Abraxane

Abraxane

paclitaxel

Manufacturer:

Celgene

Distributor:

DCH Auriga
Full Prescribing Info
Contents
Paclitaxel (as albumin bound nanoparticles).
Description
Each vial contains 100 mg of paclitaxel formulated as albumin bound nanoparticles.
After reconstitution, each ml of suspension contains 5 mg of paclitaxel formulated as albumin bound nanoparticles.
The reconstituted suspension has a pH of 6-7.5 and an osmolality of 300-360 mOsm/kg.
Excipients with known effect: Each ml of concentrate contains 0.183 mmol sodium, which is 4.2 mg of sodium.
Excipients/Inactive Ingredients: Human albumin solution (containing sodium, sodium caprylate and N-acetyl DL tryptophanate).
Action
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Antineoplastic agents, plant alkaloids and other natural products, taxanes. ATC Code: L01CD01.
Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics: Mechanism of action: Paclitaxel is an antimicrotubule agent that promotes the assembly of microtubules from tubulin dimers and stabilises microtubules by preventing depolymerisation. This stability results in the inhibition of the normal dynamic reorganisation of the microtubule network that is essential for vital interphase and mitotic cellular functions. In addition, paclitaxel induces abnormal arrays or "bundles" of microtubules throughout the cell cycle and multiple asters of microtubules during mitosis.
Abraxane contains human serum albumin-paclitaxel nanoparticles of approximately 130 nm in size, where the paclitaxel is present in a non-crystalline, amorphous state. Upon intravenous administration, the nanoparticles dissociate rapidly into soluble, albumin bound paclitaxel complexes of approximately 10 nm in size. Albumin is known to mediate endothelial caveolar transcytosis of plasma constituents, and in vitro studies demonstrated that the presence of albumin in Abraxane enhances transport of paclitaxel across endothelial cells. It is hypothesised that this enhanced transendothelial caveolar transport is mediated by the gp-60 albumin receptor, and that there is enhanced accumulation of paclitaxel in the area of tumour due to the albumin-binding protein Secreted Protein Acidic Rich in Cysteine (SPARC).
Clinical efficacy and safety: Breast cancer: Data from 106 patients accrued in two single-arm open-label studies and from 454 patients treated in a randomised Phase III comparative study are available to support the use of Abraxane in metastatic breast cancer. This information is presented below.
Single-arm open-label studies: In one study, Abraxane was administered as a 30-minute infusion at a dose of 175 mg/m2 to 43 patients with metastatic breast cancer. The second trial utilised a dose of 300 mg/m2 as a 30 minute infusion in 63 patients with metastatic breast cancer. Patients were treated without steroid pre-treatment or planned G-CSF support. Cycles were administered at 3 week intervals. The response rates in all patients were 39.5% (95% CI: 24.9%-54.2%) and 47.6% (95% CI: 35.3%-60.0%), respectively. The median time to disease progression was 5.3 months (175 mg/m2; 95% CI: 4.6-6.2 months) and 6.1 months (300 mg/m2; 95% CI: 4.2-9.8 months).
Randomised comparative study: This multi-centre trial was conducted in patients with metastatic breast cancer, who were treated every 3 weeks with single-agent paclitaxel, either as solvent-based paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 given as a 3-hour infusion with premedication to prevent hypersensitivity (N = 225), or as Abraxane 260 mg/m2 given as a 30 minute infusion without premedication (N = 229).
Sixty-four percent of patients had impaired performance status (ECOG 1 or 2) at study entry; 79% had visceral metastases; and 76% had > 3 sites of metastases. Fourteen percent of the patients had not received prior chemotherapy; 27% had received chemotherapy in the adjuvant setting only, 40% in the metastatic setting only, and 19% in both metastatic and adjuvant settings. Fifty-nine percent received study medicinal product as second or greater than second-line therapy. Seventy-seven percent of the patients had been previously exposed to anthracyclines.
Results for overall response rate and time to disease progression, and progression-free survival and survival for patients receiving > 1st-line therapy, are shown below. (See Table 1.)

