Prescription Drug Information: Lamotrigine

LAMOTRIGINE- lamotrigine tablet
REMEDYREPACK INC.

WARNING: SERIOUS SKIN RASHES

Lamotrigine can cause serious rashes requiring hospitalization and discontinuation of treatment. The incidence of these rashes, which have included Stevens-Johnson syndrome, is approximately 0.3% to 0.8% in pediatric patients (aged 2 to 17 years) and 0.08% to 0.3% in adults receiving lamotrigine. One rash-related death was eported in a prospectively followed cohort of 1,983 pediatric patients (aged 2 to 16 years) with epilepsy taking lamotrigine as adjunctive therapy. In worldwide postmarketing experience, rare cases of toxic epidermal necrolysis and/or rash-related death have been reported in adult and pediatric patients, but their numbers are too few to permit a precise estimate of the rate.

Other than age, there are as yet no factors identified that are known to predict the risk of occurrence or the severity of rash caused by lamotrigine. There are suggestions, yet to be proven, that the risk of rash may also be increased by (1) coadministration of lamotrigine with valproate (includes valproic acid and divalproex sodium), (2) exceeding the recommended initial dose of lamotrigine, or (3) exceeding the recommended dose escalation for lamotrigine. However, cases have occurred in the absence of these factors.

Nearly all cases of life-threatening rashes caused by lamotrigine have occurred within 2 to 8 weeks of treatment initiation. However, isolated cases have occurred after prolonged treatment (e.g., 6 months). Accordingly, duration of therapy cannot be relied upon as means to predict the potential risk heralded by the first appearance of a rash.

Although benign rashes are also caused by lamotrigine, it is not possible to predictreliably which rashes will prove to be serious or life threatening. Accordingly, lamotrigine should ordinarily be discontinued at the first sign of rash, unless the rash is clearly not drug related. Discontinuation of treatment may not prevent a rash from becoming life threatening or permanently disabling or disfiguring [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1)] .

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

1.1 Epilepsy

Adjunctive Therapy

Lamotrigine is indicated as adjunctive therapy for the following seizure types in patients aged 2 years and older:

  • partial-onset seizures.
  • primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures (PGTC) seizures.
  • generalized seizures of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Monotherapy

Lamotrigine is indicated for conversion to monotherapy in adults (aged 16 years and older) with partial-onset seizures who are receiving treatment with carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or valproate as the single antiepileptic drug (AED).

Safety and effectiveness of lamotrigine have not been established (1) as initial monotherapy; (2) for conversion to monotherapy from AEDs other than carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or valproate; or (3) for simultaneous conversion to monotherapy from 2 or more concomitant AEDs.

1.2 Bipolar Disorder

Lamotrigine is indicated for the maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder to delay the time to occurrence of mood episodes (depression, mania, hypomania, mixed episodes) in patients treated for acute mood episodes with standard therapy [see Clinical Studies ( 14.1)] .

Limitations of Use

Treatment of acute manic or mixed episodes is not recommended. Effectiveness of lamotrigine in the acute treatment of mood episodes has not been established.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 General Dosing Considerations

Rash

There are suggestions, yet to be proven, that the risk of severe, potentially life-threatening rash may be increased by (1) coadministration of lamotrigine with valproate, (2) exceeding the recommended initial dose of lamotrigine, or (3) exceeding the recommended dose escalation for lamotrigine. However, cases have occurred in the absence of these factors [see Boxed Warning] . Therefore, it is important that the dosing recommendations be followed closely.

The risk of nonserious rash may be increased when the recommended initial dose and/or the rate of dose escalation for lamotrigine is exceeded and in patients with a history of allergy or rash to other AEDs.

It is recommended that lamotrigine not be restarted in patients who discontinued due to rash associated with prior treatment with lamotrigine, unless the potential benefits clearly outweigh the risks. If the decision is made to restart a patient who has discontinued lamotrigine, the need to restart with the initial dosing recommendations should be assessed. The greater the interval of time since the previous dose, the greater consideration should be given to restarting with the initial dosing recommendations. If a patient has discontinued lamotrigine for a period of more than 5 half-lives, it is recommended that initial dosing recommendations and guidelines be followed. The half-life of lamotrigine is affected by other concomitant medications [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .

