Prescription Drug Information: Fenofibrate (Page 2 of 5)

5.5 Cholelithiasis

Fenofibrate, like clofibrate and gemfibrozil, may increase cholesterol excretion into the bile, leading to cholelithiasis. If cholelithiasis is suspected, gallbladder studies are indicated. Fenofibrate tablet therapy should be discontinued if gallstones are found.

5.6 Coumarin Anticoagulants

Caution should be exercised when coumarin anticoagulants are given in conjunction with fenofibrate tablets because of the potentiation of coumarin-type anticoagulant effects in prolonging the Prothrombin Time/International Normalized Ratio (PT/INR). To prevent bleeding complications, frequent monitoring of PT/INR and dose adjustment of the anticoagulant are recommended until PT/INR has stabilized [see Drug Interactions (7.1)].

5.7 Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis has been reported in patients taking fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and clofibrate. This occurrence may represent a failure of efficacy in patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia, a direct drug effect, or a secondary phenomenon mediated through biliary tract stone or sludge formation with obstruction of the common bile duct.

5.8 Hematologic Changes

Mild to moderate hemoglobin, hematocrit, and white blood cell decreases have been observed in patients following initiation of fenofibrate therapy. However, these levels stabilize during long-term administration. Thrombocytopenia and agranulocytosis have been reported in individuals treated with fenofibrate. Periodic monitoring of red and white blood cell counts is recommended during the first 12 months of fenofibrate tablets administration.

5.9 Hypersensitivity Reactions

Acute hypersensitivity reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis requiring patient hospitalization and treatment with steroids have been reported in individuals treated with fenofibrates. Urticaria was seen in 1.1 vs. 0%, and rash in 1.4 vs. 0.8% of fenofibrate and placebo patients, respectively, in controlled trials.

5.10 Venothromboembolic Disease

In the FIELD trial, pulmonary embolus (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) were observed at higher rates in the fenofibrate- than the placebo-treated group. Of 9,795 patients enrolled in FIELD, there were 4,900 in the placebo group and 4,895 in the fenofibrate group. For DVT, there were 48 events (1%) in the placebo group and 67 (1%) in the fenofibrate group (p = 0.074); and for PE, there were 32 (0.7%) events in the placebo group and 53 (1%) in the fenofibrate group (p = 0.022).

In the Coronary Drug Project, a higher proportion of the clofibrate group experienced definite or suspected fatal or nonfatal pulmonary embolism or thrombophlebitis than the placebo group (5.2% vs. 3.3% at five years; p < 0.01).

5.11 Paradoxical Decreases in HDL Cholesterol Levels

There have been postmarketing and clinical trial reports of severe decreases in HDL cholesterol levels (as low as 2 mg/dL) occurring in diabetic and non-diabetic patients initiated on fibrate therapy. The decrease in HDL-C is mirrored by a decrease in apolipoprotein A1. This decrease has been reported to occur within 2 weeks to years after initiation of fibrate therapy. The HDL-C levels remain depressed until fibrate therapy has been withdrawn; the response to withdrawal of fibrate therapy is rapid and sustained. The clinical significance of this decrease in HDL-C is unknown. It is recommended that HDL-C levels be checked within the first few months after initiation of fibrate therapy. If a severely depressed HDL-C level is detected, fibrate therapy should be withdrawn, and the HDL-C level monitored until it has returned to baseline, and fibrate therapy should not be re-initiated.

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience

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

Adverse events reported by 2% or more of patients treated with fenofibrate (and greater than placebo) during the double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, regardless of causality, are listed in Table 1 below. Adverse events led to discontinuation of treatment in 5% of patients treated with fenofibrate and in 3% treated with placebo. Increases in liver function tests were the most frequent events, causing discontinuation of fenofibrate treatment in 1.6% of patients in double-blind trials.

