Marplan, Page 1

Marplan is indicated for the treatment of depression. Because of its potentially serious side effects, Marplan is not an antidepressant of first choice in the treatment of newly diagnosed depressed patients.

MARPLAN- isocarboxazid tablet
Validus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs
Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of Marplan or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Marplan is not approved for use in pediatric patients. (See Warnings: Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk, Precautions: Information for Patients, and Precautions: Pediatric Use)

Pooled analyses of short-term (4 to 16 weeks) placebo-controlled trials of 9 antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders (a total of 24 trials involving over 4400 patients) have revealed a greater risk of adverse events representing suicidal thinking or behavior (suicidality) during the first few months of treatment in those receiving antidepressants. The average risk of such events in patients receiving antidepressants was 4%, twice the placebo risk of 2%. No suicides occurred in these trials.

DESCRIPTION

Marplan (isocarboxazid), a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, is available for oral administration in 10-mg tablets. Each tablet also contains lactose, corn starch, povidone, D&C Red No. 27, FD&C Yellow No. 3, and magnesium stearate. Chemically, isocarboxazid is 5-methyl-3-isoxazolecarboxylic acid 2-benzylhydrazide. The structural formula is:

Image from Drug Label Content

Isocarboxazid is a colorless, crystalline substance with very little taste.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Pharmacodynamics

Isocarboxazid is a non-selective hydrazine monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor. In vivo and in vitro studies demonstrated inhibition of MAO in the brain, heart, and liver. The mechanism by which MAO inhibitors act as antidepressants is not fully understood, but it is thought to involve the elevation of brain levels of biogenic amines. However, MAO is a complex enzyme system, widely distributed throughout the body, and drugs that inhibit MAO in the laboratory are associated with a number of clinical effects. Thus, it is unknown whether MAO inhibition per se, other pharmacologic actions, or an interaction of both is responsible for the antidepressant effects observed.

Pharmacokinetics

Marplan pharmacokinetic information is not available.

Clinical Efficacy Data

The effectiveness of Marplan was demonstrated in two 6-week placebo-controlled studies conducted in adult outpatients with depressive symptoms that corresponded to the DSM-IV category of major depressive disorder. The patients often also had signs and symptoms of anxiety (anxious mood, panic, and/or phobic symptoms). Patients were initiated with a dose of 10 mg bid, with increases every 2 to 4 days, as tolerated, until a therapeutic effect was achieved, up to a maximum dose of 80 mg/day. Doses were administered on a divided schedule ranging from 2 to 4 times a day. The mean dose overall for both studies was approximately 40 mg/day, with very few patients receiving doses greater than 60 mg/day. In both studies at the end of 6 weeks, patients receiving Marplan had significantly greater reduction in signs and symptoms of depression evaluated by the Hamilton Depression Scale, for both the Total Score and the Depressed Mood Score, than patients who received placebo.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Marplan is indicated for the treatment of depression. Because of its potentially serious side effects, Marplan is not an antidepressant of first choice in the treatment of newly diagnosed depressed patients.

The efficacy of Marplan in the treatment of depression was established in 6-week controlled trials of depressed outpatients. These patients had symptoms that corresponded to the DSM-IV category of major depressive disorder; however, they often also had signs and symptoms of anxiety (anxious mood, panic, and/or phobic symptoms) (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).

A major depressive episode (DSM-IV) implies a prominent and relatively persistent (nearly every day for at least 2 weeks) depressed or dysphoric mood that usually interferes with daily functioning, and includes at least five of the following nine symptoms: depressed mood, loss of interest in usual activities, significant change in weight and/or appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, increased fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or impaired concentration, and a suicide attempt or suicidal ideation.

The antidepressant effectiveness of Marplan in hospitalized depressed patients, or in endogenomorphically retarded and delusionally depressed patients, has not been adequately studied.

The effectiveness of Marplan in long-term use, that is, for more than 6 weeks, has not been systematically evaluated in controlled trials. Therefore, the physician who elects to use Marplan for extended periods should periodically evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Marplan (isocarboxazid) should not be administered in combination with any of the following: MAO inhibitors or dibenzazepine derivatives; sympathomimetics (including amphetamines); some central nervous system depressants (including narcotics and alcohol); antihypertensive, diuretic, antihistaminic, sedative or anesthetic drugs, buproprion HCL, buspirone HCL, dextromethorphan, cheese or other foods with a high tyramine content; or excessive quantities of caffeine.

