Prescription Drug Information: Focalin XR

FOCALIN XR- dexmethylphenidate hydrochloride capsule, extended release
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

WARNING: ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE

CNS stimulants, including Focalin XR, other methylphenidate-containing products, and amphetamines, have a high potential for abuse and dependence. Assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing, and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while on therapy [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.2, 9.3)].

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Focalin XR is indicated for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) [see Clinical Studies (14)].

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 Pretreatment Screening

Prior to treating pediatric patients and adults with central nervous system (CNS) stimulants, including Focalin XR, assess for the presence of cardiac disease (i.e., perform a careful history, including family history of sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia, and physical examination) [see Warnings and Precautions 5.2].

Assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing, and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while on therapy. Maintain careful prescription records, educate patients about abuse, monitor for signs of abuse and overdose, and periodically reevaluate the need for Focalin XR use [see Boxed Warning, Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.2, 9.3)].

2.2 Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Patients New to Methylphenidate

The recommended starting dosage of Focalin XR for patients who are not currently taking dexmethylphenidate or racemic methylphenidate, or for patients who are on stimulants other than methylphenidate are:

  • Pediatric patients: Start with 5 mg orally once daily in the morning with or without food.
  • Adult patients: Start with 10 mg orally once daily in the morning with or without food.

Patients Currently on Methylphenidate

The recommended starting dose of Focalin XR for patients currently using methylphenidate is half (1/2) the total daily dose of racemic methylphenidate.

Patients currently using Focalin (dexmethylphenidate) immediate-release tablets may be given the same daily dose of Focalin XR.

Titration Schedule

The dose may be titrated weekly in increments of 5 mg in pediatric patients and 10 mg in adult patients. The dose should be individualized according to the needs and response of the patient. Daily doses above 30 mg in pediatrics and 40 mg in adults have not been studied and are not recommended.

Maintenance/Extended Treatment

Pharmacological treatment of ADHD may be needed for extended periods. Periodically reevaluate the long-term use of Focalin XR and adjust dosage as needed.

2.3 Administration Instructions

Focalin XR is administered orally and may be taken whole or the capsule may be opened and the entire contents sprinkled onto applesauce. If the patient is using the sprinkled administration method, the sprinkled applesauce should be consumed immediately; it should not be stored. Patients should take the applesauce with sprinkled beads in its entirety without chewing. The dose of a single capsule should not be divided. The contents of the entire capsule should be taken, and patients should not take anything less than one capsule per day.

2.4 Dose Reduction and Discontinuation

If paradoxical aggravation of symptoms or other adverse reactions occur, reduce the dosage, or if necessary, discontinue Focalin XR. If improvement is not observed after appropriate dosage adjustment over a one-month period, the drug should be discontinued.

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

  • 5 mg extended-release capsules – light blue opaque cap and body (imprinted with “NVR” on cap and “D5” on the body)
  • 10 mg extended-release capsules – light caramel opaque cap and body (imprinted with “NVR” on cap and “D10” on the body)
  • 15 mg extended-release capsules – green opaque cap and body (imprinted with “NVR” on cap and “D15” on the body)
  • 20 mg extended-release capsules – white opaque cap and body (imprinted with “NVR” on cap and “D20” on the body)
  • 25 mg extended-release capsules – light blue opaque cap and white opaque body (imprinted with “NVR” on cap and “D25” on the body)
  • 30 mg extended-release capsules – light caramel opaque cap and white opaque body (imprinted with “NVR” on cap and “D30” on the body
  • 35 mg extended-release capsules – light blue opaque cap and light caramel opaque body (imprinted with “NVR” on cap and “D35” on the body
  • 40 mg extended-release capsules – green opaque cap and white opaque body (imprinted with “NVR” on cap and “D40” on the body

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Hypersensitivity to methylphenidate or other components of Focalin XR. Hypersensitivity reactions, such as angioedema and anaphylactic reactions have been reported in patients treated with methylphenidate [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].
  • Concomitant treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or within 14 days following discontinuation of treatment with an MAOI, because of the risk of hypertensive crises [see Drug Interactions (7.1)].

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Potential for Abuse and Dependence

CNS stimulants, including Focalin XR, other methylphenidate-containing products, and amphetamines, have a high potential for abuse and dependence. Assess the risk of abuse prior to prescribing, and monitor for signs of abuse and dependence while on therapy [see Boxed Warning, Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.2, 9.3)].

