Minds On Meds

Mental Health Medications

Combination Antipsychotic and Antidepressant

Symbyax, Page 9

Symbyax® combines olanzapine, an atypical antipsychotic and fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It is indicated for the acute treatment of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder in adults and for the treatment of treatment resistant depression.

12.4 Specific Populations

Geriatric — Based on the individual pharmacokinetic profiles of olanzapine and fluoxetine, the pharmacokinetics of SYMBYAX may be altered in geriatric patients. Caution should be used in dosing the elderly, especially if there are other factors that might additively influence drug metabolism and/or pharmacodynamic sensitivity.

In a study involving 24 healthy subjects, the mean elimination half-life of olanzapine was about 1.5 times greater in elderly subjects (≥65 years of age) than in non-elderly subjects (<65 years of age).

The disposition of single doses of fluoxetine in healthy elderly subjects (≥65 years of age) did not differ significantly from that in younger normal subjects. However, given the long half-life and nonlinear disposition of the drug, a single-dose study is not adequate to rule out the possibility of altered pharmacokinetics in the elderly, particularly if they have systemic illness or are receiving multiple drugs for concomitant diseases. The effects of age upon the metabolism of fluoxetine have been investigated in 260 elderly but otherwise healthy depressed patients (≥60 years of age) who received 20 mg fluoxetine for 6 weeks. Combined fluoxetine plus norfluoxetine plasma concentrations were 209.3 ± 85.7 ng/mL at the end of 6 weeks. No unusual age-associated pattern of adverse reactions was observed in those elderly patients.

Renal Impairment — The pharmacokinetics of SYMBYAX has not been studied in patients with renal impairment. However, olanzapine and fluoxetine individual pharmacokinetics do not differ significantly in patients with renal impairment. SYMBYAX dosing adjustment based upon renal impairment is not routinely required.

Because olanzapine is highly metabolized before excretion and only 7% of the drug is excreted unchanged, renal dysfunction alone is unlikely to have a major impact on the pharmacokinetics of olanzapine. The pharmacokinetic characteristics of olanzapine were similar in patients with severe renal impairment and normal subjects, indicating that dosage adjustment based upon the degree of renal impairment is not required. In addition, olanzapine is not removed by dialysis. The effect of renal impairment on olanzapine metabolite elimination has not been studied.

In depressed patients on dialysis (N=12), fluoxetine administered as 20 mg once daily for 2 months produced steady-state fluoxetine and norfluoxetine plasma concentrations comparable with those seen in patients with normal renal function. While the possibility exists that renally excreted metabolites of fluoxetine may accumulate to higher levels in patients with severe renal dysfunction, use of a lower or less frequent dose is not routinely necessary in renally impaired patients.

Hepatic Impairment — Based on the individual pharmacokinetic profiles of olanzapine and fluoxetine, the pharmacokinetics of SYMBYAX may be altered in patients with hepatic impairment. The lowest starting dose should be considered for patients with hepatic impairment [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) and Warnings and Precautions (5.19)].

Although the presence of hepatic impairment may be expected to reduce the clearance of olanzapine, a study of the effect of impaired liver function in subjects (N=6) with clinically significant cirrhosis (Child-Pugh Classification A and B) revealed little effect on the pharmacokinetics of olanzapine.

As might be predicted from its primary site of metabolism, liver impairment can affect the elimination of fluoxetine. The elimination half-life of fluoxetine was prolonged in a study of cirrhotic patients, with a mean of 7.6 days compared with the range of 2 to 3 days seen in subjects without liver disease; norfluoxetine elimination was also delayed, with a mean duration of 12 days for cirrhotic patients compared with the range of 7 to 9 days in normal subjects.

Gender — Clearance of olanzapine is approximately 30% lower in women than in men. There were, however, no apparent differences between men and women in effectiveness or adverse effects. Dosage modifications based on gender should not be needed.

Smoking Status — Olanzapine clearance is about 40% higher in smokers than in nonsmokers, although dosage modifications are not routinely required.

Race — No SYMBYAX pharmacokinetic study was conducted to investigate the effects of race. In vivo studies have shown that exposures to olanzapine are similar among Japanese, Chinese and Caucasians, especially after normalization for body weight differences. Dosage modifications for race, therefore, are not routinely required.

