Prescription Drug Information: Fenofibrate

FENOFIBRATE- fenofibrate capsule
ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

1.1 Primary Hypercholesterolemia or Mixed Dyslipidemia

Fenofibrate capsules are indicated as adjunctive therapy to diet to reduce elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol (total-c), Triglycerides (TG) and apolopoprotein B (Apo B), and to increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in adult patients with primary hypercholesterolemia or mixed dyslipidemia.

1.2 Severe Hypertriglyceridemia

Fenofibrate capsules are also indicated as adjunctive therapy to diet for treatment of adult patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia. Improving glycemic control in diabetic patients showing fasting chylomicronemia will usually obviate the need for pharmacologic intervention.

Markedly elevated levels of serum triglycerides (e.g. > 2,000 mg/dL) may increase the risk of developing pancreatitis. The effect of fenofibrate therapy on reducing this risk has not been adequately studied.

1.3 Important Limitations of Use

Fenofibrate at a dose equivalent to 150 mg was not shown to reduce coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality in 2 large, randomized controlled trials of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 General Considerations

Fenofibrate capsules should be given with meals thereby optimizing the absorption of the medication.

Patients should be advised to swallow fenofibrate capsules whole. Do not open, crush, dissolve or chew capsules.

Patients should be placed on an appropriate lipid-lowering diet before receiving fenofibrate capsules, and should continue this diet during treatment with fenofibrate capsules.

The initial treatment for dyslipidemia is dietary therapy specific for the type of lipoprotein abnormality. Excess body weight and excess alcoholic intake may be important factors in hypertriglyceridemia and should be addressed prior to any drug therapy. Physical exercise can be an important ancillary measure. Diseases contributory to hyperlipidemia, such as hypothyroidism or diabetes mellitus should be looked for and adequately treated. Estrogen therapy, thiazide diuretics and beta-blockers, are sometimes associated with massive rises in plasma triglycerides, especially in subjects with familial hypertriglyceridemia. In such cases, discontinuation of the specific etiologic agent may obviate the need for specific drug therapy of hypertriglyceridemia.

Periodic determination of serum lipids should be obtained during initial therapy in order to establish the lowest effective dose of fenofibrate. Therapy should be withdrawn in patients who do not have an adequate response after two months of treatment with the maximum recommended dose of 150 mg per day.

Consideration should be given to reducing the dosage of fenofibrate if lipid levels fall significantly below the targeted range.

2.2 Primary Hypercholesterolemia or Mixed Dyslipidemia

The dose of fenofibrate capsules is 150 mg once daily.

2.3 Severe Hypertriglyceridemia

The initial dose is 50 to 150 mg per day. Dosage should be individualized according to patient response, and should be adjusted if necessary following repeat lipid determination at 4 to 8 week intervals.

The maximum dose of fenofibrate capsules is 150 mg once daily.

2.4 Impaired Renal Function

In patients with mild-to-moderate renal impairment, treatment with fenofibrate capsules should be initiated at a dose of 50 mg per day, and increased only after evaluation of the effects on renal function and lipid levels at this dose. The use of fenofibrate should be avoided in patients with severe renal impairment [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

2.5 Geriatric Patients

Dose selection for the elderly should be made on the basis of renal function [see Use in Specific Populations (8.5) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

50 mg: Size 3 white opaque gelatin capsule imprinted “G 246” and “50” in black ink.
150 mg: Size 1 white opaque gelatin capsule imprinted “G 248” and “150” in green ink.

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

Fenofibrate capsules are contraindicated in:

patients with severe renal impairment, including those receiving dialysis [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
patients with active liver disease, including those with primary biliary cirrhosis and unexplained persistent liver function abnormalities [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].
patients with preexisting gallbladder disease [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].
patients with known hypersensitivity to fenofibrate or fenofibric acid [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9)].
nursing mothers [see Use in Specific Populations (8.2)].

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Coronary Heart Disease Morbidity and Mortality

The effect of fenofibrate on coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality and non-cardiovascular mortality has not been established.

The Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Lipid (ACCORD Lipid) trial was a randomized placebo-controlled study of 5518 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus on background statin therapy treated with fenofibrate. The mean duration of follow-up was 4.7 years. Fenofibrate plus statin combination therapy showed a non-significant 8% relative risk reduction in the primary outcome of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), a composite of non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, and cardiovascular disease death (hazard ratio [HR] 0.92, 95% CI 0.79-1.08) (p=0.32) as compared to statin monotherapy. In a gender subgroup analysis, the hazard ratio for MACE in men receiving combination therapy versus statin monotherapy was 0.82 (95% CI 0.69-0.99), and the hazard ratio for MACE in women receiving combination therapy versus statin monotherapy was 1.38 (95% CI 0.98-1.94) (interaction p=0.01). The clinical significance of this subgroup finding is unclear.

The Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes (FIELD) study was a 5-year randomized, placebo-controlled study of 9795 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus treated with fenofibrate. Fenofibrate demonstrated a non-significant 11% relative reduction in the primary outcome of coronary heart disease events (hazard ratio [HR] 0.89, 95% CI 0.75-1.05, p=0.16) and a significant 11% reduction in the secondary outcome of total cardiovascular disease events (HR 0.89 [0.80-0.99], p=0.04). There was a non-significant 11% (HR 1.11 [0.95, 1.29], p=0.18) and 19% (HR 1.19 [0.90, 1.57], p=0.22) increase in total and coronary heart disease mortality, respectively, with fenofibrate as compared to placebo.1

Because of chemical, pharmacological, and clinical similarities between fenofibrate, clofibrate, and gemfibrozil, the adverse findings in 4 large randomized, placebo-controlled clinical studies with these other fibrate drugs may also apply to fenofibrate capsules.

In the Coronary Drug Project, a large study of post myocardial infarction patients treated for 5 years with clofibrate, there was no difference in mortality seen between the clofibrate group and the placebo group. There was however, a difference in the rate of cholelithiasis and cholecystitis requiring surgery between the two groups (3.0% vs. 1.8%).

In a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), 5000 subjects without known coronary artery disease were treated with placebo or clofibrate for 5 years and followed for an additional one year. There was a statistically significant, higher age-adjusted all-cause mortality in the clofibrate group compared with the placebo group (5.70% vs. 3.96%, p=<0.01). Excess mortality was due to a 33% increase in non-cardiovascular causes, including malignancy, post-cholecystectomy complications, and pancreatitis. This appeared to confirm the higher risk of gallbladder disease seen in clofibrate-treated patients studied in the Coronary Drug Project.

The Helsinki Heart Study was a large (n=4081) study of middle aged men without a history of coronary artery disease. Subjects received either placebo or gemfibrozil for 5 years, with a 3.5 year open extension afterward. Total mortality was numerically higher in the gemfibrozil randomization group but did not achieve statistical significance (p=0.19, 95% confidence interval for relative risk G:P=0.91-1.64). Although cancer deaths trended higher in the gemfibrozil group (p=0.11), cancers (excluding basal cell carcinoma) were diagnosed with equal frequency in both study groups. Due to the limited size of the study, the relative risk of death from any cause was not shown to be different than that seen in the 9 year follow-up data from the WHO study (RR=1.29).

A secondary prevention component of the Helsinki Heart Study enrolled middle-aged men excluded from the primary prevention study because of known or suspected coronary heart disease. Subjects received gemfibrozil or placebo for 5 years. Although cardiac deaths trended higher in the gemfibrozil group, this was not statistically significant (hazard ratio 2.2, 95% confidence interval: 0.94-5.05).

5.2 Skeletal Muscle

Fibrates increase the risk for myopathy and have been associated with rhabdomyolysis. The risk for serious muscle toxicity appears to be increased in elderly patients and in patients with diabetes, renal insufficiency, or hypothyroidism.

Data from observational studies indicate that the risk for rhabdomyolysis is increased when fibrates, in particular gemfibrozil, are co-administered with an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (statin). The combination should be avoided unless the benefit of further alterations in lipid levels is likely to outweigh the increased risk of this drug combination [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Myopathy should be considered in any patient with diffuse myalgias, muscle tenderness or weakness, and/or marked elevations of creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels.

Patients should be advised to report promptly unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever. Creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels should be assessed in patients reporting these symptoms, and fenofibrate therapy should be discontinued if markedly elevated CPK levels occur or myopathy is diagnosed.

Cases of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, have been reported with fenofibrates co-administered with colchicine, and caution should be exercised when prescribing fenofibrate with colchicine [see Drug Interactions (7.4)].

5.3 Liver Function

Fenofibrate at doses equivalent to 100 mg to 150 mg fenofibrate per day has been associated with increases in serum transaminases [AST (SGOT) or ALT (SGPT)]. In a pooled analysis of 10 placebo-controlled trials of fenofibrate, increases to > 3 times the upper limit of normal of ALT occurred in 5.3% of patients taking fenofibrate versus 1.1% of patients treated with placebo. The incidence of increases in transaminases observed with fenofibrate therapy may be dose related. When transaminase determinations were followed either after discontinuation of treatment or during continued treatment, a return to normal limits was usually observed.

Chronic active hepatocellular and cholestatic hepatitis associated with fenofibrate therapy have been reported after exposures of weeks to several years. In extremely rare cases, cirrhosis has been reported in association with chronic active hepatitis.

Baseline and regular monitoring of liver tests, including ALT should be performed for the duration of therapy with fenofibrate, and therapy discontinued if enzyme levels persist above three times the normal limit.

5.4 Serum Creatinine

Elevations in serum creatinine have been reported in patients on fenofibrate. These elevations tend to return to baseline following discontinuation of fenofibrate. The clinical significance of these observations is unknown. Monitor renal function in patients with renal impairment taking fenofibrate. Renal monitoring should also be considered for patients taking fenofibrate and are at risk for renal insufficiency, such as the elderly and patients with diabetes.

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