pms-Quetiapine Special Precautions





Full Prescribing Info
Special Precautions
General: Body Temperature Regulation: Disruption of the body's ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic agents (including quetiapine fumarate immediate-release). Appropriate care is advised when prescribing pms-QUETIAPINE for patients who will be experiencing conditions which may contribute to an elevation of core temperature, e.g., exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, receiving concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration (see Clinical Trial Adverse Drug Reactions; and Other Adverse Events: Pyrexia under Adverse Reactions).
Dependence / Tolerance: There have been reports of quetiapine misuse, abuse, tolerance, and/or physical dependence. These cases include adult and adolescent patients using quetiapine alone or with other substances of abuse. Caution is needed when prescribing quetiapine to patients with a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Patients should be observed closely for signs of quetiapine misuse or abuse (e.g. development of tolerance, increases in dose, drug-seeking behavior), particularly if they have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
Acute Withdrawal (discontinuation) Symptoms: Acute discontinuation symptoms such as insomnia, nausea, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness and irritability, have been described after abrupt cessation of antipsychotic drugs including quetiapine. Gradual withdrawal over a period of at least one to two weeks is advisable. Symptoms usually resolved after 1-week post-discontinuation.
Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis: For animal data, see Pharmacology: Toxicology: Carcinogenicity and Mutagenicity under Actions.
Cardiovascular: Hypotension and Syncope: As with other drugs that have high α1 adrenergic receptor blocking activity, quetiapine may induce orthostatic hypotension, tachycardia, dizziness, and sometimes syncope, especially during the initial dose titration period. These events may lead to falls (see Other Adverse Events: Vital Signs under Adverse Reactions).
Syncope was reported in 1% (35/4,083) of patients treated with quetiapine fumarate, compared with 0.3% (3/1,006) on placebo, and 0.4% (2/527) on active control drugs. The risk of hypotension and syncope may be reduced by more gradual titration to the target dose (see Recommended Dose & Dosage Adjustment under Dosage & Administration). pms-QUETIAPINE should be used with caution in patients with known cardiovascular disease (e.g., history of myocardial infarction or ischemic heart disease, heart failure or conduction abnormalities), cerebrovascular disease, or other conditions predisposing to hypotension (e.g., dehydration, hypovolemia and treatment with antihypertensive medications) (see Experience: Post-Marketing under Overdosage).
QT Prolongation: In clinical trials, quetiapine was not associated with a persistent increase in absolute QT intervals. However, the QT effect was not systematically evaluated in a thorough QT study. In post-marketing experience, there have been cases reported of QT prolongation at therapeutic doses in patients with concomitant illness and in patients taking medicines known to cause electrolyte imbalance or increase QT interval, and with overdose (see Experience: Post-Marketing under Overdosage). As with other antipsychotics, caution should be exercised when quetiapine is prescribed in patients with cardiovascular disease or family history of QT prolongation. Also caution should be exercised when quetiapine is prescribed either with medicines known to increase QT interval or with concomitant neuroleptics, especially for patients with increased risk of QT prolongation, i.e., the elderly, patients with congenital long QT syndrome, congestive heart failure, heart hypertrophy, hypokalemia, or hypomagnesemia (see Drug-Drug Interactions under Interactions).
Cardiomyopathy and Myocarditis: Cardiomyopathy and myocarditis have been reported in clinical trials and in post-marketing experience with quetiapine. These events were temporally related to quetiapine; however, a causal relationship has not been established. Treatment should be reassessed in patients with suspected cardiomyopathy or myocarditis.
Endocrine and Metabolism: Worsening of More than one Metabolic Parameter (among Cholesterol and Triglyceride Elevations; Hyperglycemia; Weight Gain): In some patients, a worsening of more than one of the metabolic factors of weight, blood glucose and lipids was observed in clinical studies. Changes in these parameters should be managed as clinically appropriate.
Cholesterol and Triglyceride Elevations: Very common (≥ 10%) cases of elevations in serum triglyceride levels (≥ 2.258 mmol/L on at least one occasion), elevations in total cholesterol (predominantly LDL cholesterol) (≥ 6.2064 mmol/L on at least one occasion), and decreases in HDL cholesterol (< 1.025 mmol/L males; < 1.282 mmol/L females at any time) have been observed during treatment with quetiapine in clinical trials (see Abnormal Hematologic and Clinical Chemistry Findings: Cholesterol and Triglyceride Elevations under Adverse Reactions). Lipid changes should be managed as clinically appropriate.
