increase was observed at the first test point which was the second day after starting mexiletine. Theophylline plasma levels returned to pre-mexiletine values within 48 hours after discontinuing mexiletine. If mexiletine and theophylline are to be used concurrently, theophylline blood levels should be monitored, particularly when the mexiletine dose is changed. An appropriate adjustment in theophylline dose should be considered.

Additionally, in one controlled study in five normal subjects and seven patients, the clearance of caffeine was decreased 50% following the administration of mexiletine.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility

Studies of carcinogenesis in rats (24 months) and mice (18 months) did not demonstrate any tumorigenic potential. Mexiletine was found to be non-mutagenic in the Ames test. Mexiletine did not impair fertility in the rat.

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