The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur with SNRIs and SSRIs, including fluoxetine treatment, particularly with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs (including triptans) and with drugs which impair metabolism of serotonin (including MAOIs). Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., hyperreflexia, incoordination) and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
The concomitant use of fluoxetine with MAOIs intended to treat depression is contraindicated (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and Drug Interactions under PRECAUTIONS).
If concomitant treatment of fluoxetine with a 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonist (triptan) is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases (see Drug Interactions under PRECAUTIONS).
The concomitant use of fluoxetine with serotonin precursors (such as tryptophan) is not recommended (see Drug Interactions under PRECAUTIONS).
In a study of 19 healthy male subjects, which included 6 slow and 13 rapid hydroxylators of debrisoquin, a single 25 mg oral dose of thioridazine produced a 2.4 fold higher C max and a 4.5 fold higher AUC for thioridazine in the slow hydroxylators compared with the rapid hydroxylators. The rate of debrisoquin hydroxylation is felt to depend on the level of CYP2D6 isozyme activity. Thus, this study suggests that drugs which inhibit CYP2D6, such as certain SSRIs, including fluoxetine, will produce elevated plasma levels of thioridazine (see PRECAUTIONS).
Thioridazine administration produces a dose-related prolongation of the QTc interval, which is associated with serious ventricular arrhythmias, such as Torsades de pointes-type arrhythmias, and sudden death. This risk is expected to increase with fluoxetine-induced inhibition of thioridazine metabolism (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
SSRIs and SNRIs, including fluoxetine, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anti-coagulants 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 use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages.
Patients should be cautioned about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of fluoxetine and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation (see Drug Interactions).
In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for major depressive disorder, 12% to 16% of patients treated with fluoxetine and 7% to 9% of patients treated with placebo reported anxiety, nervousness, or insomnia.
In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for OCD, insomnia was reported in 28% of patients treated with fluoxetine and in 22% of patients treated with placebo. Anxiety was reported in 14% of patients treated with fluoxetine and in 7% of patients treated with placebo.
In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for bulimia nervosa, insomnia was reported in 33% of patients treated with fluoxetine 60 mg, and 13% of patients treated with placebo. Anxiety and nervousness were reported, respectively, in 15% and 11% of patients treated with fluoxetine 60 mg and in 9% and 5% of patients treated with placebo.
Among the most common adverse events associated with discontinuation (incidence at least twice that for placebo and at least 1% for fluoxetine in clinical trials collecting only a primary event associated with discontinuation) in U.S. placebo-controlled fluoxetine clinical trials were anxiety (2% in OCD), insomnia (1% in combined indications and 2% in bulimia), and nervousness (1% in major depressive disorder) (see Table 4).
Significant weight loss, especially in underweight depressed or bulimic patients, may be an undesirable result of treatment with fluoxetine.
In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for major depressive disorder, 11% of patients treated with fluoxetine and 2% of patients treated with placebo reported anorexia (decreased appetite). Weight loss was reported in 1.4% of patients treated with fluoxetine and in 0.5% of patients treated with placebo. However, only rarely have patients discontinued treatment with fluoxetine because of anorexia or weight loss (see also Pediatric Use under PRECAUTIONS).
In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for OCD, 17% of patients treated with fluoxetine and 10% of patients treated with placebo reported anorexia (decreased appetite). One patient discontinued treatment with fluoxetine because of anorexia (see also Pediatric Use under PRECAUTIONS).
In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for bulimia nervosa, 8% of patients treated with fluoxetine 60 mg and 4% of patients treated with placebo reported anorexia (decreased appetite). Patients treated with fluoxetine 60 mg on average lost 0.45 kg compared with a gain of 0.16 kg by patients treated with placebo in the 16 week double-blind trial. Weight change should be monitored during therapy.
In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for major depressive disorder, mania/hypomania was reported in 0.1% of patients treated with fluoxetine and 0.1% of patients treated with placebo. Activation of mania/hypomania has also been reported in a small proportion of patients with Major Affective Disorder treated with other marketed drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder (see also Pediatric Use under PRECAUTIONS).
In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for OCD, mania/hypomania was reported in 0.8% of patients treated with fluoxetine and no patients treated with placebo. No patients reported mania/hypomania in U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for bulimia. In all U.S. fluoxetine clinical trials as of May 8, 1995, 0.7% of 10,782 patients reported mania/hypomania (see also Pediatric Use under PRECAUTIONS).
Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including fluoxetine. In many cases, this hyponatremia appears to be the result of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH). Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported and appeared to be reversible when fluoxetine was discontinued. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are otherwise volume depleted may be at greater risk (see Geriatric Use). Discontinuation of fluoxetine should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia and appropriate medical intervention should be instituted.
Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. More severe and/or acute cases have been associated with hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.
In U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for major depressive disorder, convulsions (or events described as possibly having been seizures) were reported in 0.1% of patients treated with fluoxetine and 0.2% of patients treated with placebo. No patients reported convulsions in U.S. placebo-controlled clinical trials for either OCD or bulimia. In all U.S. fluoxetine clinical trials as of May 8, 1995, 0.2% of 10,782 patients reported convulsions. The percentage appears to be similar to that associated with other marketed drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Fluoxetine should be introduced with care in patients with a history of seizures.
Because of the long elimination half-lives of the parent drug and its major active metabolite, changes in dose will not be fully reflected in plasma for several weeks, affecting both strategies for titration to final dose and withdrawal from treatment (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Clinical experience with fluoxetine in patients with concomitant systemic illness is limited. Caution is advisable in using fluoxetine in patients with diseases or conditions that could affect metabolism or hemodynamic responses.
Fluoxetine has not been evaluated or used to any appreciable extent in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable heart disease. Patients with these diagnoses were systematically excluded from clinical studies during the product’s premarket testing. However, the electrocardiograms of 312 patients who received fluoxetine in double-blind trials were retrospectively evaluated; no conduction abnormalities that resulted in heart block were observed. The mean heart rate was reduced by approximately 3 beats/min.
In subjects with cirrhosis of the liver, the clearances of fluoxetine and its active metabolite, norfluoxetine, were decreased, thus increasing the elimination half-lives of these substances. A lower or less frequent dose should be used in patients with cirrhosis.
Studies in depressed patients on dialysis did not reveal excessive accumulation of fluoxetine or norfluoxetine in plasma (see Renal Disease under CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). Use of a lower or less frequent dose for renally impaired patients is not routinely necessary (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
In patients with diabetes, fluoxetine may alter glycemic control. Hypoglycemia has occurred during therapy with fluoxetine, and hyperglycemia has developed following discontinuation of the drug. As is true with many other types of medication when taken concurrently by patients with diabetes, insulin and/or oral hypoglycemic dosage may need to be adjusted when therapy with fluoxetine is instituted or discontinued.
Any psychoactive drug may impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills, and patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including automobiles, until they are reasonably certain that the drug treatment does not affect them adversely.
During marketing of fluoxetine and other SSRIs and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon discontinuation of these drugs, particularly when abrupt, including the following: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, and hypomania. While these events are generally self-limiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms. Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with fluoxetine. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate. Plasma fluoxetine and norfluoxetine concentration decrease gradually at the conclusion of therapy, which may minimize the risk of discontinuation symptoms with this drug (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
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