Prescription Drug Information: Venlafaxine Hydrochloride

VENLAFAXINE HYDROCHLORIDE- venlafaxine hydrochloride capsule, extended release
REMEDYREPACK INC.

WARNING: SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND BEHAVIORS

Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies. These studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in patients over age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressant use in patients aged 65 and older [ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1)].

In patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy monitor closely for clinical worsening and emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Advise families and caregivers of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber [ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.1) and Patient Counseling Information ( 17) ].

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

1.1 Major Depressive Disorder

Venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules, USP are indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Efficacy was established in three short-term (4, 8, and 12 weeks) and two long-term, maintenance trials.

1.2 Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules, USP are indicated for the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Efficacy was established in two 8-week and two 26-week placebo-controlled trials.

1.3 Social Anxiety Disorder

Venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules, USP are indicated for the treatment of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia. Efficacy was established in four 12-week and one 26-week, placebo-controlled trials.

1.4 Panic Disorder

Venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules, USP are indicated for the treatment of Panic Disorder (PD), with or without agoraphobia. Efficacy was established in two 12-week placebo-controlled trials.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

Venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules should be administered in a single dose with food, either in the morning or in the evening at approximately the same time each day [ see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3) ]. Each capsule should be swallowed whole with fluid and not divided, crushed, chewed, or placed in water or it may be administered by carefully opening the capsule and sprinkling the entire contents on a spoonful of applesauce. This drug/food mixture should be swallowed immediately without chewing and followed with a glass of water to ensure complete swallowing of the pellets (spheroids).

2.1 Major Depressive Disorder

For most patients, the recommended starting dose for venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules are 75 mg per day, administered in a single dose. For some patients, it may be desirable to start at 37.5 mg per day for 4 to 7 days to allow new patients to adjust to the medication before increasing to 75 mg per day. Patients not responding to the initial 75 mg per day dose may benefit from dose increases to a maximum of 225 mg per day. Dose increases should be in increments of up to 75 mg per day, as needed, and should be made at intervals of not less than 4 days, since steady-state plasma levels of venlafaxine and its major metabolites are achieved in most patients by day 4 [ see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3) ]. In the clinical studies establishing efficacy, upward titration was permitted at intervals of 2 weeks or more.

It should be noted that, while the maximum recommended dose for moderately depressed outpatients is also 225 mg per day for venlafaxine hydrochloride tablets, more severely depressed inpatients in one study of the development program for that product responded to a mean dose of 350 mg per day (range of 150 to 375 mg per day). Whether or not higher doses of venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules are needed for more severely depressed patients is unknown; however, the experience with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules doses higher than 225 mg per day is very limited.

2.2 Generalized Anxiety Disorder

For most patients, the recommended starting dose for venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules are 75 mg per day, administered in a single dose. For some patients, it may be desirable to start at 37.5 mg per day for 4 to 7 days to allow new patients to adjust to the medication before increasing to 75 mg per day. Patients not responding to the initial 75 mg per day dose may benefit from dose increases to a maximum of 225 mg per day. Dose increases should be in increments of up to 75 mg per day, as needed, and should be made at intervals of not less than 4 days, since steady-state plasma levels of venlafaxine and its major metabolites are achieved in most patients by day 4 [see Clinical Pharmacology ( 12.3)] .

2.3 Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

The recommended dose is 75 mg per day, administered in a single dose. There was no evidence that higher doses confer any additional benefit.

2.4 Panic Disorder

The recommended starting dose is 37.5 mg per day of venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules for 7 days. Patients not responding to 75 mg per day may benefit from dose increases to a maximum of approximately 225 mg per day. Dose increases should be in increments of up to 75 mg per day, as needed, and should be made at intervals of not less than 7 days.

2.5 Switching Patients from Venlafaxine Hydrochloride Tablets

Depressed patients who are currently being treated at a therapeutic dose with venlafaxine hydrochloride tablets may be switched to venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules at the nearest equivalent dose (mg per day), e.g., 37.5 mg venlafaxine twice a day to 75 mg venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules once daily. However, individual dosage adjustments may be necessary.