Combined Effects — The combined effects of age, smoking, and gender could lead to substantial pharmacokinetic differences in populations. The clearance of olanzapine in young smoking males, for example, may be 3 times higher than that in elderly nonsmoking females. SYMBYAX dosing modification may be necessary in patients who exhibit a combination of factors that may result in slower metabolism of the olanzapine component [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)].


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

No carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, or fertility studies were conducted with SYMBYAX. The following data are based on findings in studies performed with the individual components.


Olanzapine — Oral carcinogenicity studies were conducted in mice and rats. Olanzapine was administered to mice in two 78-week studies at doses of 3, 10, and 30/20 mg/kg/day [equivalent to 0.8 to 5 times the maximum recommended human daily dose (MRHD) on a mg/m2 basis] and 0.25, 2, and 8 mg/kg/day (equivalent to 0.06 to 2 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). Rats were dosed for 2 years at doses of 0.25, 1, 2.5, and 4 mg/kg/day (males) and 0.25, 1, 4, and 8 mg/kg/day (females) (equivalent to 0.1 to 2 and 0.1 to 4 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis, respectively). The incidence of liver hemangiomas and hemangiosarcomas was significantly increased in 1 mouse study in females dosed at 8 mg/kg/day (2 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). These tumors were not increased in another mouse study in females dosed at 10 or 30/20 mg/kg/day (2 to 5 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis); in this study, there was a high incidence of early mortalities in males of the 30/20 mg/kg/day group. The incidence of mammary gland adenomas and adenocarcinomas was significantly increased in female mice dosed at ≥2 mg/kg/day and in female rats dosed at ≥4 mg/kg/day (0.5 and 2 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis, respectively). Antipsychotic drugs have been shown to chronically elevate prolactin levels in rodents. Serum prolactin levels were not measured during the olanzapine carcinogenicity studies; however, measurements during subchronic toxicity studies showed that olanzapine elevated serum prolactin levels up to 4-fold in rats at the same doses used in the carcinogenicity study. An increase in mammary gland neoplasms has been found in rodents after chronic administration of other antipsychotic drugs and is considered to be prolactin-mediated. The relevance for human risk of the finding of prolactin-mediated endocrine tumors in rodents is unknown [see Warnings and Precautions (5.20)].

Fluoxetine — The dietary administration of fluoxetine to rats and mice for 2 years at doses of up to 10 and 12 mg/kg/day, respectively (approximately 1.2 and 0.7 times, respectively, the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis), produced no evidence of carcinogenicity.


Olanzapine — No evidence of genotoxic potential for olanzapine was found in the Ames reverse mutation test, in vivo micronucleus test in mice, the chromosomal aberration test in Chinese hamster ovary cells, unscheduled DNA synthesis test in rat hepatocytes, induction of forward mutation test in mouse lymphoma cells, or in vivo sister chromatid exchange test in bone marrow of Chinese hamsters.

Fluoxetine — Fluoxetine and norfluoxetine have been shown to have no genotoxic effects based on the following assays: bacterial mutation assay, DNA repair assay in cultured rat hepatocytes, mouse lymphoma assay, and in vivo sister chromatid exchange assay in Chinese hamster bone marrow cells.

Impairment of Fertility

SYMBYAX — Fertility studies were not conducted with SYMBYAX. However, in a repeat-dose rat toxicology study of 3 months duration, ovary weight was decreased in females treated with the low-dose [2 and 4 mg/kg/day (1 and 0.5 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis), respectively] and high-dose [4 and 8 mg/kg/day (2 and 1 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis), respectively] combinations of olanzapine and fluoxetine. Decreased ovary weight, and corpora luteal depletion and uterine atrophy were observed to a greater extent in the females receiving the high-dose combination than in females receiving either olanzapine or fluoxetine alone. In a 3-month repeat-dose dog toxicology study, reduced epididymal sperm and reduced testicular and prostate weights were observed with the high-dose combination of olanzapine and fluoxetine [5 and 5 mg/kg/day (9 and 2 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis), respectively] and with olanzapine alone (5 mg/kg/day or 9 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis).

