Prescription Drug Information: VERSACLOZ

VERSACLOZ — clozapine suspension
TruPharma LLC

WARNING: SEVERE NEUTROPENIA, ORTHOSTATIC HYPOTENSION, BRADYCARDIA, AND SYNCOPE, SEIZURE, MYOCARDITIS AND CARDIOMYOPATHY, INCREASED MORTALITY IN ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA-RELATED PSYCHOSIS

Severe Neutropenia

Clozapine treatment has caused severe neutropenia, defined as an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) less than 500/µL. Severe neutropenia can lead to serious infection and death. Prior to initiating treatment with VERSACLOZ a baseline ANC must be at least 1500/µL for the general population, and must be at least 1000/µL for patients with documented Benign Ethnic Neutropenia (BEN). During treatment, patients must have regular ANC monitoring. Advise patients to immediately report symptoms consistent with severe neutropenia or infection (e.g., fever, weakness, lethargy, or sore throat) [see Dosage and Administration (2.1) and Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

Because of the risk of severe neutropenia, VERSACLOZ is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the Clozapine REMS Program [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

Orthostatic Hypotension, Bradycardia, Syncope

Orthostatic hypotension, bradycardia, syncope, and cardiac arrest have occurred with clozapine treatment. The risk is highest during the initial titration period, particularly with rapid dose escalation. These reactions can occur with the first dose, with doses as low as 12.5 mg per day. Initiate treatment at 12.5 mg once or twice daily; titrate slowly; and use divided dosages. Use VERSACLOZ cautiously in patients with cardiovascular/cerebrovascular disease or conditions predisposing to hypotension (e.g., dehydration, use of antihypertensive medications) [see Dosage and Administration (2.2, 2.6) and Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

Seizures

Seizures have occurred with clozapine treatment. The risk is dose-related. Initiate treatment at 12.5 mg, titrate gradually, and use divided dosing. Use caution when administering VERSACLOZ to patients with a history of seizures or other predisposing risk factors for seizure (CNS pathology, medications that lower the seizure threshold, alcohol abuse). Caution patients about engaging in any activity where sudden loss of consciousness could cause serious risk to themselves or others [see Dosage and Administration (2.2) and Warnings and Precautions (5.5) ].

Myocarditis and Cardiomyopathy

Fatal myocarditis and cardiomyopathy have occurred with clozapine treatment. Discontinue VERSACLOZ and obtain a cardiac evaluation upon suspicion of these reactions. Generally, patients with VERSACLOZ-related myocarditis or cardiomyopathy should not be rechallenged with VERSACLOZ. Consider the possibility of myocarditis or cardiomyopathy if chest pain, tachycardia, palpitations, dyspnea, fever, flu-like symptoms, hypotension, or ECG changes occur [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6) ].

Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. VERSACLOZ is not approved for use in patients with dementia-related psychosis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7) ].

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

1.1 Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia

VERSACLOZ is indicated for the treatment of severely ill patients with schizophrenia who fail to respond adequately to standard antipsychotic treatment. Because of the risks of severe neutropenia and of seizure associated with its use, VERSACLOZ should be used only in patients who have failed to respond adequately to standard antipsychotic treatment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1, 5.5)].

The effectiveness of clozapine in treatment-resistant schizophrenia was demonstrated in a 6-week, randomized, double-blind, active-controlled study comparing clozapine and chlorpromazine in patients who had failed other antipsychotics [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].

1.2 Reduction in the Risk of Recurrent Suicidal Behavior in Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorders

VERSACLOZ is indicated for reducing the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are judged to be at chronic risk for re-experiencing suicidal behavior, based on history and recent clinical state. Suicidal behavior refers to actions by a patient that put him/herself at risk for death.

The effectiveness of clozapine in reducing the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior was demonstrated over a two-year treatment period in the InterSePT™ trial [see Clinical Studies (14.2)].

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 Required Laboratory Testing Prior to Initiation and During Therapy

Prior to initiating treatment with VERSACLOZ, a baseline ANC must be obtained. The baseline ANC must be at least 1500/µL for the general population, and at least 1000/µL for patients with documented Benign Ethnic Neutropenia (BEN). To continue treatment, the ANC must be monitored regularly [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

2.2 Dosing Information

The starting dose is 12.5 mg once daily or twice daily. The total daily dose can be increased in increments of 25 mg to 50 mg per day, if well-tolerated, to achieve a target dose of 300 mg to 450 mg per day (administered in divided doses) by the end of 2 weeks. Subsequently, the dose can be increased once weekly or twice weekly, in increments of up to 100 mg. The maximum dose is 900 mg per day. To minimize the risk of orthostatic hypotension, bradycardia, and syncope, it is necessary to use this low starting dose, gradual titration schedule, and divided dosages [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