In short-term placebo-controlled schizophrenia trials, quetiapine fumarate-treated patients showed mean increases from baseline in cholesterol and triglyceride of 11% and 17%, respectively, compared to mean decreases in the placebo-treated patients. LDL cholesterol was not measured in these trials.
In short-term placebo-controlled bipolar depression trials, quetiapine fumarate-treated patients had decreases from baseline in mean cholesterol and increases from baseline in mean triglyceride of 0.7% and 12%, respectively, compared to decreases in mean cholesterol and increases in mean triglyceride of 1.8% and 2% respectively for placebo-treated patients.
Hyperglycemia: As with other antipsychotics, hyperglycemia and diabetes mellitus (including exacerbation of pre-existing diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, and diabetic coma including some fatal cases) in the aggregate have been reported rarely (≥0.01% - < 0.1%) during the use of quetiapine in post-marketing experience, sometimes in patients with no reported history of hyperglycemia (see Post-Market Adverse Drug Reactions under Adverse Reactions).
Increases in blood glucose and hyperglycemia, and occasional reports of diabetes, have been observed in clinical trials with quetiapine (see Abnormal Hematologic and Clinical Chemistry Findings: Hyperglycemia under Adverse Reactions).
Assessment of the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and glucose abnormalities is complicated by the possibility of an increased background risk of diabetes mellitus in patients with schizophrenia and the increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus in the general population. Given these confounders, the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and hyperglycemia-related adverse events is not completely understood. However, epidemiological studies suggest an increased risk of treatment-emergent hyperglycemia-related adverse events in patients treated with the atypical antipsychotics. Precise risk estimates for hyperglycemia-related adverse events in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics are not available.
Patients should have baseline and periodic monitoring of blood glucose. Patients treated with atypical antipsychotics should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycemia including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, and weakness. Patients who develop symptoms of hyperglycemia during treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing. In some cases, hyperglycemia has resolved when the atypical antipsychotic was discontinued; however, some patients required continuation of anti-diabetic treatment despite discontinuation of the suspect drug. Patients with an established diagnosis of diabetes mellitus who are started on atypical antipsychotics should be monitored regularly for worsening of glucose control.
Weight Gain: In controlled schizophrenia clinical trials (up to 6 weeks), mean weight gain was approximately 2.3 kg compared to a mean weight gain of 0.1 kilograms in patients taking placebo (n = 427). In open-label extension trials, after 9 to 13 weeks of quetiapine fumarate monotherapy, the mean weight increase was 1.58 kg (n = 170). After 53 to 78 weeks of treatment, the mean weight increase was 1.98 kg (n = 137). These data are obtained from uncontrolled, open-label trials; the relevance of these findings to clinical practice is unknown. Weight change over time appeared to be independent of quetiapine dose (see Other Adverse Events: Weight Gain under Adverse Reactions).
In the acute placebo-controlled bipolar mania clinical trials (up to 12 weeks) mean weight gain in patients taking quetiapine fumarate was 1.8 kg compared to a mean weight loss of 0.1 kg in patients taking placebo. In patients completing the entire 12 weeks of treatment mean weight gain in patients taking quetiapine fumarate was 2.8 kg.
In the acute placebo-controlled bipolar depression clinical trials (8 weeks) mean weight gain in patients taking quetiapine fumarate was 1.15 kg compared to a mean weight gain of 0.1 kg in patients taking placebo. During maintenance treatment, patients treated with quetiapine fumarate 300 mg or placebo lost on average 0.1 kg and 0.6 kg, respectively, while patients treated with quetiapine fumarate 600 mg gained on average 0.8 kg. In patients who completed 40 and 54 weeks of maintenance treatment a small mean decrease was seen in the quetiapine fumarate 300 mg group (-0.2 kg) and placebo group (-0.8 kg) while patients in the quetiapine fumarate 600 mg group showed a mean weight gain of 1.2 kg (see Other Adverse Events: Weight Gain under Adverse Reactions).
