Prescription Drug Information: Mirtazapine

MIRTAZAPINE — mirtazapine tablet, film coated
Rising Health, LLC

WARNING: SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIORS

Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in pediatric and young adult patients in short-term studies. Closely monitor all antidepressant-treated patients for clinical worsening, and for emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1) ]. Mirtazapine tablets are not approved for use in pediatric patients [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4) ].

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Mirtazapine tablets are indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults [see Clinical Studies (14)].

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 Recommended Dosage

The recommended starting dose of mirtazapine tablets is 15 mg once daily, administered orally, preferably in the evening prior to sleep. If patients do not have an adequate response to the initial 15 mg dose, increase the dose up to a maximum of 45 mg per day. Dose changes should not be made in intervals of less than 1 to 2 weeks to allow sufficient time for evaluation of response to a given dose [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

2.3 Screen for Bipolar Disorder Prior to Starting Mirtazapine Tablets

Prior to initiating treatment with mirtazapine tablets or another antidepressant, screen patients for a personal or family history of bipolar disorder, mania, or hypomania [see Warnings and Precautions (5.8)].

2.4 Switching Patients to or from a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor Antidepressant

At least 14 days must elapse between discontinuation of a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressant and initiation of mirtazapine tablets. In addition, at least 14 days must elapse after stopping mirtazapine tablets before starting an MAOI antidepressant [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

2.5 Dosage Modifications Due to Drug Interactions

Strong CYP3A Inducers

An increase in dosage of mirtazapine tablets may be needed with concomitant strong CYP3A inducer (e.g., carbamazepine, phenytoin, rifampin) use. Conversely, a decrease in dosage of mirtazapine tablets may be needed if the CYP3A inducer is discontinued [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Strong CYP3A Inhibitors

A decrease in dosage of mirtazapine tablets may be needed with concomitant use of strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., ketoconazole, clarithromycin). Conversely, an increase in dosage of mirtazapine tablets may be needed if the CYP3A4 inhibitor is discontinued [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Cimetidine

A decrease in dosage of mirtazapine tablets may be needed with concomitant use of cimetidine. Conversely, an increase in dosage of mirtazapine tablets may be needed if cimetidine is discontinued [see Drug Interactions (7)].

2.6 Discontinuation of Mirtazapine Tablets Treatment

Adverse reactions may occur upon discontinuation or dose reduction of mirtazapine tablets [see Warnings and Precautions (5.13)]. Gradually reduce the dosage of mirtazapine tablets rather than stopping abruptly whenever possible.

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

Mirtazapine tablets USP are supplied as:

  • 7.5 mg tablets: White, biconvex, capsule shaped film coated tablets with “11” debossed on one side and “A” debossed on the other side.
  • 15 mg tablets: Yellow, biconvex, capsule shaped film coated tablets with a score line in between “0” and “8” on one side and “A” debossed on the other side.
  • 30 mg tablets: Reddish brown, biconvex, capsule shaped film coated tablets with a score line in between “0” and “9” on one side and “A” debossed on the other side.
  • 45 mg tablets: White, biconvex, capsule shaped film coated tablets with “10” debossed on one side and “A” debossed on the other side.

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

Mirtazapine tablets are contraindicated in patients:

  • Taking, or within 14 days of stopping, MAOIs (including the MAOIs linezolid and intravenous methylene blue) because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), Drug Interactions (7)].
  • With a known hypersensitivity to mirtazapine or to any of the excipients in mirtazapine tablets. Severe skin reactions, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, bullous dermatitis, erythema multiforme and toxic epidermal necrolysis have been reported following the use of mirtazapine tablets [see Adverse Reactions 6.2].

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Adolescents and Young Adults

In pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and other antidepressant classes) that included approximately 77,000 adult patients and 4,500 pediatric patients, the incidence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in antidepressant-treated patients age 24 years and younger was greater than in placebo-treated patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among drugs, but there was an increased risk identified in young patients for most drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors across the different indications, with the highest incidence in patients with MDD. The drug-placebo differences in the number of cases of suicidal thoughts and behaviors per 1000 patients treated are provided in Table 1.

