Tecfidera

Tecfidera

dimethyl fumarate

Manufacturer:

Biogen

Distributor:

Zuellig
/
Agencia Lei Va Hong

Marketer:

Eisai
Full Prescribing Info
Contents
Dimethyl fumarate.
Description
Each capsule contains 120 mg or 240 mg dimethyl fumarate.
Excipients/Inactive Ingredients: Enteric-coated microtablets: Microcrystalline cellulose, croscarmellose sodium, talc, colloidal anhydrous silica, magnesium stearate, triethyl citrate, methacrylic acid - methyl metacrylate copolymer (1:1), methacrylic acid - ethyl acrylate copolymer (1:1) dispersion 30%, simeticone, sodium laurilsulfate, polysorbate 80.
Capsule shell: Gelatin, titanium dioxide (E171), brilliant blue FCF (E133), yellow iron oxide (E172).
Capsule print (black ink): Shellac, potassium hydroxide, black iron oxide (E172).
Action
Pharmacotherapeutic Group: Other nervous system drugs. ATC Code: N07XX09.
Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics: Mechanism of Action: The mechanism by which dimethyl fumarate exerts therapeutic effects in multiple sclerosis is not fully understood. Preclinical studies indicate that dimethyl fumarate pharmacodynamic responses appear to be primarily mediated through activation of the Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) transcriptional pathway. Dimethyl fumarate has been shown to up regulate Nrf2-dependent antioxidant genes in patients (e.g. NAD(P)H dehydrogenase, quinone 1; [NQO1]).
Pharmacodynamic Effects: Effects on the Immune System: In preclinical and clinical studies, Tecfidera demonstrated anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. Dimethyl fumarate and monomethyl fumarate, the primary metabolite of dimethyl fumarate, significantly reduced immune cell activation and subsequent release of pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to inflammatory stimuli in preclinical models. In clinical studies with psoriasis patients, dimethyl fumarate affected lymphocyte phenotypes through a down-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokine profiles (TH1, TH17), and biased towards anti-inflammatory production (TH2). Dimethyl fumarate demonstrated therapeutic activity in multiple models of inflammatory and neuroinflammatory injury. In Phase 3 studies, upon treatment with Tecfidera mean lymphocyte counts decreased on average by approximately 30% of their baseline value over the first year with a subsequent plateau.
Effect on Cardiovascular System: Single doses of 240 mg or 360 mg Tecfidera did not have any effect on the QTc interval when compared to placebo in a QTc study.
Clinical Efficacy and Safety: Two, 2-year, randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled studies [Study 1 (DEFINE) with 1,234 subjects and Study 2 (CONFIRM) with 1,417 subjects] of subjects with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) were performed. Subjects with progressive forms of MS were not included in these studies. Efficacy (see Table 1) and safety were demonstrated in subjects with Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores ranging from 0 to 5 inclusive, who had experienced at least 1 relapse during the year prior to randomisation, or, within 6 weeks of randomisation had a brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) demonstrating at least one gadolinium-enhancing (Gd+) lesion. Study 2 contained a rater-blinded (i.e. study physician/ investigator assessing the response to study treatment was blinded) reference comparator of glatiramer acetate.
In Study 1, patients had the following median baseline characteristics: Age 39 years, disease duration 7.0 years, EDSS score 2.0. In addition, 16% of patients had an EDSS score >3.5, 28% had ≥2 relapses in the prior year and 42% had previously received other approved MS treatments. In the MRI cohort 36% of patients entering the study had Gd+ lesions at baseline (mean number of Gd+ lesions 1.4).
In Study 2, patients had the following median baseline characteristics: Age 37 years, disease duration 6.0 years, EDSS score 2.5. In addition, 17% of patients had an EDSS score >3.5, 32% had ≥2 relapses in the prior year and 30% had previously received other approved MS treatments. In the MRI cohort 45% of patients entering the study had Gd+ lesions at baseline (mean number of Gd+ lesions 2.4).