Based on the cumulative acute placebo-controlled clinical trial database, weight gain (based on ≥ 7% increase in body weight from baseline) was reported in 9.6% in quetiapine-treated patients and 3.8% in placebo-treated patients, which occurs predominantly during the early weeks of treatment in adults (see Other Adverse Events: Weight Gain under Adverse Reactions). Patients should have baseline and periodic monitoring of body weight.
Hyperprolactinemia: During clinical trials with quetiapine, elevation in prolactin levels occurred in 3.6% (158/4,416) of patients treated with quetiapine compared to 2.6% (51/1,968) on placebo (see Abnormal Hematologic and Clinical Chemistry Findings: Hyperprolactinemia under Adverse Reactions).
Increased prolactin levels with quetiapine were observed in rat studies. As is common with compounds which stimulate prolactin release, the administration of quetiapine resulted in an increase in the incidence of mammary neoplasms in rats. The physiological differences between rats and humans with regard to prolactin make the clinical significance of these findings unclear. To date, neither clinical nor epidemiological studies have shown an association between chronic administration of drugs that stimulate prolactin release, and mammary tumourigenesis. Tissue culture experiments, however, indicate that approximately one third of human breast cancers are prolactin-dependent in vitro; a factor of potential importance if prescription of these drugs is contemplated in a patient with previously detected breast cancer.
Possible manifestations associated with elevated prolactin levels are amenorrhea, galactorrhea, and menorrhagia. Long-standing hyperprolactinemia when associated with hypogonadism may lead to decreased bone mineral density in both female and male subjects.
In the multiple fixed-dose schizophrenia clinical trial there were no differences in prolactin levels at study completion for quetiapine fumarate, across the recommended dose range, and placebo.
Hypothyroidism: Clinical trials in schizophrenia demonstrated that quetiapine fumarate is associated with a dose-related decrease in total and free thyroxine (T4). On average quetiapine fumarate was associated with about a 20% mean reduction in thyroxine levels (both total and free). Forty-two percent of quetiapine fumarate-treated patients showed at least a 30% reduction in total T4 and 7% showed at least a 50% reduction. Maximum reduction of thyroxine levels generally occurred during the first two to four weeks of treatment with quetiapine fumarate. These reductions were maintained without adaptation or progression during longer term treatment. Decreases in T4 were not associated with systematic changes in TSH or clinical signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism. Approximately 0.4% (12/2,595) of patients treated with quetiapine fumarate (schizophrenia and bipolar mania studies combined) experienced persistent increases in TSH, and 0.25% of patients were treated with thyroid replacement (see Abnormal Hematologic and Clinical Chemistry Findings: Thyroid under Adverse Reactions).
Gastrointestinal: Antiemetic Effect: Consistent with its dopamine antagonist effects, quetiapine may have an antiemetic effect. Such an effect may mask signs of toxicity due to overdosage of other drugs, or may mask symptoms of disease such as brain tumour or intestinal obstruction.
Dysphagia and Aspiration Pneumonia: Dysphagia and aspiration have been reported with quetiapine. Although a causal relationship with aspiration pneumonia has not been established, quetiapine should be used with caution in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia (see Use in the Elderly: Use in Geriatric Patients with Dementia: Dysphagia as follows; Other Adverse Events: Dysphagia under Adverse Reactions).
Constipation and Intestinal Obstruction: Constipation represents a risk factor for intestinal obstruction. Constipation and intestinal obstruction have been reported with quetiapine. This includes fatal reports in patients who are at a higher risk of intestinal obstruction, including those that are receiving multiple concomitant medications that decrease intestinal motility and/or may not report symptoms of constipation (see Post-Market Adverse Drug Reactions under Adverse Reactions). Patients with known or suspected gastrointestinal obstruction (e.g., bowel obstruction, strictures) or any diseases/conditions that affect bowel transit (e.g., ileus of any type) may also be at higher risk of intestinal obstruction.
Genitourinary: Priapism: Rare cases of priapism have been reported with antipsychotic use, such as quetiapine fumarate. This adverse reaction, as with other psychotropic drugs, did not appear to be dose-dependent and did not correlate with the duration of treatment.
Hematologic: Leukopenia, Neutropenia and Agranulocytosis: In clinical trial and post-marketing experience, events of neutropenia, granulocytopenia and agranulocytosis (severe neutropenia with infection) have been reported during antipsychotic use, including quetiapine. It is recommended that patients have their complete blood count (CBC) tested prior to starting quetiapine and then periodically throughout treatment.