Olanzapine — In an oral fertility and reproductive performance study in rats, male mating performance, but not fertility, was impaired at a dose of 22.4 mg/kg/day and female fertility was decreased at a dose of 3 mg/kg/day (11 and 1.5 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis, respectively). Discontinuance of olanzapine treatment reversed the effects on male-mating performance. In female rats, the precoital period was increased and the mating index reduced at 5 mg/kg/day (2.5 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). Diestrous was prolonged and estrous was delayed at 1.1 mg/kg/day (0.6 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis); therefore, olanzapine may produce a delay in ovulation.

Fluoxetine — Two fertility studies conducted in adult rats at doses of up to 7.5 and 12.5 mg/kg/day (approximately 0.9 and 1.5 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis) indicated that fluoxetine had no adverse effects on fertility. However, adverse effects on fertility were seen when juvenile rats were treated with fluoxetine at a high dose (30 mg/kg) associated with significant toxicity [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4)].


14.1 Depressive Episodes Associated with Bipolar I Disorder

The efficacy of SYMBYAX for the acute treatment of depressive episodes associated with Bipolar I Disorder was established in 2 identically designed, 8-week, randomized, double-blind, controlled studies of patients who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4th edition (DSM-IV) criteria for Bipolar I Disorder, Depressed utilizing flexible dosing of SYMBYAX (6/25, 6/50, or 12/50 mg/day), olanzapine (5 to 20 mg/day), and placebo. These studies included patients (≥18 years of age [n=788]) with or without psychotic symptoms and with or without a rapid cycling course.

The primary rating instrument used to assess depressive symptoms in these studies was the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), a 10-item clinician-rated scale with total scores ranging from 0 to 60. The primary outcome measure of these studies was the change from baseline to endpoint in the MADRS total score. In both studies, SYMBYAX was statistically significantly superior to both olanzapine monotherapy and placebo in reduction of the MADRS total score.

14.2 Treatment Resistant Depression

The efficacy of SYMBYAX in acute treatment resistant depression was demonstrated with data from 3 clinical studies (n=579). Doses evaluated in these studies ranged from 6 to 18 mg for olanzapine and 25 to 50 mg for fluoxetine.

An 8-week randomized, double-blind controlled study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of SYMBYAX in patients (n=300) who met DSM-IV criteria for Major Depressive Disorder and did not respond to 2 antidepressants of adequate dose and duration in their current episode. Patients who were not responding to an antidepressant in their current episode entered an 8-week open-label fluoxetine lead-in; non-responders were randomized (1:1:1) to receive SYMBYAX, olanzapine, or fluoxetine, and were treated for 8 weeks. SYMBYAX was flexibly dosed between 6/50 mg, 12/50 mg, and 18/50 mg. Results from this study yielded statistically significant greater reduction in mean total MADRS scores from baseline to endpoint for SYMBYAX versus fluoxetine and olanzapine. A second study with the same treatment-resistant patient population (n=28), when analyzed with change in MADRS as the outcome measure, demonstrated statistically significantly greater reduction in MADRS scores for SYMBYAX versus fluoxetine and olanzapine. A third study demonstrated statistically significantly greater reduction in total MADRS scores for SYMBYAX versus fluoxetine or olanzapine alone, when analyzed in a subpopulation of depressed patients (n=251) who met the definition of treatment resistance (patients who had not responded to 2 antidepressants of adequate dose and duration in the current episode).


16.1 How Supplied

SYMBYAX capsules are supplied in 3/25-, 6/25-, 6/50-, 12/25-, and 12/50-mg (mg equivalent olanzapine/mg equivalent fluoxetinea) strengths.

a Fluoxetine base equivalent.

b IDENTI-DOSE®, Unit Dose Medication, Lilly.

3 mg/25 mg 6 mg/25 mg 6 mg/50 mg 12 mg/25 mg 12 mg/50 mg
Color Peach Mustard Yellow Mustard Yellow Red & Light Red & Light
& Light Yellow & Light Yellow & Light Grey Yellow Grey
Capsule No. PU3230 PU3231 PU3233 PU3232 PU3234
Identification Lilly 3230 Lilly 3231 Lilly 3233 Lilly 3232 Lilly 3234
3/25 6/25 6/50 12/25 12/50
NDC Codes
Bottles 30 0002-3230-30 0002-3231-30 0002-3233-30 0002-3232-30 0002-3234-30
Blisters IDb100 0002-3231-33 0002-3233-33 0002-3232-33 0002-3234-33