2.6 Specific Populations

Patients with Hepatic Impairment

The total daily dose should be reduced by 50% in patients with mild (Child-Pugh=5 to 6) to moderate (Child-Pugh=7 to 9) hepatic impairment. In patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh=10 to 15) or hepatic cirrhosis, it may be necessary to reduce the dose by 50% or more [ see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.7) ].

Patients with Renal Impairment

The total daily dose should be reduced by 25% to 50% in patients with mild

(CLcr= 60 to 89 mL/min) or moderate (CLcr= 30 to 59 mL/min) renal impairment. In patients undergoing hemodialysis or with severe renal impairment (CLcr < 30 mL/min), the total daily dose should be reduced by 50% or more. Because there was much individual variability in clearance between patients with renal impairment, individualization of dosage may be desirable in some patients [ see Use in Specific Populations ( 8.7) ].

2.7 Maintenance Treatment

There is no body of evidence available from controlled studies to indicate how long patients with MDD, GAD, SAD, or PD should be treated with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules.

It is generally agreed that acute episodes of MDD require several months or longer of sustained pharmacological therapy beyond response to the acute episode. Venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules/venlafaxine hydrochloride tablets have demonstrated continuation of response in clinical studies up to 52 weeks, at the same dose at which patients responded during the initial treatment [ see Clinical Studies ( 14.1) ]. It is not known whether or not the dose of venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules needed for maintenance treatment is identical to the dose needed to achieve an initial response. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the need for maintenance treatment and the appropriate dose for such treatment.

In patients with GAD and SAD, venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules have been shown to be effective in 6-month clinical studies. The need for continuing medication in patients with GAD and SAD who improve with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules treatment should be periodically reassessed.

In a clinical study for PD, patients continuing venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules at the same dose at which they responded during the initial 12 weeks of treatment experienced a statistically significantly longer time to relapse than patients randomized to placebo [ see Clinical Studies ( 14.4) ]. The need for continuing medication in patients with PD who improve with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules treatment should be periodically reassessed.

2.8 Discontinuing Venlafaxine Hydrochloride Extended-release Capsules

A gradual reduction in the dose, rather than abrupt cessation, is recommended whenever possible. In clinical studies with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules, tapering was achieved by reducing the daily dose by 75 mg at one-week intervals. Individualization of tapering may be necessary [ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.7) ].

2.9 Switching Patients to or from a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) Intended to Treat Psychiatric Disorders

At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI (intended to treat psychiatric disorders) and initiation of therapy with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules. In addition, at least 7 days should be allowed after stopping venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules before starting an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders [ see Contraindications ( 4.2), Warnings and Precautions ( 5.2), and Drug Interactions ( 7.2) ].

Use of Venlafaxine Hydrochloride Extended-release Capsules with other MAOIs such as Linezolid or Intravenous Methylene Blue

Do not start venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules in a patient who is being treated with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue, because there is an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. In a patient who requires more urgent treatment of a psychiatric condition, other interventions, including hospitalization should be considered [ see Contraindications 4.2) ].

In some cases, a patient already receiving venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules therapy may require urgent treatment with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. If acceptable alternatives to linezolid or intravenous methylene blue are not available and the potential benefits of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue treatment are judged to outweigh the risks of serotonin syndrome in a particular patient, venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules should be stopped promptly, and linezolid or intravenous methylene blue can be administered. Monitor the patient for symptoms of serotonin syndrome for 7 days or until 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue, whichever comes first. Therapy with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules can be resumed 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue [ see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.2) ].

The risk of administering methylene blue by non-intravenous routes (such as oral tablets or by local injection) or in intravenous doses much lower than 1 mg/kg concomitantly with venlafaxine hydrochloride extended-release capsules are unclear. The clinician should, nevertheless, be aware of the possibility of emergent symptoms of serotonin syndrome with such use [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.2)].

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