Severe neutropenia (< 0.5 x 109/L) has been uncommonly reported in short-term placebo controlled monotherapy clinical trials with quetiapine. Most of the cases of severe neutropenia have occurred within the first two months of starting therapy with quetiapine. There was no apparent dose relationship. Neutropenia should be considered in patients presenting with infection, particularly in the absence of obvious predisposing factors(s), or in patients with unexplained fever, and should be managed as clinically appropriate. There have been rare cases of agranulocytosis among all patients treated with quetiapine during clinical trials, as well as post-marketing reports (including fatal cases). There have also been cases of agranulocytosis in patients without pre-existing risk factors. Agranulocytosis has also been reported with other agents in the class (see Other Adverse Events: Agranulocytosis; and Post-Market Adverse Drug Reactions under Adverse Reactions).
Possible risk factors for leukopenia/neutropenia include pre-existing low white cell count (WBC) and history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia. Patients with a pre-existing low WBC or a history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia should have their complete blood count (CBC) monitored frequently during the first few months of therapy and should discontinue quetiapine at the first sign of a decline in WBC in absence of other causative factors. Patients with neutropenia should be carefully monitored for fever or other symptoms or signs of infection and treated promptly if such symptoms or signs occur. Patients with severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count < 1 x 109/L) should discontinue quetiapine and have their WBC followed until recovery (see Abnormal Hematologic and Clinical Chemistry Findings: Neutropenia; and Post-Market Adverse Drug Reactions under Adverse Reactions).
Venous Thromboembolism: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), including fatal pulmonary embolism, has been reported with antipsychotic drugs, including quetiapine, in case reports and/or observational studies. When prescribing quetiapine all potential risk factors for VTE should be identified and preventative measures undertaken.
Hepatic/Pancreatic: Hepatic Impairment: Decreased clearance of quetiapine fumarate was observed in patients with mild hepatic impairment (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics: Special Populations and Conditions: Hepatic Impairment under Actions). Patients with mild hepatic impairment should be started on 25 mg/day. The dose should be increased daily in increments of 25 to 50 mg/day to an effective dose, depending on the clinical response and tolerability in the individual patient. No pharmacokinetic data are available for any dose of quetiapine fumarate in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment. However, should clinical judgement deem treatment with quetiapine fumarate necessary, the drug should be used with great caution in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics: Special Populations and Conditions: Hepatic Impairment under Actions; Dosing Considerations in Special Populations: Hepatic Impairment under Dosage & Administration).
Transaminase Elevations: During premarketing clinical trials, therapy with quetiapine fumarate was associated with elevation of hepatic transaminases, primarily ALT. Within a clinical trial database of 1,892 quetiapine fumarate-treated schizophrenia patients, with baseline ALT levels < 60 IU/L, 5.3% (101/1,892) had treatment-emergent ALT elevations to > 120 IU/L, 1.5% (29/1,892) had elevations to > 200 IU/L, and 0.2% (3/1,892) had elevations to > 400 IU/L. No patients had values in excess of 800 IU/L. None of the quetiapine fumarate-treated patients who had elevated transaminase values manifested clinical symptomatology associated with liver impairment. The majority of transaminase elevations were seen during the first two months of treatment. Most elevations were transient (80%) while patients continued on quetiapine fumarate therapy. Of the 101 quetiapine fumarate-treated patients whose enzyme levels increased to > 120 IU/L, 40 discontinued treatment while their ALT values were still raised. In 114 quetiapine fumarate-treated patients whose baseline ALT was > 90 IU/L, only 1 experienced an elevation to > 400 IU/L.
In the bipolar disorder trials, the proportions of patients with transaminase elevations of > 3 times the upper limits of the normal reference range, was approximately 1% for both quetiapine fumarate-treated and placebo-treated patients.
Precautions should be exercised when using quetiapine in patients with pre-existing hepatic disorders, in patients who are being treated with potentially hepatotoxic drugs, or if treatment-emergent signs or symptoms of hepatic impairment appear.
Hepatic failure, including fatalities, has also been reported very rarely during the post-marketing period. There have been rare reports of hepatitis in clinical studies. Rare post-marketing reports of hepatitis (with or without jaundice), in patients with or without prior history, have been received. Very rare cases of hepatic steatosis, cholestatic or mixed liver injury have also been reported in the post-marketing period.