Marplan (isocarboxazid) should not be administered to any patient with a confirmed or suspected cerebrovascular defect or to any patient with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or history of headache.

Contraindicated Patient Populations

Hypersensitivity

Marplan should not be used in patients with known hypersensitivity to isocarboxazid.

Cerebrovascular Disorders

Marplan should not be administered to any patient with a confirmed or suspected cerebrovascular defect or to any patient with cardiovascular disease or hypertension.

Pheochromocytoma

Marplan should not be used in the presence of pheochromocytoma, as such tumors secrete pressor substances whose metabolism may be inhibited by Marplan.

Liver Disease

Marplan should not be used in patients with a history of liver disease, or in those with abnormal liver function tests.

Renal Impairment

Marplan should not be used in patients with severe impairment of renal function.

Contraindicated MAOI-Other Drug Combinations

Other MAOI Inhibitors or With Dibenzazepine-Related Entities

Marplan should not be administered together with, or in close proximity to, other MAO inhibitors or dibenzazepine-related entities. Hypertensive crises, severe convulsive seizures, coma, or circulatory collapse may occur in patients receiving such combinations.

In patients being transferred to Marplan from another MAO inhibitor or from a dibenzazepine-related entity, a medication-free interval of at least 1 week should be allowed, after which Marplan therapy should be started using half the normal starting dosage for at least the first week of therapy. Similarly, at least 1 week should elapse between the discontinuation of Marplan and initiation of another MAO inhibitor or dibenzazepine-related entity, or the readministration of Marplan. The following list includes some other MAO inhibitors, dibenzazepine-related entities, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Generic Name Trademark (Manufacturer)
Other MAO Inhibitors
Furazolidone Furoxone® (Roberts Laboratories)
Pargyline HCL Eutonyl® (Abbott Laboratories)
Pargyline HCL and methyclothiazide Eutron® (Abbott Laboratories)
Phenelzine sulfate Nardil® (Parke-Davis)
Procarbazine Matulane® (Roche Laboratories)
Tranylcypromine sulfate Parnate® (SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals)

Dibenzazepine-Related and Other Tricyclics
Amitriptyline HCL Elavil® (Zeneca)
Endep® (Roche Products)
Perphenazine and amitriptyline HCL Etrafon® (Schering)
Triavil® (Merck Sharp & Dohme)
Clomipramine hydrochloride Anafranil® (Novartis)
Desipramine HCL Norpramin® (Hoechst Marion Roussel)
Pertofrane® (Rhône-Poulenc Rorer Pharmaceuticals)
Imipramine HCL Janimine® (Abbott Laboratories)
Tofranil® (Novartis)
Nortriptyline HCL Aventyl® (Eli Lilly & Co.)
Pamelor® (Novartis)
Protripyline HCL Vivactil® (Merck Sharp & Dohme)
Doxepin HCL Adapin® (Fisons)
Sinequan® (Pfizer)
Carbamazepine Tegretol® (Novartis)
Cyclobenzaprine HCL Flexeril® (Merck Sharp & Dohme)
Amoxapine Asendin® (Lederle)
Maprotiline HCL Ludiomil® (Novartis)
Trimipramine maleate Surmontil® (Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories)

Bupropion

The concurrent administration of a MAO inhibitor and buproprion hydrochloride (Wellbutrin®, and Zyban®, Glaxo Wellcome) is contraindicated. At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAO inhibitor and initiation of treatment with buproprion hydrochloride.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Marplan should not be administered in combination with any SSRI. There have been reports of serious, sometimes fatal, reactions (including hyperthermia, rigidity, myoclonus, autonomic instability with possible rapid fluctuations of vital signs, and mental status changes that include extreme agitation and confusion progressing to delirium and coma) in patients receiving fluoxetine (Prozac®, Lilly) in combination with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), and in patients who have recently discontinued fluoxetine and are then started on a MAOI. Some cases presented with features resembling neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Fluoxetine and other SSRIs should therefore not be used in combination with Marplan, or within 14 days of discontinuing therapy with Marplan. As fluoxetine and its major metabolite have very long elimination half-lives, at least 5 weeks should be allowed after stopping fluoxetine before starting Marplan. At least 2 weeks should be allowed after stopping sertraline (Zoloft®, Pfizer) or paroxetine (Paxil®, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals) before starting Marplan. In addition, there should be an interval of least 10 days between discontinuation of Marplan and initiation or fluoxetine or other SSRIs.