Compared to placebo, subjects treated with Tecfidera had a clinically meaningful and statistically significant reduction on: the primary endpoint in Study 1, proportion of subjects relapsed at 2 years; and the primary endpoint in Study 2, annualised relapse rate at 2 years.
The annualised relapse rate for glatiramer acetate and placebo was 0.286 and 0.401 respectively in Study 2, corresponding to a reduction of 29% (p=0.013), which is consistent with approved prescribing information. (See Table 1.)

Click on icon to see table/diagram/image

Efficacy in Patients with High Disease Activity: Consistent treatment effect on relapses in a subgroup of patients with high disease activity was observed, whilst the effect on time to 3-month sustained disability progression was not clearly established. Due to the design of the studies, high disease activity was defined as follows: Patients with 2 or more relapses in one year, and with one or more Gd-enhancing lesions on brain MRI (n=42 in DEFINE; n=51 in CONFIRM) or, patients who have failed to respond to a full and adequate course (at least one year of treatment) of beta-interferon, having had at least 1 relapse in the previous year while on therapy, and at least 9 T2-hyperintense lesions in cranial MRI or at least 1 Gd-enhancing lesion, or patients having an unchanged or increased relapse rate in the prior year as compared to the previous 2 years (n=177 in DEFINE; n=141 in CONFIRM).
Paediatric Population: The European Medicines Agency has deferred the obligation to submit the results of studies with Tecfidera in one or more subsets of the paediatric population in multiple sclerosis (see Dosage & Administration for information on paediatric use).
Pharmacokinetics: Orally administered Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) undergoes rapid presystemic hydrolysis by esterases and is converted to its primary metabolite, monomethyl fumarate, which is also active. Dimethyl fumarate is not quantifiable in plasma following oral administration of Tecfidera. Therefore, all pharmacokinetic analyses related to dimethyl fumarate were performed with plasma monomethyl fumarate concentrations. Pharmacokinetic data were obtained in subjects with multiple sclerosis and healthy volunteers.
Absorption: The Tmax of monomethyl fumarate is 2 to 2.5 hours. As Tecfidera gastro-resistant hard capsules contain microtablets, which are protected by an enteric coating, absorption does not commence until they leave the stomach (generally less than 1 hour). Following 240 mg twice a day administered with food, the median peak (Cmax) was 1.72 mg/L and overall (AUC) exposure was 8.02 h·mg/L in subjects with multiple sclerosis. Overall, Cmax and AUC increased approximately dose-proportionally in the dose range studied (120 mg to 360 mg). In subjects with multiple sclerosis, two 240 mg doses were administered 4 hours apart as part of a three times a day dosing regimen. This resulted in a minimal accumulation of exposure yielding an increase in the median Cmax of 12% compared to the twice daily dosing (1.72 mg/L for twice daily compared to 1.93 mg/L for three times daily) with no safety implications.
Food does not have a clinically significant effect on exposure of dimethyl fumarate. However, Tecfidera should be taken with food due to improved tolerability with respect to flushing or gastrointestinal adverse events (see Dosage & Administration).
Distribution: The apparent volume of distribution following oral administration of 240 mg Tecfidera varies between 60 L and 90 L. Human plasma protein binding of monomethyl fumarate generally ranges between 27% and 40%.
Biotransformation: In humans, dimethyl fumarate is extensively metabolised with less than 0.1% of the dose excreted as unchanged dimethyl fumarate in urine. It is initially metabolised by esterases, which are ubiquitous in the gastrointestinal tract, blood and tissues, before it reaches the systemic circulation. Further metabolism occurs through the tricarboxylic acid cycle, with no involvement of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) system. A single 240 mg 14C-dimethyl fumarate dose study identified glucose as the predominant metabolite in human plasma. Other circulating metabolites included fumaric acid, citric acid and monomethyl fumarate. The downstream metabolism of fumaric acid occurs through the tricarboxylic acid cycle, with exhalation of CO2 serving as a primary route of elimination.
Elimination: Exhalation of CO2 is the primary route of dimethyl fumarate elimination accounting for 60% of the dose. Renal and faecal elimination are secondary routes of elimination, accounting for 15.5% and 0.9% of the dose respectively.
