Seroquel, Page 1

Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic agent indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia and the acute treatment of manic episodes and depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder, as well as the maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder, as an adjunct to lithium or divalproex.

SEROQUEL- quetiapine fumarate tablet, film coated
Cardinal Health

WARNING: 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. Analyses of seventeen placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks) largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. SEROQUEL (quetiapine) is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

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 of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of SEROQUEL 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. SEROQUEL is not approved for use in patients under ten years of age [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

1.1 Schizophrenia

SEROQUEL is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia. The efficacy of SEROQUEL in schizophrenia was established in three 6-week trials in adults and one 6–week trial in adolescents (13–17 years). The effectiveness of SEROQUEL for the maintenance treatment of schizophrenia has not been systematically evaluated in controlled clinical trials [see Clinical Studies (14.1)]

1.2 Bipolar Disorder

SEROQUEL is indicated for the acute treatment of manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, both as monotherapy and as an adjunct to lithium or divalproex. Efficacy was established in two 12-week monotherapy trials in adults, in one 3-week adjunctive trial in adults, and in one 3-week monotherapy trial in pediatric patients (10-17 years) [see Clinical Studies (14.2)].

SEROQUEL is indicated as monotherapy for the acute treatment of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder. Efficacy was established in two 8-week monotherapy trials in adult patients with bipolar I and bipolar II disorder [see Clinical Studies (14.2)].

SEROQUEL is indicated for the maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder, as an adjunct to lithium or divalproex. Efficacy was established in two maintenance trials in adults. The effectiveness of SEROQUEL as monotherapy for the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder has not been systematically evaluated in controlled clinical trials [see Clinical Studies (14.2)].

1.3 Special Considerations in Treating Pediatric Schizophrenia and Bipolar I Disorder

Pediatric schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder are serious mental disorders, however, diagnosis can be challenging. For pediatric schizophrenia, symptom profiles can be variable, and for bipolar I disorder, patients may have variable patterns of periodicity of manic or mixed symptoms. It is recommended that medication therapy for pediatric schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder be initiated only after a thorough diagnostic evaluation has been performed and careful consideration given to the risks associated with medication treatment. Medication treatment for both pediatric schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder is indicated as part of a total treatment program that often includes psychological, educational and social interventions.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

SEROQUEL can be taken with or without food.

2.1 Schizophrenia

Adults

Dose Selection— SEROQUEL should generally be administered with an initial dose of 25 mg twice daily, with increases in total daily dose of 25 mg — 50 mg divided in two or three doses on the second and third day, as tolerated, to a total dose range of 300 mg to 400 mg daily by the fourth day. Further dosage adjustments, if indicated, should generally occur at intervals of not less than 2 days, as steady-state for SEROQUEL would not be achieved for approximately 1-2 days in the typical patient. When dosage adjustments are necessary, dose increments/decrements of 25 mg — 50 mg divided twice daily are recommended. Most efficacy data with SEROQUEL were obtained using three times daily dosing regimens, but in one controlled trial 225 mg given twice per day was also effective.

Efficacy in schizophrenia was demonstrated in a dose range of 150 mg/day to 750 mg/day in the clinical trials supporting the effectiveness of SEROQUEL. In a dose response study, doses above 300 mg/day were not demonstrated to be more efficacious than the 300 mg/day dose. In other studies, however, doses in the range of 400 mg/day — 500 mg/day appeared to be needed. The safety of doses above 800 mg/day has not been evaluated in clinical trials.

Maintenance Treatment—The effectiveness of SEROQUEL for longer than 6 weeks has not been evaluated in controlled clinical trials. While there is no body of evidence available to answer the question of how long the patient treated with SEROQUEL should be maintained, it is generally recommended that responding patients be continued beyond the acute response, but at the lowest dose needed to maintain remission. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the need for maintenance treatment.

Adolescents (13-17 years)

Dose Selection—SEROQUEL should be administered twice daily. However, based on response and tolerability SEROQUEL may be administered three times daily where needed.

The total daily dose for the initial five days of therapy is 50 mg (Day 1), 100 mg (Day 2), 200 mg (Day 3), 300 mg (Day 4) and 400 mg (Day 5). After Day 5, the dose should be adjusted within the recommended dose range of 400 mg/day to 800 mg/day based on response and tolerability. Dosage adjustments should be in increments of no greater than 100 mg/day. Efficacy was demonstrated with SEROQUEL at both 400 mg and 800 mg; however, no additional benefit was seen in the 800 mg group.

Maintenance Treatment—The effectiveness of SEROQUEL for longer than 6 weeks has not been evaluated in controlled clinical trials. While there is no body of evidence available to answer the question of how long the patient treated with SEROQUEL should be maintained, it is generally recommended that responding patients be continued beyond the acute response, but at the lowest dose needed to maintain remission. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the need for maintenance treatment.