For patients who have known or suspected abnormal hepatic function prior to starting quetiapine, standard clinical assessment, including measurement of transaminase levels is recommended. Periodic clinical reassessment with transaminase levels is recommended for such patients, as well as for patients who develop any signs and symptoms suggestive of a new onset liver disorder during quetiapine therapy (see Abnormal Hematologic and Clinical Chemistry Findings: Transaminase Elevations under Adverse Reactions).
Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis has been reported in clinical trials and during post marketing experience. Among post marketing reports, while not all cases were confounded by risk factors, many patients had factors which are known to be associated with pancreatitis such as increased triglycerides (see Endocrine and Metabolism: Cholesterol and Triglyceride Elevations as previously mentioned), gallstones, and alcohol consumption.
Neurologic: Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome is a potentially fatal symptom complex that has been reported in association with antipsychotic drugs, including quetiapine.
The clinical manifestations of NMS are hyperthermia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmia). Additional signs may include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis) and acute renal failure.
In arriving at a diagnosis, it is important to identify cases where the clinical presentation includes both serious medical illness (e.g., pneumonia, systemic infection, etc.) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms. Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, drug fever and primary central nervous system pathology.
The management of NMS should include immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs, including quetiapine, and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy; intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring; and treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available. There is no general agreement about specific pharmacological treatment regimens for uncomplicated NMS.
If a patient requires antipsychotic drug treatment after recovery from NMS, the potential reintroduction of drug therapy should be carefully considered. The patient should be carefully monitored since recurrences of NMS have been reported.
Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) and Extrapyramidal Symptoms (EPS): Tardive Dyskinesia is a syndrome of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements that may develop in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs including quetiapine. Although the prevalence of the syndrome appears to be highest among the elderly, especially elderly women, it is impossible to rely upon estimates to predict which patients are likely to develop the syndrome.
In placebo-controlled clinical trials for schizophrenia and bipolar mania the incidence of EPS was no different from that of placebo across the recommended therapeutic dose range. It has been hypothesized that agents with a lower EPS liability may also have a lower liability to produce TD. This relationship predicts that quetiapine should have less potential than typical antipsychotic agents to induce TD in schizophrenia and bipolar mania patients. In short-term, placebo-controlled clinical trials for bipolar depression, the incidence of EPS was higher in quetiapine-treated patients than in placebo-treated patients (see Other Adverse Events: Extrapyramidal Symptoms (EPS) under Adverse Reactions).
The risk of developing TD and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic drugs administered to the patient increase. However, the syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses.
There is no known treatment for established cases of TD, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn. Antipsychotic treatment, itself, however, may suppress (or partially suppress) the signs and symptoms of the syndrome and thereby may possibly mask the underlying process. The effect that symptomatic suppression has upon the long-term course of the syndrome is unknown.
Given these considerations, quetiapine should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimize the occurrence of TD. Chronic antipsychotic treatment should generally be reserved for patients who appear to suffer from a chronic illness that is known to respond to antipsychotic drugs, and for whom alternative, equally effective, but potentially less harmful treatments are not available or appropriate. In patients who do require chronic treatment, the smallest dose and the shortest duration of treatment producing a satisfactory clinical response should be sought. The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.
If signs and symptoms of TD appear in a patient on quetiapine, dose reduction or drug discontinuation should be considered. Some patients may require treatment with quetiapine fumarate despite the presence of the syndrome. The symptoms of TD can worsen or even arise after discontinuation of treatment (see Other Adverse Events: Tardive Dyskinesia under Adverse Reactions).
Seizures: In controlled schizophrenia clinical trials, there was no difference in the incidence of seizures in patients treated with quetiapine or placebo (incidence of 0.4% or 3 events per 100 patient years in patients given quetiapine, compared with 0.5% or 6.9 events per 100 patient years for placebo). Nevertheless, as with other antipsychotics, caution is recommended when treating patients with a history of seizures or with conditions associated with a lowered seizure threshold (see Other Adverse Events: Seizures under Adverse Reactions).