The terminal half-life of monomethyl fumarate is short (approximately 1 hour) and no circulating monomethyl fumarate is present at 24 hours in the majority of individuals. Accumulation of parent drug or monomethyl fumarate does not occur with multiple doses of dimethyl fumarate at the therapeutic regimen.
Linearity: Dimethyl fumarate exposure increases in an approximately dose proportional manner with single and multiple doses in the 120 mg to 360 mg dose range studied.
Pharmacokinetics in special patient groups: Based on the results of Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), body weight is the main covariate of exposure (by Cmax and AUC) in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) subjects, but did not affect safety and efficacy measures evaluated in the clinical studies.
Gender and age did not have a clinically significant impact on the pharmacokinetics of dimethyl fumarate. The pharmacokinetics in patients aged 65 and over has not been studied.
Paediatric Population: The pharmacokinetics in patients below the age of 18 has not been studied.
Renal Impairment: Since the renal pathway is a secondary route of elimination for dimethyl fumarate accounting for less than 16% of the dose administered, evaluation of pharmacokinetics in individuals with renal impairment was not conducted.
Hepatic Impairment: As dimethyl fumarate and monomethyl fumarate are metabolised by esterases, without the involvement of the CYP450 system, evaluation of phamacokinetics in individuals with hepatic impairment was not conducted.
Toxicology: Preclinical Safety Data: The adverse reactions described in the Toxicology and Reproduction toxicity sections below were not observed in clinical studies, but were seen in animals at exposure levels similar to clinical exposure levels.
Mutagenesis: Dimethyl fumarate and mono-methylfumarate were negative in a battery of in vitro assays (Ames, chromosomal aberration in mammalian cells). Dimethyl fumarate was negative in the in vivo micronucleus assay in the rat.
Carcinogenesis: Carcinogenicity studies of dimethyl fumarate were conducted for up to 2 years in mice and rats. Dimethyl fumarate was administered orally at doses of 25, 75, 200 and 400 mg/kg/day in mice, and at doses of 25, 50, 100, and 150 mg/kg/day in rats. In mice, the incidence of renal tubular carcinoma was increased at 75 mg/kg/day, at equivalent exposure (AUC) to the recommended human dose. In rats, the incidence of renal tubular carcinoma was increased at 100 mg/kg/day, approximately 3 times higher exposure than the recommended human dose. The relevance of these findings to human risk is unknown.
The incidence of squamous cell papilloma and carcinoma in the nonglandular stomach (forestomach) was increased at equivalent exposure to the recommended human dose in mice and below exposure to the recommended human dose in rats (based on AUC). The forestomach in rodents does not have a human counterpart.
Toxicology: Nonclinical studies in rodent, rabbits, and monkeys were conducted with a dimethyl fumarate suspension (dimethyl fumarate in 0.8% hydroxypropyl methylcellulose) administered by oral gavage. The chronic dog study was conducted with oral administration of the dimethyl fumarate capsule.
Kidney changes were observed after repeated oral administration of dimethyl fumarate in mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys. Renal tubule epithelial regeneration, suggestive of injury, was observed in all species. Renal tubular hyperplasia was observed in rats with life time dosing (2-year study). Cortical atrophy was observed in dogs and monkeys, and single cell necrosis and interstitial fibrosis were observed in monkeys that received daily oral doses of dimethyl fumarate for 12 months, at 6 times the recommended dose based on AUC. The relevance of these findings to humans is not known.
In the testes, degeneration of the seminiferous epithelium was seen in rats and dogs. The findings were observed at approximately the recommended dose in rats and 6 times the recommended dose in dogs (AUC basis). The relevance of these findings to humans is not known.
Findings in the forestomach of mice and rats consisted of squamous epithelial hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis; inflammation; and squamous cell papilloma and carcinoma in studies of 3 months or longer in duration. The forestomach of mice and rats does not have a human counterpart.