Table 1: Risk Differences of the Number of Patients with Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior in the Pooled Placebo-Controlled Trials of Antidepressants in Pediatric and Adult Patients
Age Range Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Patients with Suicidal Thoughts or Behaviors per 1000 Patients Treated
Increases Compared to Placebo
<18 years old 14 additional patients
18 to 24 years old 5 additional patients
Decreases Compared to Placebo
25 to 64 years old 1 fewer patient
≥65 years old 6 fewer patients

It is unknown whether the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, adolescents, and young adults extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond four months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with MDD that antidepressants delay the recurrence of depression and that depression itself is a risk factor for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Monitor all antidepressant-treated patients for any indication of clinical worsening and emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially during the initial few months of drug therapy, and at times of dosage changes. Counsel family members or caregivers of patients to monitor for changes in behavior and to alert the healthcare provider. Consider changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing mirtazapine, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

5.2 Agranulocytosis

In premarketing clinical trials, 2 (1 with Sjögren’s Syndrome) out of 2796 patients treated with mirtazapine developed agranulocytosis [absolute neutrophil count (ANC) <500/mm3 with associated signs and symptoms, e.g., fever, infection, etc.] and a third patient developed severe neutropenia (ANC <500/mm3 without any associated symptoms). For these 3 patients, onset of severe neutropenia was detected on days 61, 9, and 14 of treatment, respectively. All 3 patients recovered after mirtazapine was stopped. If a patient develops a sore throat, fever, stomatitis, or other signs of infection, along with a low white blood cell (WBC) count, treatment with mirtazapine should be discontinued and the patient should be closely monitored.

5.3 Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonergic antidepressants, including mirtazapine, can precipitate serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. The risk is increased with concomitant use of other serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, amphetamines, and St. John’s Wort) and with drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin, i.e., MAOIs [see Contraindications (4), Drug Interactions (7)]. Serotonin syndrome can also occur when these drugs are used alone.

Serotonin syndrome signs and symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia), neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination), seizures, and gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).

The concomitant use of mirtazapine with MAOIs is contraindicated. In addition, do not initiate mirtazapine in a patient being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. No reports involved the administration of methylene blue by other routes (such as oral tablets or local tissue injection). If it is necessary to initiate treatment with an MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue in a patient taking mirtazapine, discontinue mirtazapine before initiating treatment with the MAOI [see Contraindications (4), Drug Interactions (7)].

Monitor all patients taking mirtazapine for the emergence of serotonin syndrome. Discontinue treatment with mirtazapine and any concomitant serotonergic agents immediately if the above symptoms occur, and initiate supportive symptomatic treatment. If concomitant use of mirtazapine with other serotonergic drugs is clinically warranted, inform patients of the increased risk for serotonin syndrome and monitor for symptoms.

5.4 Angle-Closure Glaucoma

The pupillary dilation that occurs following use of many antidepressant drugs, including mirtazapine, may trigger an angle-closure attack in a patient with anatomically narrow angles who does not have a patent iridectomy.

5.5 QT Prolongation and Torsades de Pointes

The effect of mirtazapine on QTc interval was assessed in a clinical randomized trial with placebo and positive (moxifloxacin) controls involving 54 healthy volunteers using exposure response analysis. This trial showed a positive relationship between mirtazapine concentrations and prolongation of the QTc interval. However, the degree of QT prolongation observed with both 45 mg and 75 mg (1.67 times the maximum recommended daily dose) doses of mirtazapine was not at a level generally considered to be clinically meaningful. During postmarketing use of mirtazapine, cases of QT prolongation, Torsades de Pointes, ventricular tachycardia, and sudden death, have been reported [see Adverse Reactions (6.1, 6.2)]. The majority of reports occurred in association with overdose or in patients with other risk factors for QT prolongation, including concomitant use of QTc-prolonging medicines [see Drug Interactions (7) and Overdosage (10)]. Exercise caution when mirtazapine is prescribed in patients with known cardiovascular disease or family history of QT prolongation, and in concomitant use with other drugs thought to prolong the QTc interval.

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