Table 1. Adverse Reactions Reported by 2% or More of Patients Treated with Fenofibrate and Greater than Placebo During the Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trials
BODY SYSTEM Fenofibrate * Placebo
Adverse Event (N = 439) (N = 365)
*
Dosage equivalent to 145 mg fenofibrate tablets
Significantly different from Placebo

BODY AS A WHOLE

Abdominal Pain

4.6%

4.4%

Back Pain

3.4%

2.5%

Headache

3.2%

2.7%

DIGESTIVE

Nausea

2.3%

1.9%

Constipation

2.1%

1.4%

METABOLIC AND NUTRITIONAL DISORDERS

Abnormal Liver Function Tests

7.5%

1.4%

Increased ALT

3%

1.6%

Increased CPK

3%

1.4%

Increased AST

3.4%

0.5%

RESPIRATORY

Respiratory Disorder

6.2%

5.5%

Rhinitis

2.3%

1.1%

6.2 Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of fenofibrate: myalgia, rhabdomyolysis, pancreatitis, acute renal failure, muscle spasm, hepatitis, cirrhosis, anemia, arthralgia, decreases in hemoglobin, decreases in hematocrit, white blood cell decreases, asthenia, and severely depressed HDL-cholesterol levels. 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.

7 DRUG INTERACTIONS

7.1 Coumarin Anticoagulants

Potentiation of coumarin-type anticoagulant effects has been observed with prolongation of the PT/INR.

Caution should be exercised when coumarin anticoagulants are given in conjunction with fenofibrate tablets. The dosage of the anticoagulants should be reduced to maintain the PT/INR at the desired level to prevent bleeding complications. Frequent PT/INR determinations are advisable until it has been definitely determined that the PT/INR has stabilized [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].

7.2 Immunosuppressants

Immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus can produce nephrotoxicity with decreases in creatinine clearance and rises in serum creatinine, and because renal excretion is the primary elimination route of fibrate drugs including fenofibrate tablets, there is a risk that an interaction will lead to deterioration of renal function. The benefits and risks of using fenofibrate tablets with immunosuppressants and other potentially nephrotoxic agents should be carefully considered, and the lowest effective dose employed and renal function monitored.

7.3 Bile Acid Binding Resins

Since bile acid binding resins may bind other drugs given concurrently, patients should take fenofibrate tablets at least 1 hour before or 4 to 6 hours after a bile acid binding resin to avoid impeding its absorption.

7.4 Colchicine

Cases of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, have been reported with fenofibrates co-administered with colchicine, and caution should be exercised when prescribing fenofibrate with colchicine.

8 USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

8.1 Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects

Pregnancy Category C

Safety in pregnant women has not been established. There are no adequate and well controlled studies of fenofibrate in pregnant women. Fenofibrate should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

In female rats given oral dietary doses of 15, 75, and 300 mg/kg/day of fenofibrate from 15 days prior to mating through weaning, maternal toxicity was observed at 0.3 times the MRHD, based on body surface area comparisons; mg/m2.

In pregnant rats given oral dietary doses of 14, 127, and 361 mg/kg/day from gestation day 6 to 15 during the period of organogenesis, adverse developmental findings were not observed at 14 mg/kg/day (less than 1 times the MRHD, based on body surface area comparisons; mg/m2). At higher multiples of human doses, evidence of maternal toxicity was observed.

In pregnant rabbits given oral gavage doses of 15, 150, and 300 mg/kg/day from gestation day 6 to 18 during the period of organogenesis and allowed to deliver, aborted litters were observed at 150 mg/kg/day (10 times the MRHD, based on body surface area comparisons: mg/m2). No developmental findings were observed at 15 mg/kg/day (at less than 1 times the MRHD, based on body surface area comparisons; mg/m2).

In pregnant rats given oral dietary doses of 15, 75, and 300 mg/kg/day from gestation day 15 through lactation day 21 (weaning), maternal toxicity was observed at less than 1 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD), based on body surface area comparisons; mg/m2.

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