Reproduction Toxicity: Oral administration of dimethyl fumarate to male rats at 75, 250, and 375 mg/kg/day prior to and during mating had no effects on male fertility up to the highest dose tested (at least 2 times the recommended dose on an AUC basis). Oral administration of dimethyl fumarate to female rats at 25, 100, and 250 mg/kg/day prior to and during mating, and continuing to Day 7 of gestation, induced reduction in the number of estrous stages per 14 days and increased the number of animals with prolonged diestrus at the highest dose tested (11 times the recommended dose on an AUC basis). However, these changes did not affect fertility or the number of viable fetuses produced.
Dimethyl fumarate has been shown to cross the placental membrane into fetal blood in rats and rabbits, with ratios of fetal to maternal plasma concentrations of 0.48 to 0.64 and 0.1 respectively. No malformations were observed at any dose of dimethyl fumarate in rats or rabbits. Administration of dimethyl fumarate at oral doses of 25, 100, and 250 mg/kg/day to pregnant rats during the period of organogenesis resulted in maternal adverse effects at 4 times the recommended dose on an AUC basis, and low fetal weight and delayed ossification (metatarsals and hindlimb phalanges) at 11 times the recommended dose on an AUC basis. The lower fetal weight and delayed ossification were considered secondary to maternal toxicity (reduced body weight and food consumption).
Oral administration of dimethyl fumarate at 25, 75, and 150 mg/kg/day to pregnant rabbits during organogenesis had no effect on embryo-fetal development and resulted in reduced maternal body weight at 7 times the recommended dose and increased abortion at 16 times the recommended dose, on an AUC basis.
Oral administration of dimethyl fumarate at 25, 100, and 250 mg/kg/day to rats during pregnancy and lactation resulted in lower body weights in the F1 offspring, and delays in sexual maturation in F1 males at 11 times the recommended dose on an AUC basis. There were no effects on fertility in the F1 offspring. The lower offspring body weight was considered secondary to maternal toxicity.
Indications/Uses
Tecfidera is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions for important information on the populations for which efficacy has been established).
Dosage/Direction for Use
Treatment should be initiated under supervision of a physician experienced in the treatment of the disease.
The starting dose is 120 mg twice a day. After 7 days, the dose is increased to the recommended dose of 240 mg twice a day.
Temporary dose reduction to 120 mg twice a day may reduce the occurrence of flushing and gastrointestinal adverse reactions. Within 1 month, the recommended dose of 240 mg twice a day should be resumed.
Tecfidera should be taken with food (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions). For those patients who may experience flushing or gastrointestinal adverse reactions, taking Tecfidera with food may improve tolerability (see Precautions, Adverse Reactions & Interactions).
Elderly: Clinical studies of Tecfidera had limited exposure to patients aged 55 years and above, and did not include sufficient numbers of patients aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently than younger patients (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions). Based on the mode of action of the active substance there are no theoretical reasons for any requirement for dose adjustments in the elderly.
Renal and Hepatic Impairment: Tecfidera has not been studied in patients with renal or hepatic impairment. Based on clinical pharmacology studies, no dose adjustments are needed (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions). Caution should be used when treating patients with severe renal or severe hepatic impairment (see Precautions).
Paediatric Population:
The safety and efficacy of Tecfidera in children and adolescents aged 10 to 18 years have not been established. No data are available. There is no relevant use of Tecfidera in children aged less than 10 years for the indication of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.
Method of administration: For oral use.
The capsule or its contents should not be crushed, divided, dissolved, sucked or chewed as the enteric-coating of the microtablets prevents irritant effects on the gut.
Overdosage
No cases of overdose have been reported.
Contraindications
Hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients listed in Description.
Special Precautions
Blood/Laboratory Tests: Changes in renal and hepatic laboratory tests have been seen in clinical trials in subjects treated with Tecfidera (see Adverse Reactions). The clinical implications of these changes are unknown. Assessments of renal function (e.g. creatinine, blood urea nitrogen and urinalysis) and hepatic function (e.g. ALT and AST) are recommended prior to treatment initiation, after 3 and 6 months of treatment, every 6 to 12 months thereafter and as clinically indicated.