Lamotrigine Added to Drugs Known to Induce or Inhibit Glucuronidation

Because lamotrigine is metabolized predominantly by glucuronic acid conjugation, drugs that are known to induce or inhibit glucuronidation may affect the apparent clearance of lamotrigine. Drugs that induce glucuronidation include carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, rifampin, estrogen-containing oral contraceptives, and the protease inhibitors lopinavir/ritonavir and atazanavir/ritonavir. Valproate inhibits glucuronidation. For dosing considerations for lamotrigine in patients on estrogen-containing contraceptives and atazanavir/ritonavir, see below and Table 13. For dosing considerations for lamotrigine in patients on other drugs known to induce or inhibit glucuronidation, see Tables 1, 2, 5-6, and 13.

Target Plasma Levels for Patients with Epilepsy or Bipolar Disorder

A therapeutic plasma concentration range has not been established for lamotrigine. Dosing of lamotrigine should be based on therapeutic response [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .

Women Taking Estrogen-Containing Oral Contraceptives

Starting Lamotrigine in Women Taking Estrogen-Containing Oral Contraceptives

Although estrogen-containing oral contraceptives have been shown to increase the clearance of lamotrigine [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] , no adjustments to the recommended dose-escalation guidelines for lamotrigine should be necessary solely based on the use of estrogen-containing oral contraceptives. Therefore, dose escalation should follow the recommended guidelines for initiating adjunctive therapy with lamotrigine based on the concomitant AED or other concomitant medications (see Tables 1, 5 and 7). See below for adjustments to maintenance doses of lamotrigine in women taking estrogen-containing oral contraceptives.

Adjustments to the Maintenance Dose of Lamotrigine in Women Taking Estrogen-Containing Oral Contraceptives

(1) Taking Estrogen-Containing Oral Contraceptives

In women not taking carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or other drugs such as rifampin and the protease inhibitors lopinavir/ritonavir and atazanavir/ritonavir that induce lamotrigine glucuronidation [see Drug Interactions ( 7), Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] , the maintenance dose of lamotrigine will in most cases need to be increased by as much as 2-fold over the recommended target maintenance dose to maintain a consistent lamotrigine plasma level.

(2) Starting Estrogen-Containing Oral Contraceptives

In women taking a stable dose of lamotrigine and not taking carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or other drugs such as rifampin and the protease inhibitors lopinavir/ritonavir and atazanavir/ritonavir that induce lamotrigine glucuronidation [see Drug Interactions ( 7), Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] , the maintenance dose will in most cases need to be increased by as much as 2-fold to maintain a consistent lamotrigine plasma level. The dose increases should begin at the same time that the oral contraceptive is introduced and continue, based on clinical response, no more rapidly than 50 to 100 mg/day every week. Dose increases should not exceed the recommended rate (see Table 1 and 5) unless lamotrigine plasma levels or clinical response support larger increases. Gradual transient increases in lamotrigine plasma levels may occur during the week of inactive hormonal preparation (pill-free week), and these increases will be greater if dose increases are made in the days before or during the week of inactive hormonal preparation. Increased lamotrigine plasma levels could result in additional adverse reactions, such as dizziness, ataxia, and diplopia. If adverse reactions attributable to lamotrigine consistently occur during the pill-free week, dose adjustments to the overall maintenance dose may be necessary. Dose adjustments limited to the pill-free week are not recommended. For women taking lamotrigine in addition to carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or other drugs such as rifampin and the protease inhibitors lopinavir/ritonavir and atazanavir/ritonavir that induce lamotrigine glucuronidation [see Drug Interactions ( 7), Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] , no adjustment to the dose of lamotrigine should be necessary.