Buspirone

Marplan should not be used in combination with buspirone HCL (Buspar®, Bristol Myers Squibb); several cases of elevated blood pressure have been reported in patients taking MAO inhibitors who were then given buspirone HCL. At least 10 days should elapse between the discontinuation of Marplan and the institution of buspirone HCL. Serious reactions may also occur when MAO inhibitors are given with serotoninergic drugs (e.g., dexfenfluramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, citalopram, venlafaxine).

Sympathomimetics

Marplan should not be administered in combination with sympathomimetics, including amphetamines, or with over-the-counter drugs such as cold, hay fever, or weight-reducing preparations that contain vasoconstrictors.

During Marplan therapy, it appears that some patients are particularly vulnerable to the effects of sympathomimetics when the activity of metabolizing enzymes is inhibited. Use of sympathomimetics and compounds such as guanethidine, methyldopa, methylphenidate, reserpine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, phenylalanine, dopamine, levodopa, tyrosine, and tryptophan with Marplan may precipitate hypertension, headache, and related symptoms. The combination of MAO inhibitors and tryptophan has been reported to cause behavioral and neurologic symptoms, including disorientation, confusion, amnesia, delirium, agitation, hypomanic signs, ataxia, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, shivering, ocular oscillations, and Babinski signs.

Meperidine

Meperidine should not be used concomitantly with MAO inhibitors or within 2 or 3 weeks following MAO therapy. Serious reactions have been precipitated with concomitant use, including coma, severe hypertension or hypotension, severe respiratory depression, convulsions, malignant hyperpyrexia, excitation, peripheral vascular collapse, and death. It is thought that these reactions may be mediated by accumulation of 5-HT (serotonin) consequent to MAO inhibition.

Dextromethorphan

Marplan should not be used in combination with dextromethorphan. The combination of MAO inhibitors and dextromethorphan has been reported to cause brief episodes of psychosis or bizarre behavior.

Cheese or Other Foods With a High Tyramine Content

Hypertensive crises have sometimes occurred during Marplan therapy after ingestion of foods with a high tyramine content. In general, patients should avoid protein foods in which aging or protein breakdown is used to increase flavor. In particular, patients should be instructed not to take foods such as cheese (particularly strong or aged varieties), sour cream, Chianti wine, sherry, beer (including non-alcoholic beer), liqueurs, pickled herring, anchovies, caviar, liver, canned figs, raisins, bananas or avocados (particularly if overripe), chocolate, soy sauce, sauerkraut, the pods of broad beans (fava beans), yeast extracts, yogurt, meat extracts, meat prepared with tenderizers, or dry sausage.

Anesthetic Agents

Patients taking Marplan should not undergo elective surgery requiring general anesthesia. Also, they should not be given cocaine or local anesthesia containing sympathomimetic vasoconstrictors. The possible combined hypotensive effects of Marplan and spinal anesthesia should be kept in mind. Marplan should be discontinued at least 10 days before elective surgery.

CNS Depressants

Marplan should not be used in combination with some central nervous system depressants, such as narcotics, barbiturates, or alcohol.

Antihypertensives

Marplan should not be used in combination with antihypertensive agents, including thiazide diuretics. A marked potentiating effect on these drugs has been reported, resulting in hypotension.

Caffeine

Excessive use of caffeine in any form should be avoided in patients receiving Marplan.

WARNINGS TO PHYSICIANS

Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk

Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment. Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18-24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.

The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials of nine antidepressant drugs (SSRIs) and others) in children and adolescents with MDD, Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients `for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk differences (drug vs. placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1.

Table 1
Age Range Drug-Placebo Difference in
Number of Cases of Suicidality
Per 1000 Patients Treated
Drug-Related Increases
<18 14 additional cases
18-24 5 additional cases
Drug –Related Decreases
25-64 1 fewer case
>65 6 fewer cases

No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.

It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.

All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.

The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a casual link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.

Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.

Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence if suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to health care providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for MARPLAN should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose

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