Prolonged Moderate to Severe Lymphopenia: Patients treated with Tecfidera may develop severe prolonged lymphopaenia (see Adverse Reactions). Tecfidera has not been studied in patients with pre-existing low lymphocyte counts and caution should be exercised when treating these patients. Prior to initiating treatment with Tecfidera, a current complete blood count including a lymphocyte must be performed. If lymphocyte count is found to be below the normal range, thorough assessment of possible causes should be completed prior to initiation of treatment with Tecfidera.
After starting therapy, complete blood counts including lymphocytes must be performed every 3 months. Consider interruption of Tecfidera in patients with lymphocyte count <0.5 x 109/L persisting for more than 6 months, the benefit/risk balance of the therapy should be re-considered in discussion with the patient in the context of other therapeutic options available. Clinical factors and evaluation of any laboratory and imaging investigations could be included as part of this re-consideration. If treatment is continued despite a persistent lymphocyte count <0.5 x 109/L, enhanced vigilance is recommended (see also subsection on PML).
Lymphocyte count should be followed until recovery. Upon recovery and in the absence of alternative treatment options, decisions about whether or not to restart Tecfidera after treatment discontinuation should be based on clinical judgement.
MR Imaging: Before initiating treatment with Tecfidera, a baseline MRI should be available (usually within 3 months) as a reference. The need for further MRI scanning should be considered in accordance with national and local recommendations. MRI imaging may be considered as part of increased vigilance in patients considered at increased risk of PML. In case of clinical suspicion of PML, MRI should be performed immediately for diagnostic purposes.
Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): PML cases have occurred with Tecfidera and other products containing fumarates in the setting of severe and prolonged lymphopenia. PML is an opportunistic infection caused by John-Cunningham virus (JCV), which may be fatal or result in severe disability. PML can only occur in the presence of a JCV infection. If JCV testing is undertaken, it should be considered that the influence of lymphopenia on the accuracy of anti-JCV antibody test has not been studied in Tecfidera treated patients. It should also be noted that a negative anti JCV antibody test (in the presence of normal lymphocyte counts) does not preclude the possibility of subsequent JCV infection.
Prior Treatment with Immunosuppressive or Immunomodulating Therapies: No studies have been performed evaluating the efficacy and safety of Tecfidera when switching patients from other disease-modifying therapies to Tecfidera. The contribution of prior immunosuppressive therapy to the development of PML in patients treated with Tecfidera is unknown. When switching patients from other disease-modifying therapy to Tecfidera, the half-life and mode of action of the other therapy must be considered in order to avoid an additive immune effect whilst at the same time reducing the risk of reactivation of MS.
A complete blood count is recommended prior to initiating Tecfidera and regularly during treatment (see Blood/Laboratory Tests previously mentioned).
Tecfidera can generally be started immediately after discontinuation of interferon or glatiramer acetate.
Severe Renal and Hepatic Impairment: Tecfidera has not been studied in patients with severe renal or severe hepatic impairment and caution should, therefore, be used in these patients (see Dosage & Administration).
Severe Active Gastrointestinal Disease: Tecfidera has not been studied in patients with severe active gastrointestinal disease and caution should, therefore, be used in these patients.
Flushing: In clinical trials, 34% of Tecfidera treated patients experienced flushing. In the majority of patients who experienced flushing, it was mild or moderate in severity.
In clinical trials, 3 patients out of a total of 2,560 patients treated with Tecfidera experienced serious flushing symptoms that were probable hypersensitivity or anaphylactoid reactions. These events were not life-threatening, but led to hospitalisation. Prescribers and patients should be alert to this possibility in the event of severe flushing reactions (see Dosage & Administration, Adverse Reactions and Interactions).
Infections: In phase III placebo-controlled studies, the incidence of infections (60% vs 58%) and serious infections (2% vs 2%) was similar in patients treated with Tecfidera or placebo, respectively. There was no increased incidence of serious infections observed in patients with lymphocyte counts <0.8 x 109/L or <0.5 x 109/L. During treatment with Tecfidera in the MS placebo controlled trials, mean lymphocyte counts decreased by approximately 30% from baseline at one year and then plateaued (see Adverse Reactions). Mean lymphocyte counts remained within normal limits. Patients with lymphocyte counts <0.5 x 109/L were observed in <1% of patients treated with placebo and 6% of patients treated with Tecfidera. In clinical studies (both controlled and uncontrolled), 2% of patients experienced lymphocyte counts <0.5 x 109/L for at least six months. In these patients, the majority of lymphocyte counts remained <0.5 x 109/L with continued therapy.