2.2 Bipolar Disorder

Adults

Acute Treatment of Manic Episodes in Bipolar I Disorder

Dose Selection—When used as monotherapy or adjunct therapy (with lithium or divalproex), SEROQUEL should be initiated in twice daily doses totaling 100 mg/day on Day 1, increased to 400 mg/day on Day 4 in increments of up to 100 mg/day in twice daily divided doses. Further dosage adjustments up to 800 mg/day by Day 6 should be in increments of no greater than 200 mg/day. Data indicate that the majority of patients responded between 400 mg/day to 800 mg/day. The safety of doses above 800 mg/day has not been evaluated in clinical trials.

Acute Treatment of Depressive Episodes in Bipolar Disorder

Dose Selection—SEROQUEL should be administered once daily at bedtime to reach 300 mg/day by Day 4.

Recommended Dosing Schedule
Day Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4

SEROQUEL

50 mg

100 mg

200 mg

300 mg

In these clinical trials supporting effectiveness, the dosing schedule was 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg and 300 mg/day for Days 1-4 respectively. Patients receiving 600 mg increased to 400 mg on Day 5 and 600 mg on Day 8 (Week 1). Antidepressant efficacy was demonstrated with SEROQUEL at both 300 mg and 600 mg; however, no additional benefit was seen in the 600 mg group.

Maintenance Treatment of Bipolar I Disorder

Maintenance of efficacy in bipolar I disorder was demonstrated with SEROQUEL (administered twice daily totaling 400 to 800 mg per day) as adjunct therapy to lithium or divalproex. Generally, in the maintenance phase, patients continued on the same dose on which they were stabilized during the stabilization phase [see Clinical Studies (14.2)].

Children and Adolescents (10 to 17 years)

Acute Treatment of Manic Episodes in Bipolar I Disorder

Dose Selection—SEROQUEL should be administered twice daily. However, based on response and tolerability SEROQUEL may be administered three times daily where needed.

The total daily dose for the initial five days of therapy is 50 mg (Day 1), 100 mg (Day 2), 200 mg (Day 3), 300 mg (Day 4) and 400 mg (Day 5). After Day 5, the dose should be adjusted within the recommended dose range of 400 to 600 mg/day based on response and tolerability. Dosage adjustments should be in increments of no greater than 100 mg/day. Efficacy was demonstrated with SEROQUEL at both 400 mg and 600 mg; however, no additional benefit was seen in the 600 mg group.

Maintenance Treatment of Bipolar I Disorder

The effectiveness of SEROQUEL for longer than 3 weeks has not been evaluated in controlled clinical trials of children and adolescents. While there is no body of evidence available to answer the question of how long the patient treated with SEROQUEL should be maintained, it is generally recommended that responding patients be continued beyond the acute response, but at the lowest dose needed to maintain remission. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the need for maintenance treatment.

2.3 Dosing in Special Populations

Consideration should be given to a slower rate of dose titration and a lower target dose in the elderly and in patients who are debilitated or who have a predisposition to hypotensive reactions [see Clinical Pharmacology (12)]. When indicated, dose escalation should be performed with caution in these patients.

Patients with hepatic impairment should be started on 25 mg/day. The dose should be increased daily in increments of 25 mg/day – 50 mg/day to an effective dose, depending on the clinical response and tolerability of the patient.

2.4 Reinitiation of Treatment in Patients Previously Discontinued

Although there are no data to specifically address reinitiation of treatment, it is recommended that when restarting patients who have had an interval of less than one week off SEROQUEL, titration of SEROQUEL is not required and the maintenance dose may be reinitiated. When restarting therapy of patients who have been off SEROQUEL for more than one week, the initial titration schedule should be followed.

2.5 Switching from Antipsychotics

There are no systematically collected data to specifically address switching patients with schizophrenia from antipsychotics to SEROQUEL, or concerning concomitant administration with antipsychotics. While immediate discontinuation of the previous antipsychotic treatment may be acceptable for some patients with schizophrenia, more gradual discontinuation may be most appropriate for others. In all cases, the period of overlapping antipsychotic administration should be minimized. When switching patients with schizophrenia from depot antipsychotics, if medically appropriate, initiate SEROQUEL therapy in place of the next scheduled injection. The need for continuing existing EPS medication should be re-evaluated periodically.

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

25 mg tablets

50 mg tablets

100 mg tablets

200 mg tablets

300 mg tablets

400 mg tablets

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

None known

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 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. SEROQUEL (quetiapine fumarate) is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis[see Boxed Warning].

5.2 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 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 a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality 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

Increases Compared to Placebo

<18

14 additional cases

18–24

5 additional cases

Decreases Compared to Placebo

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 causal 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 of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for SEROQUEL should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder: A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown. However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression. It should be noted that SEROQUEL is approved for use in treating adult bipolar depression.

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