Muscle: Skeletal muscle toxicity, including rare cases of rhabdomyolysis with or without renal failure, has been reported with administration of lipid-lowering substances like fibrates and statins. The risk of myopathy with statins and fibrates is known to be related to the dose of each component and to the nature of the fibrate.
Reduced function of transport proteins: Reduced function of hepatic OATP transport proteins can increase the systemic exposure of simvastatin and increase the risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. Reduced function can occur as the result of inhibition by interacting medicines (eg ciclosporin) or in patients who are carriers of the SLCO1B1 c.521T>C genotype.
Patients carrying the SLCO1B1 gene allele (c.521T>C) coding for a less active OATP1B1 protein have an increased systemic exposure of simvastatin and increased risk of myopathy. The risk of high dose (80 mg) simvastatin related myopathy is about 1% in general, without genetic testing. Based on the results of the SEARCH trial, homozygote C allele carriers (also called CC) treated with 80 mg have a 15% risk of myopathy within one year, while the risk in heterozygote C allele carriers (CT) is 1.5%. The corresponding risk is 0.3% in patients having the most common genotype (TT) (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions).
Immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM): There have been very rare reports of an immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM) during or after treatment with some statins. IMNM is clinically characterized by persistent proximal muscle weakness and elevated serum creatine kinase, which persist despite discontinuation of statin treatment.
Measures to reduce the risk of myopathy caused by medicinal product interactions: The risk of muscle toxicity may be increased if Cholib is administered with another fibrate, statin, niacin, fusidic acid or other specific concomitant substances (for specific interactions see Interactions). Physicians contemplating combined therapy with Cholib and lipid-modifying doses (≥ 1 g/day) of niacin (nicotinic acid) or medicinal products containing niacin should carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks and should carefully monitor patients for any signs and symptoms of muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly during the initial months of therapy and when the dose of either medicinal product is increased.
The risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis is significantly increased by concomitant use of simvastatin with potent inhibitors of CYP 3A4 (see Interactions).
Simvastatin is a substrate of the Breast Cancer Resistant Protein (BCRP) efflux transporter. Concomitant administration of products that are inhibitors of BCRP (e.g., elbasvir and grazoprevir) may lead to increased plasma concentrations of simvastatin and an increased risk of myopathy; therefore, a dose adjustment of simvastatin should be considered depending on the prescribed dose. Co-administration of elbasvir and grazoprevir with simvastatin has not been studied; however, the dose of simvastatin should not exceed 20 mg daily in patients receiving concomitant medication with products containing elbasvir or grazoprevir (see Interactions).
Cholib must not be co-administered with fusidic acid. There have been reports of rhabdomyolysis (including some fatalities) in patients receiving a statin in combination with fusidic acid (see Interactions). In patients where the use of systemic fusidic acid is considered essential, statin treatment should be discontinued throughout the duration of fusidic acid treatment. The patient should be advised to seek medical advice immediately if they experience any symptoms of muscle weakness, pain or tenderness.
Statin therapy may be re-introduced seven days after the last dose of fusidic acid. In exceptional circumstances, where prolonged systemic fusidic acid is needed e.g. for the treatment of severe infections, the need for co-administration of Cholib and fusidic acid should only be considered on a case by case basis and under close medical supervision.
Creatine kinase measurement: Creatine Kinase should not be measured following strenuous exercise or in the presence of any plausible alternative cause of Creatine Kinase increase as this makes value interpretation difficult. If Creatine Kinase levels are significantly elevated at baseline (> 5 x ULN), levels should be re-measured within 5 to 7 days later to confirm the results.
Before the treatment: All patients starting therapy should be advised of the risk of myopathy and told to report promptly any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness.
Caution should be exercised in patients with pre-disposing factors for rhabdomyolysis. In order to establish a reference baseline value, a Creatine Kinase level should be measured before starting a treatment in the following situations: Elderly ≥ 65 years; Female gender; Renal impairment; Uncontrolled hypothyroidism; Hypoalbuminaemia; Personal or familial history of hereditary muscular disorders; Previous history of muscular toxicity with a statin or a fibrate; Alcohol abuse.
In such situations, the risk of treatment should be considered in relation to possible benefit, and clinical monitoring is recommended.
In order to establish a reference baseline value, creatine phosphokinase levels should be measured and clinical monitoring is recommended.
If a patient has previously experienced a muscle disorder on a fibrate or a statin, treatment with a different member of the class should only be initiated with caution. If Creatine Kinase levels are significantly elevated at baseline (> 5 x ULN), treatment should not be started.