If therapy is continued in the presence of prolonged moderate to severe lymphopenia , the risk of an opportunistic infection, including Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) cannot be ruled out (refer to previous subsection PML for further details).
If a patient develops a serious infection, suspending treatment with Tecfidera should be considered and the benefits and risks should be reassessed prior to re-initiation of therapy. Patients receiving Tecfidera should be instructed to report symptoms of infections to a physician. Patients with serious infections should not start treatment with Tecfidera until the infection(s) is resolved.
Effects on Ability to Drive and Use Machines: No studies on the ability to drive and use machines have been conducted.
Use In Pregnancy & Lactation
Pregnancy: There are no or limited amount of data from the use of dimethyl fumarate in pregnant women. Animal studies have shown reproductive toxicity (see Pharmacology: Toxicology: Preclinical Safety Data under Actions). Tecfidera is not recommended during pregnancy and in women of childbearing potential not using appropriate contraception (see Interactions). Tecfidera should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed and if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the foetus.
Breast-feeding: It is unknown whether dimethyl fumarate or its metabolites are excreted in human milk. A risk to the newborns/infants cannot be excluded. A decision must be made whether to discontinue breast-feeding or to discontinue Tecfidera therapy. The benefit of breast-feeding for the child and the benefit of therapy for the woman should be taken into account.
Fertility: There are no data on the effects of Tecfidera on human infertility. Data from preclinical studies do not suggest that dimethyl fumarate would be associated with an increased risk of reduced fertility (see Pharmacology: Toxicology: Preclinical Safety Data under Actions).
Adverse Reactions
Summary of the Safety Profile: The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥10%) for patients treated with Tecfidera were flushing and gastrointestinal events (i.e. diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal pain, abdominal pain upper). Flushing and gastrointestinal events tend to begin early in the course of treatment (primarily during the first month) and in patients who experience flushing and gastrointestinal events, these events may continue to occur intermittently throughout treatment with Tecfidera. The most commonly reported adverse reactions leading to discontinuation (incidence >1%) in patients treated with Tecfidera were flushing (3%) and gastrointestinal events (4%).
In placebo-controlled and uncontrolled clinical studies, a total of 2,468 patients have received Tecfidera and been followed for periods up to 4 years with an overall exposure equivalent to 3,588 person-years. Approximately 1,056 patients have received more than 2 years of treatment with Tecfidera. The experience in uncontrolled clinical trials is consistent with the experience in the placebo-controlled clinical trials.
Tabulated Summary of Adverse Reactions: Adverse reactions, which were more frequently reported in Tecfidera versus placebo-treated patients, are presented in the table as follows. These data were derived from 2 pivotal Phase 3 placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trials with a total of 1,529 patients treated with Tecfidera and for up to 24 months with an overall exposure of 2,371 person-years (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions). The frequencies described in Table 2 are based on 769 patients treated with Tecfidera 240 mg twice a day and 771 patients treated with placebo.
The adverse reactions are presented as MedDRA preferred terms under the MedDRA System Organ Class. The incidence of the adverse reactions in Table 2 are expressed according to the following categories: Very common (≥1/10), Common (≥1/100 to <1/10), Uncommon (≥1/1,000 to <1/100), Rare (≥1/10,000 to <1/1,000), Very Rare (<1/10,000), Not known (cannot be estimated from the available data). (See Table 2.)