Sleep Apnea: There have been post-marketing reports of sleep apnea and related disorders in patients with or without prior history of sleep apnea. In some cases, events were reported to have resolved or improved upon quetiapine fumarate discontinuation or dose reduction. pms-QUETIAPINE should be used with caution in patients who have a history of or are at risk for sleep apnea, and/or are receiving concomitant central nervous system (CNS) depressants. In severe cases or if the events continue to persist, pms-QUETIAPINE dose reduction or gradual discontinuation and alternative therapeutic options should be considered (see Post-Market Adverse Drug Reactions under Adverse Reactions).
Anticholinergic (Muscarinic) Effects: Urinary Hesitation and Retention: There have been post-marketing reports of urinary retention in quetiapine fumarate-treated patients with or without prior history. Some patients experiencing severe urinary retention were hospitalized and required catheterization. pms-QUETIAPINE possesses anticholinergic properties which can lead to adverse drug reactions such as gastric or urinary retention when used alone, at recommended therapeutic doses, or concomitant with other medications with anticholinergic effects, and in the setting of overdose. Therefore, pms-QUETIAPINE should be prescribed with caution in patients with a current diagnosis or prior history of urinary retention, patients with other risk factors for urinary retention (e.g., benign prostatic hyperplasia [BPH]), conditions predisposing to intestinal obstruction (see Gastrointestinal: Constipation and Intestinal Obstruction as previously mentioned) or related gastrointestinal conditions, increased intraocular pressure or narrow angle glaucoma, and patients who are unable to communicate clinical symptoms (e.g., cognitively impaired patients). pms-QUETIAPINE should also be prescribed with caution in patients receiving medications with anticholinergic activity that can affect voiding. In patients with signs and symptoms of urinary retention, dose reduction or gradual discontinuation of pms-QUETIAPINE and alternative therapy should be considered (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics: Mechanism of Action and Detailed Pharmacology under Actions; Symptoms under Overdosage; Post-Market Adverse Drug Reactions under Adverse Reactions; Drug-Drug Interactions: Urinary Hesitation and Retention under Interactions).
Potential Effect on Cognitive and Motor Performance: Somnolence was a very commonly reported adverse event in patients treated with quetiapine, especially during the initial dose titration period. Since quetiapine may cause sedation and impair motor skill, patients should be cautioned about performing activities requiring mental alertness, such as operating a motor vehicle or hazardous machinery, until they are reasonably certain that quetiapine therapy does not affect them adversely. Somnolence may lead to falls.
Ophthalmologic: Cataracts: The development of cataracts was observed in association with quetiapine treatment in chronic dog studies at 4 times the recommended human dose. Lens changes have also been observed in patients during long-term quetiapine fumarate treatment, but a causal relationship to quetiapine fumarate use has not been established. The possibility of lenticular changes during long-term use of quetiapine fumarate in man, thus can not be excluded at this time. Eye examinations (e.g., slit lamp exam) prior to or shortly after initiation of treatment with pms-QUETIAPINE and at 6-month intervals thereafter, are recommended. If clinically significant lens changes associated with quetiapine fumarate use are observed, discontinuation of pms-QUETIAPINE should be considered.
Psychiatric: Suicide/Suicidal Thoughts or Clinical Worsening: Depressive episodes are associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, self-harm and suicide (suicide-related events). This risk persists until significant remission of depression occurs. As improvement may not occur during the first few weeks or more of treatment, patients should be closely monitored until such improvement occurs. It is general clinical experience that the risk of suicide may increase in the early stages of recovery. In addition to depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder, depression may be co-morbid with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia, as well as manic episodes associated bipolar disorder, can also be associated with an increased risk of suicide-related events, and thus close supervision and appropriate clinical management of high risk patients should accompany drug therapy.
Patients with a history of suicide-related events are also known to be at a greater risk of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, and should receive careful monitoring during treatment.
In placebo-controlled bipolar depression clinical trials with quetiapine fumarate, the incidence of treatment emergent suicidal ideation or suicidal behaviour, as measured by the Columbia Analysis of Suicidal Behaviour, was 1.5% for quetiapine fumarate-treated patients and 2.0% for placebo-treated patients.
Renal: There is little experience with quetiapine fumarate in patients with renal impairment, except in a low (subclinical) single dose study (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics: Special Populations and Conditions: Renal Impairment under Actions). pms-QUETIAPINE should thus be used with caution in patients with known renal impairment, especially during the initial dosing period (see Dosing Considerations in Special Populations: Renal Impairment under Dosage & Administration).
