Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including pregabalin, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication. Monitor patients treated with any AED for any indication for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, and/or any unusual changes in mood or behavior.
Pooled analyses of 199 placebo-controlled clinical trials (mono- and adjunctive therapy) of 11 different AEDs showed that patients randomized to one of the AEDs had approximately twice the risk (adjusted Relative Risk 1.8, 95% CI:1.2, 2.7) of suicidal thinking or behavior compared to patients randomized to placebo. In these trials, which had a median treatment duration of
12 weeks, the estimated incidence rate of suicidal behavior or ideation among 27,863 AED-treated patients was 0.43%, compared to 0.24% among 16,029 placebo-treated patients, representing an increase of approximately one case of suicidal thinking or behavior for every 530 patients treated. There were four suicides in drug-treated patients in the trials and none in placebo-treated patients, but the number is too small to allow any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.
The increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with AEDs was observed as early as one week after starting drug treatment with AEDs and persisted for the duration of treatment assessed. Because most trials included in the analysis did not extend beyond 24 weeks, the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior beyond 24 weeks could not be assessed.
The risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior was generally consistent among drugs in the data analyzed. The finding of increased risk with AEDs of varying mechanisms of action and across a range of indications suggests that the risk applies to all AEDs used for any indication. The risk did not vary substantially by age (5 to 100 years) in the clinical trials analyzed.
Table 3 shows absolute and relative risk by indication for all evaluated AEDs.
Table 3. Risk by Indication for Antiepileptic Drugs in the Pooled Analysis
|Indication||Placebo Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients||Drug Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients||Relative Risk: Incidence of Events in Drug Patients/Incidence in Placebo Patients||Risk Difference: Additional Drug Patients with Events Per 1000 Patients|
|Epilepsy Psychiatric Other Total||1.0 5.7 1.0 2.4||3.4 8.5 1.8 4.3||3.5 1.5 1.9 1.8||2.4 2.9 0.9 1.9|
The relative risk for suicidal thoughts or behavior was higher in clinical trials for epilepsy than in clinical trials for psychiatric or other conditions, but the absolute risk differences were similar for the epilepsy and psychiatric indications.
Anyone considering prescribing pregabalin or any other AED must balance the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior with the risk of untreated illness. Epilepsy and many other illnesses for which AEDs are prescribed are themselves associated with morbidity and mortality and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Should suicidal thoughts and behavior emerge during treatment, the prescriber needs to consider whether the emergence of these symptoms in any given patient may be related to the illness being treated.
There is evidence from case reports, human studies, and animal studies associating pregabalin with serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression when co-administered with central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including opioids, or in the setting of underlying respiratory impairment. When the decision is made to co-prescribe pregabalin with another CNS depressant, particularly an opioid, or to prescribe pregabalin to patients with underlying respiratory impairment, monitor patients for symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation, and consider initiating pregabalin at a low dose. The management of respiratory depression may include close observation, supportive measures, and reduction or withdrawal of CNS depressants (including pregabalin).
There is more limited evidence from case reports, animal studies, and human studies associating pregabalin with serious respiratory depression, without co-administered CNS depressants or without underlying respiratory impairment.
Pregabalin may cause dizziness and somnolence. Inform patients that pregabalin-related dizziness and somnolence may impair their ability to perform tasks such as driving or operating machinery [see Patient Counseling Information (17)].
In the pregabalin controlled trials in adult patients, dizziness was experienced by 30% of pregabalin-treated patients compared to 8% of placebo-treated patients; somnolence was experienced by 23% of pregabalin-treated patients compared to 8% of placebo-treated patients. Dizziness and somnolence generally began shortly after the initiation of pregabalin therapy and occurred more frequently at higher doses. Dizziness and somnolence were the adverse reactions most frequently leading to withdrawal (4% each) from controlled studies. In pregabalin-treated patients reporting these adverse reactions in short-term, controlled studies, dizziness persisted until the last dose in 30% and somnolence persisted until the last dose in 42% of patients [see Drug Interactions (7)].
In the pregabalin controlled trials in pediatric patients (4 to less than 17 years of age) for the treatment of partial-onset seizures, somnolence was reported in 21% of pregabalin-treated patients compared to 14% of placebo-treated patients, and occurred more frequently at higher doses.
Pediatric use information is approved for Pfizer’s LYRICA® (pregabalin) Capsules and Oral Solution products. However, due to Pfizer’s marketing exclusivity rights, this drug product is not labeled with that pediatric information.
As with all antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), withdraw pregabalin gradually to minimize the potential of increased seizure frequency in patients with seizure disorders.
Following abrupt or rapid discontinuation of pregabalin, some patients reported symptoms including insomnia, nausea, headache, anxiety, hyperhidrosis, and diarrhea.
If pregabalin is discontinued, taper the drug gradually over a minimum of 1 week rather than discontinue the drug abruptly.
Pregabalin treatment may cause peripheral edema. In short-term trials of patients without clinically significant heart or peripheral vascular disease, there was no apparent association between peripheral edema and cardiovascular complications such as hypertension or congestive heart failure. Peripheral edema was not associated with laboratory changes suggestive of deterioration in renal or hepatic function.