5.2 Serious Cardiovascular Reactions

Sudden death, stroke and myocardial infarction have been reported in adults with CNS stimulant treatment at recommended doses. Sudden death has been reported in pediatric patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems taking CNS stimulants at recommended doses for ADHD. Avoid use in patients with known serious structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, coronary artery disease, and other serious heart problems. Further evaluate patients who develop exertional chest pain, unexplained syncope, or arrhythmias during Focalin XR treatment.

5.3 Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Increases

CNS stimulants cause an increase in blood pressure (mean increase approximately 2 to 4 mmHg) and heart rate (mean increase approximately 3 to 6 beats per minute). Individuals may have larger increases. Monitor all patients for hypertension and tachycardia.

5.4 Psychiatric Adverse Reactions

Exacerbation of Preexisting Psychosis

CNS stimulants may exacerbate symptoms of behavior disturbance and thought disorder in patients with a preexisting psychotic disorder.

Induction of a Manic Episode in Patients with Bipolar Disorder

CNS stimulants may induce a manic or mixed mood episode in patients. Prior to initiating treatment, screen patients for risk factors for developing manic episode (e.g., comorbid or history of depressive symptoms or a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, or depression).

New Psychotic or Manic Symptoms

CNS stimulants, at recommended doses, may cause psychotic or manic symptoms (e.g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania) in patients without a prior history of psychotic illness or mania. If such symptoms occur, consider discontinuing Focalin XR. In a pooled analysis of multiple short-term, placebo-controlled studies of CNS stimulants, psychotic or manic symptoms occurred in approximately 0.1% of CNS stimulant-treated patients, compared to 0 in placebo-treated patients.

5.5 Priapism

Prolonged and painful erections, sometimes requiring surgical intervention, have been reported with methylphenidate products in both pediatric and adult patients. Priapism was not reported with drug initiation but developed after some time on the drug, often subsequent to an increase in dose. Priapism has also appeared during a period of drug withdrawal (drug holidays or during discontinuation). Patients who develop abnormally sustained or frequent and painful erections should seek immediate medical attention.

5.6 Peripheral Vasculopathy, Including Raynaud’s Phenomenon

CNS stimulants, including Focalin XR, used to treat ADHD are associated with peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon. Signs and symptoms are usually intermittent and mild; however, very rare sequelae include digital ulceration and/or soft tissue breakdown. Effects of peripheral vasculopathy, including Raynaud’s phenomenon, were observed in post-marketing reports at different times and at therapeutic doses in all age groups throughout the course of treatment. Signs and symptoms generally improve after reduction in dose or discontinuation of drug. Careful observation for digital changes is necessary during treatment with ADHD stimulants. Further clinical evaluation (e.g., rheumatology referral) may be appropriate for certain patients.

5.7 Long-Term Suppression of Growth

CNS stimulants have been associated with weight loss and slowing of growth rate in pediatric patients.

In a 7-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of Focalin XR, the mean weight gain was greater for pediatric patients (ages 6 to 17 years) receiving placebo (+0.4 kg) than for patients receiving Focalin XR (-0.5 kg).

Careful follow-up of weight and height in pediatric patients ages 7 to 10 years who were randomized to either methylphenidate or non-medication treatment groups over 14 months, as well as in naturalistic subgroups of newly methylphenidate-treated and non-medication treated patients over 36 months (to the ages of 10 to 13 years), suggests that consistently medicated pediatric patients (i.e., treatment for 7 days per week throughout the year) have a temporary slowing in growth rate (on average, a total of about 2 cm less growth in height and 2.7 kg less growth in weight over 3 years), without evidence of growth rebound during this period of development.

Closely monitor growth (weight and height) in pediatric patients treated with CNS stimulants, including Focalin XR, and patients who are not growing or gaining height or weight as expected may need to have their treatment interrupted.

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

The following are discussed in more detail in other sections of the labeling:

  • Abuse and Dependence [see Boxed Warning, Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.2, 9.3)]
  • Known hypersensitivity to methylphenidate or other ingredients of Focalin XR [see Contraindications (4)]
  • Hypertensive Crisis with Concomitant Use of Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors [see Contraindications (4), Drug Interactions (7.1)]
  • Serious Cardiovascular Reactions [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]
  • Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Increases [see Warnings and Precautions[(5.3)]
  • Psychiatric Adverse Reactions [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)]
  • Priapism [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)]
  • Peripheral Vasculopathy, Including Raynaud’s Phenomenon [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)]
  • Long-Term Suppression of Growth [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)]

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