Skin: Severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCARs), including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) and drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) are potentially life-threatening adverse drug reactions that have been reported during quetiapine exposure. SCARs commonly present as a combination of the following symptoms: extensive cutaneous rash or exfoliative dermatitis, fever, lymphadenopathy and possible eosinophilia. Discontinue quetiapine if severe cutaneous adverse reactions occur.
Use in Children: Neonates: Neonates exposed to antipsychotic drugs including quetiapine fumarate during the third trimester of pregnancy are at risk for extrapyramidal and/or withdrawal symptoms following delivery. There have been reports of agitation, hypertonia, hypotonia, tremor, somnolence, respiratory distress and feeding disorder in these neonates. These complications have varied in severity; while in some cases symptoms have been self-limited, in other cases neonates have required intensive care unit support and prolonged hospitalization.
pms-QUETIAPINE should not be used during pregnancy unless the expected benefits to the mother markedly outweigh the potential risks to the fetus.
Pediatrics (< 18 years of age): The safety and efficacy of quetiapine fumarate in children under the age of 18 years have not been established and its use is not recommended.
Weight gain has been observed with atypical antipsychotic use in pediatric and adolescent patient populations. Independent of any drug-specific effects, weight gain can be associated with adverse changes in other metabolic parameters (e.g., glucose and lipid metabolism). Abnormal childhood weight and metabolic status can have adverse effects on cardiovascular outcomes in adulthood. Weight gain and adverse effects on other metabolic parameters associated with atypical antipsychotics can be more frequent or more severe in pediatric and adolescent patients than in the adult patients.
Increased blood pressure (not seen in adults) occurs more frequently in quetiapine treated patients than in placebo in patients under the age of 18 years. Additionally, frequency categories for increased appetite, elevations in serum prolactin, vomiting, rhinitis and syncope were higher in patients under the age of 18 years treated with quetiapine than in adults. Increased appetite, elevations in serum prolactin, and vomiting were very common in children and adolescents, and common in adults. Rhinitis and syncope were common in children and adolescents, and uncommon in adults (see Adverse Drug Reactions in Pediatrics (< 18 years of age) under Adverse Reactions).
Long-term safety data including cardiometabolic effects, growth, maturation and behavioral development in patients under 18 years of age has not been systematically evaluated.
Use in the Elderly: The number of patients 65 years of age or over, with schizophrenia or related disorders, exposed to quetiapine fumarate, during clinical trials was limited (n = 38). When compared to younger patients the mean plasma clearance of quetiapine was reduced by 30% to 50% in elderly subjects. In addition, as this population has more frequent hepatic, renal, central nervous system, and cardiovascular dysfunctions, and more frequent use of concomitant medication, caution should be exercised with the use of quetiapine in the elderly patient (see Dosing Considerations in Special Populations: Elderly under Dosage & Administration).
Use in Geriatric Patients with Dementia: Overall Mortality: Elderly patients with dementia treated with atypical antipsychotic drugs showed increased mortality compared to placebo in a meta-analysis of 13 controlled trials of various atypical antipsychotic drugs. In two placebo-controlled trials with oral quetiapine in this population, the incidence of mortality was 5.5% for quetiapine-treated patients compared to 3.2% for placebo-treated patients. pms-QUETIAPINE is not indicated in elderly patients with dementia.
Cerebrovascular Adverse Events: An increased risk of cerebrovascular adverse events has been seen in the dementia population with some atypical antipsychotics. The mechanism for this increased risk is not known. There is insufficient data with quetiapine to know if there is an increased risk of cerebrovascular events associated with quetiapine. An increased risk, however, cannot be excluded. pms-QUETIAPINE is not indicated in patients with dementia.
Vascular Disease: Quetiapine should be used with caution in patients with risk factors for stroke or with a history of stroke.
Dysphagia: Esophageal dysmotility and aspiration have been associated with antipsychotic drug use. Aspiration pneumonia is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in elderly patients, in particular those with advanced Alzheimer's dementia. Quetiapine and other antipsychotic drugs should be used cautiously in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia (see Gastrointestinal: Dysphagia and Aspiration Pneumonia as previously mentioned; and Other Adverse Events: Dysphagia under Adverse Reactions).
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