In controlled clinical trials in adult patients, the incidence of peripheral edema was 6% in the pregabalin group compared with 2% in the placebo group. In controlled clinical trials, 0.5% of pregabalin patients and 0.2% placebo patients withdrew due to peripheral edema.
Higher frequencies of weight gain and peripheral edema were observed in patients taking both pregabalin and a thiazolidinedione antidiabetic agent compared to patients taking either drug alone. The majority of patients using thiazolidinedione antidiabetic agents in the overall safety database were participants in studies of pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In this population, peripheral edema was reported in 3% (2/60) of patients who were using thiazolidinedione antidiabetic agents only, 8% (69/859) of patients who were treated with pregabalin only, and 19% (23/120) of patients who were on both pregabalin and thiazolidinedione antidiabetic agents. Similarly, weight gain was reported in 0% (0/60) of patients on thiazolidinediones only; 4% (35/859) of patients on pregabalin only; and 7.5% (9/120) of patients on both drugs.
As the thiazolidinedione class of antidiabetic drugs can cause weight gain and/or fluid retention, possibly exacerbating or leading to heart failure, exercise caution when co-administering pregabalin and these agents.
Because there are limited data on congestive heart failure patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III or IV cardiac status, exercise caution when using pregabalin in these patients.
Pregabalin treatment may cause weight gain. In pregabalin controlled clinical trials in adult patients of up to 14 weeks, a gain of 7% or more over baseline weight was observed in 9% of pregabalin-treated patients and 2% of placebo-treated patients. Few patients treated with pregabalin (0.3%) withdrew from controlled trials due to weight gain. Pregabalin associated weight gain was related to dose and duration of exposure, but did not appear to be associated with baseline BMI, gender, or age. Weight gain was not limited to patients with edema [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].
Although weight gain was not associated with clinically important changes in blood pressure in short-term controlled studies, the long-term cardiovascular effects of pregabalin -associated weight gain are unknown.
Among diabetic patients, pregabalin-treated patients gained an average of 1.6 kg (range: -16 to 16 kg), compared to an average 0.3 kg (range: -10 to 9 kg) weight gain in placebo patients. In a cohort of 333 diabetic patients who received pregabalin for at least 2 years, the average weight gain was 5.2 kg.
While the effects of pregabalin-associated weight gain on glycemic control have not been systematically assessed, in controlled and longer-term open label clinical trials with diabetic patients, pregabalin treatment did not appear to be associated with loss of glycemic control (as measured by HbA1C ).
In standard preclinical in vivo lifetime carcinogenicity studies of pregabalin, an unexpectedly high incidence of hemangiosarcoma was identified in two different strains of mice [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)].The clinical significance of this finding is unknown. Clinical experience during pregabalin’s premarketing development provides no direct means to assess its potential for inducing tumors in humans.
In clinical studies across various patient populations, comprising 6396 patient-years of exposure in patients greater than 12 years of age, new or worsening-preexisting tumors were reported in 57 patients. Without knowledge of the background incidence and recurrence in similar populations not treated with pregabalin, it is impossible to know whether the incidence seen in these cohorts is or is not affected by treatment.
In controlled studies in adult patients, a higher proportion of patients treated with pregabalin reported blurred vision (7%) than did patients treated with placebo (2%), which resolved in a majority of cases with continued dosing. Less than 1% of patients discontinued pregabalin treatment due to vision-related events (primarily blurred vision).
Prospectively planned ophthalmologic testing, including visual acuity testing, formal visual field testing and dilated funduscopic examination, was performed in over 3600 patients. In these patients, visual acuity was reduced in 7% of patients treated with pregabalin, and 5% of
placebo-treated patients. Visual field changes were detected in 13% of pregabalin-treated, and 12% of placebo-treated patients. Funduscopic changes were observed in 2% of pregabalin-treated and 2% of placebo-treated patients.
Although the clinical significance of the ophthalmologic findings is unknown, inform patients to notify their physician if changes in vision occur. If visual disturbance persists, consider further assessment. Consider more frequent assessment for patients who are already routinely monitored for ocular conditions [see Patient Counseling Information (17)].
Pregabalin treatment was associated with creatine kinase elevations. Mean changes in creatine kinase from baseline to the maximum value were 60 U/L for pregabalin -treated patients and 28 U/L for the placebo patients. In all controlled trials in adult patients across multiple patient populations, 1.5% of patients on pregabalin and 0.7% of placebo patients had a value of creatine kinase at least three times the upper limit of normal. Three pregabalin-treated subjects had events reported as rhabdomyolysis in premarketing clinical trials. The relationship between these myopathy events and pregabalin is not completely understood because the cases had documented factors that may have caused or contributed to these events. Instruct patients to promptly report unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly if these muscle symptoms are accompanied by malaise or fever. Discontinue treatment with pregabalin if myopathy is diagnosed or suspected or if markedly elevated creatine kinase levels occur.
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