2.3 Important Administration Instructions

VERSACLOZ Oral Suspension is administered to the mouth by the oral syringes provided (1 mL or 9 mL). After shaking the bottle for 10 seconds prior to each use, the syringe adaptor is pressed on top of the bottle. The oral syringe (1 mL or 9 mL) is filled with air, and inserted into the adaptor. The air is dispelled into the bottle and then the bottle is turned upside down. The prescribed amount of the suspension is drawn from the bottle and dispensed directly to the mouth. The prescribed dose should be administered immediately after it is prepared. Do not draw a dose and store it in the syringe for later use. After use, the oral syringe may be washed with warm water and dried for next use. The bottle may be closed with the same cap without removing the bottle adaptor. Educate patients and caregivers on the steps to administer VERSACLOZ as described in the Patient Instructions for Use.

VERSACLOZ can be taken with or without food [see Pharmacokinetics (12.3)].

2.4 Maintenance Treatment

Generally, patients responding to VERSACLOZ should continue maintenance treatment on their effective dose beyond the acute episode.

2.5 Discontinuation of Treatment

Method of treatment discontinuation will vary depending on the patient’s last ANC:

See Tables 2 or 3 for appropriate ANC monitoring based on the level of neutropenia if abrupt treatment discontinuation is necessary because of moderate to severe neutropenia.
Reduce the dose gradually over a period of 1 to 2 weeks if termination of VERSACLOZ therapy is planned and there is no evidence of moderate to severe neutropenia.
For abrupt clozapine discontinuation for a reason unrelated to neutropenia, continuation of the existing ANC monitoring is recommended for general population patients until their ANC is ≥1500/µL and for BEN patients until their ANC is ≥1000/µL or above their baseline.
Additional ANC monitoring is required for any patient reporting onset of fever (temperature of 38.5°C or 101.3°F, or greater) during the 2 weeks after discontinuation [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Monitor all patients carefully for the recurrence of psychotic symptoms and symptoms related to cholinergic rebound such as profuse sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

2.6 Re-Initiation of Treatment

When restarting VERSACLOZ in patients who have discontinued VERSACLOZ (i.e., 2 days or more since the last dose), re-initiate with 12.5 mg once daily or twice daily. This is necessary to minimize the risk of hypotension, bradycardia, and syncope [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]. If that dose is well tolerated, the dose may be increased to the previously therapeutic dose more quickly than recommended for initial treatment.

2.7 Dosage Adjustments with Concomitant use of CYP1A2, CYP2D6, CYP3A4 Inhibitors or CYP1A2, CYP3A4 Inducers

Dose adjustments may be necessary in patients with concomitant use of: strong CYP1A2 inhibitors (e.g., fluvoxamine, ciprofloxacin, or enoxacin); moderate or weak CYP1A2 inhibitors (e.g., oral contraceptives, or caffeine); CYP2D6 or CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., cimetidine, escitalopram, erythromycin, paroxetine, bupropion, fluoxetine, quinidine, duloxetine, terbinafine, or sertraline); CYP3A4 inducers (e.g., phenytoin, carbamazepine, St. John’s wort, and rifampin); or CYP1A2 inducers (e.g., tobacco smoking) (Table 1) [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Table 1: Dose Adjustment in Patients Taking Concomitant Medications

Co-medications Scenarios
Initiating VERSACLOZ while taking a co-medication Adding a co-medication while taking VERSACLOZ Discontinuing a co-medication while continuing VERSACLOZ
Strong CYP1A2 Inhibitors Use one third of the VERSACLOZ dose. Increase VERSACLOZ dose based on clinical response.
Moderate or Weak CYP1A2 Inhibitors Monitor for adverse reactions. Consider reducing the VERSACLOZ dose if necessary. Monitor for lack of effectiveness. Consider increasing VERSACLOZ dose if necessary.
CYP2D6 or CYP3A4 Inhibitors
Strong CYP3A4 Inducers Concomitant use is not recommended. However, if the inducer is necessary, it may be necessary to increase the VERSACLOZ dose. Monitor for decreased effectiveness. Reduce VERSACLOZ dose based on clinical response.
Moderate or weak CYP1A2 or CYP3A4 Inducers Monitor for decreased effectiveness. Consider increasing the VERSACLOZ dose if necessary. Monitor for adverse reactions. Consider reducing the VERSACLOZ dose if necessary.

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