(3) Stopping Estrogen-Containing Oral Contraceptives

In women not taking carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or other drugs such as rifampin and the protease inhibitors lopinavir/ritonavir and atazanavir/ritonavir that induce lamotrigine glucuronidation [see Drug Interactions ( 7), Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] , the maintenance dose of lamotrigine will in most cases need to be decreased by as much as 50% in order to maintain a consistent lamotrigine plasma level. The decrease in dose of lamotrigine should not exceed 25% of the total daily dose per week over a 2-week period, unless clinical response or lamotrigine plasma levels indicate otherwise [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] . In women taking lamotrigine in addition to carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or other drugs such as rifampin and the protease inhibitors lopinavir/ritonavir and atazanavir/ritonavir that induce lamotrigine glucuronidation [see Drug Interactions ( 7), Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] , no adjustment to the dose of lamotrigine should be necessary.

Women and Other Hormonal Contraceptive Preparations or Hormone Replacement Therapy

The effect of other hormonal contraceptive preparations or hormone replacement therapy on the pharmacokinetics of lamotrigine has not been systematically evaluated. It has been reported that ethinylestradiol, not progestogens, increased the clearance of lamotrigine up to 2-fold, and the progestin-only pills had no effect on lamotrigine plasma levels. Therefore, adjustments to the dosage of lamotrigine in the presence of progestogens alone will likely not be needed.

Patients Taking Atazanavir/Ritonavir

While atazanavir/ritonavir does reduce the lamotrigine plasma concentration, no adjustments to the recommended dose-escalation guidelines for lamotrigine should be necessary solely based on the use of atazanavir/ritonavir. Dose escalation should follow the recommended guidelines for initiating adjunctive therapy with lamotrigine based on concomitant AED or other concomitant medications (see Tables 1, 2, and 5). In patients already taking maintenance doses of lamotrigine and not taking glucuronidation inducers, the dose of lamotrigine may need to be increased if atazanavir/ritonavir is added, or decreased if atazanavir/ritonavir is discontinued [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .

Patients with Hepatic Impairment

Experience in patients with hepatic impairment is limited. Based on a clinical pharmacology study in 24 subjects with mild, moderate, and severe liver impairment [see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.6), Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] , the following general recommendations can be made. No dosage adjustment is needed in patients with mild liver impairment. Initial, escalation, and maintenance doses should generally be reduced by approximately 25% in patients with moderate and severe liver impairment without ascites and 50% in patients with severe liver impairment with ascites. Escalation and maintenance doses may be adjusted according to clinical response.

Patients with Renal Impairment

Initial doses of lamotrigine should be based on patients’ concomitant medications (see Tables 1-3 and 5); reduced maintenance doses may be effective for patients with significant renal impairment [see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.6), Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] . Few patients with severe renal impairment have been evaluated during chronic treatment with lamotrigine. Because there is inadequate experience in this population, lamotrigine should be used with caution in these patients.

Discontinuation Strategy

Epilepsy

For patients receiving lamotrigine in combination with other AEDs, a re-evaluation of all AEDs in the regimen should be considered if a change in seizure control or an appearance or worsening of adverse reactions is observed.

If a decision is made to discontinue therapy with lamotrigine, a step-wise reduction of dose over at least 2 weeks (approximately 50% per week) is recommended unless safety concerns require a more rapid withdrawal [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.9)] .

Discontinuing carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone, or other drugs such as rifampin and the protease inhibitors lopinavir/ritonavir and atazanavir/ritonavir that induce lamotrigine glucuronidation should prolong the half-life of lamotrigine; discontinuing valproate should shorten the half-life of lamotrigine.

Bipolar Disorder

In the controlled clinical trials, there was no increase in the incidence, type, or severity of adverse reactions following abrupt termination of lamotrigine. In the clinical development program in adults with bipolar disorder, 2 patients experienced seizures shortly after abrupt withdrawal of lamotrigine. Discontinuation of lamotrigine should involve a step-wise reduction of dose over at least 2 weeks (approximately 50% per week) unless safety concerns require a more rapid withdrawal [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.9)] .

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