Click on icon to see table/diagram/image

Description of Selected Adverse Reactions: Flushing: In the placebo-controlled studies, the incidence of flushing (34% versus 4%) and hot flush (7% versus 2%) was increased in patients treated with Tecfidera compared to placebo, respectively. Flushing is usually described as flushing or hot flush, but can include other events (e.g. warmth, redness, itching, and burning sensation). Flushing events tend to begin early in the course of treatment (primarily during the first month) and in patients who experience flushing, these events may continue to occur intermittently throughout treatment with Tecfidera. In patients with flushing, the majority had flushing events that were mild or moderate in severity. Overall, 3% of patients treated with Tecfidera discontinued due to flushing. The incidence of serious flushing, which may be characterised by generalised erythema, rash and/or pruritus, was seen in less than 1% of patients treated with Tecfidera (see Dosage & Administration, Precautions and Interactions).
Gastrointestinal: The incidence of gastrointestinal events [e.g. diarrhoea (14% versus 10%), nausea (12% versus 9%), upper abdominal pain (10% versus 6%), abdominal pain (9% versus 4%), vomiting (8% versus 5%) and dyspepsia (5% versus 3%)] was increased in patients treated with Tecfidera compared to placebo, respectively. Gastrointestinal events tend to begin early in the course of treatment (primarily during the first month) and in patients who experience gastrointestinal events, these events may continue to occur intermittently throughout treatment with Tecfidera. In the majority of patients who experienced gastrointestinal events, it was mild or moderate in severity. Four percent (4%) of patients treated with Tecfidera discontinued due to gastrointestinal events. The incidence of serious gastrointestinal events, including gastroenteritis and gastritis, was seen in 1% of patients treated with Tecfidera (see Dosage & Administration).
Hepatic Transaminases: In placebo-controlled studies, elevations of hepatic transaminases were observed. The majority of patients with elevations had hepatic transaminases that were <3 times the upper limit of normal (ULN). The increased incidence of elevations of hepatic transaminases in patients treated with Tecfidera relative to placebo was primarily seen during the first 6 months of treatment. Elevations of alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase ≥3 times ULN, respectively, were seen in 5% and 2% of patients treated with placebo and 6% and 2% of patients treated with Tecfidera. There were no elevations in transaminases ≥3 times ULN with concomitant elevations in total bilirubin >2 times ULN. Discontinuations due to elevated hepatic transaminases were <1% and similar in patients treated with Tecfidera or placebo.
Renal: In placebo-controlled studies, the incidence of proteinuria was higher in patients treated with Tecfidera (9%) compared to placebo (7%). The overall incidence of renal and urinary adverse eventswas similar for Tecfidera and placebo-treated patients. There were no reports of serious renal failure. On urinalysis, the percentage of patients with protein values of 1+ or greater was similar for Tecfidera (43%) and placebo-treated patients (40%). Typically, laboratory observations of proteinuria were not progressive. Compared to patients treated with placebo, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was observed to increase in patients treated with Tecfidera, including those patients with 2 consecutive occurrences of proteinuria (≥1+).
Haematological: In the placebo-controlled studies, most patients (>98%) had normal lymphocyte values prior to initiating treatment. Upon treatment with Tecfidera, mean lymphocyte counts decreased over the first year with a subsequent plateau. On average, lymphocyte counts decreased by approximately 30% of baseline value. Mean and median lymphocyte counts remained within normal limits. Lymphocyte counts <0.5 x 109/L were observed in <1% of patients treated with placebo and 6% of patients treated with Tecfidera. A lymphocyte count <0.2 x 109/L was observed in 1 patient treated with Tecfidera and in no patients treated with placebo. In uncontrolled and controlled clinical studies, 2% of patients experienced lymphocyte counts <0.5 x 109/L for at least six months. In these patients, the majority of lymphocyte counts remained <0.5 x 109/L with continued therapy. The incidence of infections (58% versus 60%) and serious infections (2% versus 2%) was similar in patients treated with placebo or Tecfidera. An increased incidence of infections and serious infections was not observed in patients with lymphocyte counts <0.8 x 109/L or <0.5 x 109/L. PML has occurred in the setting of prolonged moderate to severe lymphopenia (see Precautions). A transient increase in mean eosinophil counts was seen during the first 2 months of therapy.