If myopathy is suspected for any other reason, treatment should be discontinued.
Therapy with Cholib should be temporarily stopped a few days prior to elective major surgery and when any major medical or surgical condition supervenes.
Hepatic disorders: Increases in transaminase levels have been reported in some patients treated with simvastatin or fenofibrate. In the majority of cases these elevations were transient, minor and asymptomatic without the need for treatment discontinuation.
Transaminase levels have to be monitored before treatment begins, every 3 months during the first 12 months of treatment and thereafter periodically. Attention should be paid to patients who develop increase in transaminase levels and therapy should be discontinued if aspartate aminotransferase (AST) or also known as serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or also known as serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) levels increase to more than 3 times the upper limit of the normal range.
When symptoms indicative of hepatitis occur (e.g. jaundice, pruritus) and diagnosis is confirmed by laboratory testing, Cholib therapy should be discontinued.
Cholib should be used with caution in patients who consume substantial quantities of alcohol.
Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis has been reported in patients taking fenofibrate (see Contraindications and Adverse Reactions). This occurrence may represent a failure of efficacy in patients with severe hypertriglyceridaemia, an induced pancreatic enzymes increase or a secondary phenomenon mediated through biliary tract stone or sludge formation with obstruction of the common bile duct.
Renal function: Cholib is contraindicated in moderate to severe renal impairment (see Contraindications).
Cholib should be used with caution in patients with mild renal insufficiency whose estimated glomerular filtration rate is 60 to 89 mL/min/1.73 m2 (see Dosage & Administration).
Reversible elevations in serum creatinine have been reported in patients receiving fenofibrate monotherapy or co-administered with statins. Elevations in serum creatinine were generally stable over time with no evidence for continued increases in serum creatinine with long term therapy and tended to return to baseline following discontinuation of treatment.
During clinical trials, 10% of patients had a creatinine increase from baseline greater than 30 µmol/L with co-administered fenofibrate and simvastatin versus 4.4% with statin monotherapy. 0.3% of patients receiving co-administration had clinically relevant increases in creatinine to values > 200 µmol/L.
Treatment should be interrupted when creatinine level is 50% above the upper limit of normal. It is recommended that creatinine is measured during the first 3 months after initiation of treatment and periodically thereafter.
Interstitial lung disease: Cases of interstitial lung disease have been reported with some statins and with fenofibrate, especially with long term therapy (see Adverse Reactions). Presenting features can include dyspnoea, non-productive cough and deterioration in general health (fatigue, weight loss and fever). If it is suspected a patient has developed interstitial lung disease, Cholib therapy should be discontinued.
Cognitive Impairment: There have been rare post-marketing reports of cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion) associated with statin use. These cognitive issues have been reported for all statins. The reports are generally non-serious, and reversible upon statin discontinuation, with variable times to symptom onset (1 day to years) and symptom resolution (median of 3 weeks).
Diabetes mellitus: Some evidence suggests that statins as a class raise blood glucose and in some patients, at high risk of future diabetes, may produce a level of hyperglycaemia where formal diabetes care is appropriate. This risk, however, is outweighed by the reduction in vascular risk with statins and therefore should not be a reason for stopping statin treatment. Patients at risk (fasting glucose 5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L, BMI>30 kg/m2, raised triglycerides, hypertension) should be monitored both clinically and biochemically according to national guidelines.
Veno-thromboembolic events: In the FIELD study, a statistically significant increase was reported in the incidence of pulmonary embolism (0.7% in the placebo group versus 1.1% in the fenofibrate group; p=0.022) and a statistically non-significant increase in deep vein thrombosis (placebo 1.0% 48/4900 patients) versus fenofibrate 1.4% (67/4895); p=0.074. The increased risk of venous thrombotic events may be related to the increased homocysteine level, a risk factor for thrombosis and other unidentified factors. The clinical significance of this is not clear. Therefore, caution should be exercised in patients with history of pulmonary embolism.
Excipients: As this medicinal product contains lactose, patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicinal product.
As this medicinal product contains sucrose, patients with rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency should not take this medicine.
This medicinal product contains sunset yellow FCF (E110) that may cause allergic reactions.
Effects on ability to drive and use machines: Fenofibrate has no or negligible influence on the ability to drive and use machines.
Dizziness has been reported rarely in post-marketing experience with simvastatin. This adverse reaction should be taken into account when driving vehicles or using machines under Cholib therapy.