Laboratory Abnormalities: In the placebo-controlled studies, measurement of urinary ketones (1+ or greater) was higher in patients treated with Tecfidera (45%) compared to placebo (10%). No untoward clinical consequences were observed in clinical trials.
Levels of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D decreased in Tecfidera treated patients relative to placebo (median percentage decrease from baseline at 2 years of 25% versus 15%, respectively) and levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) increased in Tecfidera treated patients relative to placebo (median percentage increase from baseline at 2 years of 29% versus 15%, respectively). Mean values for both parameters remained within normal range.
In post marketing experience, hypersensitivity reactions such as urticaria, angioedema, and difficulty breathing have been reported following Tecfidera administration.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy has occurred in the setting of prolonged moderate to severe lymphopenia following Tecfidera administration.
Reporting of Suspected Adverse Reactions: Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions.
Drug Interactions
Tecfidera has not been studied in combination with anti-neoplastic or immunosuppressive therapies. and caution should, therefore, be used during concomitant administration.
In multiple sclerosis clinical studies, the concomitant treatment of relapses with a short course of intravenous corticosteroids was not associated with a clinically relevant increase of infection. Vaccination during treatment with Tecfidera has not been studied. It is not known whether treatment with Tecfidera might reduce the effectiveness of some vaccines. Live vaccines might carry an increased risk of clinical infection and should not be given to patients treated with Tecfidera unless, in exceptional cases, this potential risk is considered to be outweighed by the risk to the individual of not vaccinating.
During treatment with Tecfidera, simultaneous use of other fumaric acid derivatives (topical or systemic) should be avoided.
In humans, dimethyl fumarate is extensively metabolised by esterases before it reaches the systemic circulation and further metabolism occurs through the tricarboxylic acid cycle, with no involvement of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) system. Potential drug interaction risks were not identified from in vitro CYP-inhibition and induction studies, a p-glycoprotein study, or studies of the protein binding of dimethyl fumarate and monomethyl fumarate (a primary metabolite of dimethyl fumarate).
Commonly used medicinal products in patients with multiple sclerosis, intramuscular interferon beta-1a and glatiramer acetate, were clinically tested for potential interactions with dimethyl fumarate and did not alter the pharmacokinetic profile of dimethyl fumarate.
Administration of 325 mg (or equivalent) non-enteric coated acetylsalicylic acid, 30 minutes prior to Tecfidera, over 4 days of dosing, did not alter the pharmacokinetic profile of Tecfidera and reduced the occurrence and severity of flushing in a healthy volunteer study. However, long term use of acetylsalicylic acid is not recommended for the management of flushing. Potential risks associated with acetylsalicylic acid therapy should be considered prior to co-administration with Tecfidera. (See Dosage & Administration, Precautions and Adverse Reactions).
Concurrent therapy with nephrotoxic medicinal products (such as aminoglycosides, diuretics, NSAIDs or lithium) may increase the potential of renal adverse reactions (e.g. proteinuria) in patients taking Tecfidera (see Adverse Reactions).
Consumption of moderate amounts of alcohol did not alter exposure to Tecfidera and was not associated with an increase in adverse reactions. Consumption of large quantities of undiluted strong alcoholic drinks (more than 30% alcohol by volume) may lead to increased dissolution rates of Tecfidera and, therefore, may increase the frequency of gastrointestinal adverse reactions.
In vitro
CYP induction studies did not demonstrate an interaction between Tecfidera and oral contraceptives. In vivo interaction studies have not been performed with oral contraceptives. Even though an interaction is not expected, non-hormonal contraceptive measures should be considered with Tecfidera (see Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Paediatric Population:
Interaction studies have only been performed in adults.
Caution For Usage
Incompatibilities: Not applicable.
Special Precautions for Disposal: No special requirements.
Storage
Protect from light.
ATC Classification
L04AX07 - dimethyl fumarate ; Belongs to the class of other immunosuppressants.
Presentation/Packing
Gastro-resistant hard cap 120 mg (green and white, hard capsule, printed with 'BG-12 120 mg') x 14's. 240 mg (green, hard capsule, printed with 'BG-12 240 mg') x 56's.
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