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Two hundred and twenty nine patients treated with Abraxane in the randomized, controlled clinical trial were evaluated for safety. Neurotoxicity to paclitaxel was evaluated through improvement by one grade for patients experiencing Grade 3 peripheral neuropathy at any time during therapy. The natural course of peripheral neuropathy to resolution to baseline due to cumulative toxicity of Abraxane after >6 courses of treatment was not evaluated and remains unknown.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma: A multicenter, multinational, randomized, open-label study was conducted in 861 patients to compare Abraxane/gemcitabine versus gemcitabine monotherapy as first-line treatment in patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Abraxane was administered to patients (N = 431) as an intravenous infusion over 30-40 minutes at a dose of 125 mg/m2 followed by intravenous infusion over 30-40 minutes at a dose of 1000 mg/m2 given on Days 1, 8 and 15 of each 28-day cycle. In the comparator treatment arm, gemcitabine monotherapy was administered to patients (N = 430) in accordance with the recommended dose and regimen. Treatment was administered until disease progression or development of an unacceptable toxicity. Of the 431 patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma who were randomized to receive Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine, the majority (93%) were white, 4% were black and 2% were Asian. 16% had a Karnofsky Performance Status of 100; 42% had a KPS of 90; 35% had a KPS of 80; 7% had a KPS of 70; and <1% of patients had a KPS of below 70. Patients with high cardiovascular risk, history of peripheral artery disease and/or of connective tissue disorders and/or interstitial lung disease were excluded from the study.
Patients received a median treatment duration of 3.9 months in the Abraxane/gemcitabine arm and 2.8 months in the gemcitabine arm. 32% of patients in the Abraxane/gemcitabine arm compared with 15% of patients in the gemcitabine arm received 6 or more months of treatment. For the treated population, the median relative dose intensity for gemcitabine was 75% in the Abraxane/gemcitabine arm and 85% in the gemcitabine arm. The median relative dose intensity of Abraxane was 81%. A higher median cumulative dose of gemcitabine was delivered in the Abraxane/gemcitabine arm (11400 mg/m2) when compared with the gemcitabine arm (9000 mg/m2).
The primary efficacy endpoint was overall survival (OS). The key secondary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall response rate (ORR), both assessed by independent, central, blinded radiological review using RECIST guidelines (Version 1.0). (See Table 2.)

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There was a statistically significant improvement in OS for patients treated with Abraxane/gemcitabine versus gemcitabine alone, with 1.8 months increase in median OS, 28% overall reduction in risk of death, 59% improvement in 1-year survival, and 125% improvement in 2-year survival rates. (See Figure.)

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Treatment effects on OS favoured the Abraxane/gemcitabine arm across the majority of pre-specified subgroups (including gender, KPS, geographic region, primary location of pancreatic cancer, stage at diagnosis, presence of liver metastases, presence of peritoneal carcinomatosis, prior Whipple procedure, presence of biliary stent at baseline, presence of pulmonary metastases, and number of metastatic sites). For patients ≥ 75 years of age in the Abraxane/gemcitabine and gemcitabine arms the survival Hazard Ratio (HR) was 1.08 (95% CI 0.653, 1.797). For patients with normal baseline CA 19-9 levels the survival HR was 1.07 (95% CI 0.692, 1.661).
There was a statistically significant improvement in PFS for patients treated with Abraxane/gemcitabine versus gemcitabine alone, with 1.8 months increase in median PFS.
Pharmacokinetics: The pharmacokinetics of total paclitaxel following 30- and 180-minute infusions of Abraxane at dose levels of 80 to 375 mg/m2 were determined in clinical studies. The paclitaxel exposure (AUC) increased linearly from 2653 to 16736 ng.hr/ml following dosing from 80 to 300 mg/m2.
In a study in patients with advanced solid tumours, the pharmacokinetic characteristics of paclitaxel following Abraxane administered intravenously at 260 mg/m2 over 30 minutes were compared with those following 175 mg/m2 of the solvent-based paclitaxel injection administered over 3 hours. Based on non-compartmental PK analysis, the plasma clearance of paclitaxel with Abraxane was larger (43%) than that following a solvent-based paclitaxel injection and its volume of distribution was also higher (53%). There were no differences in terminal half-lives.
In a repeat dose study with 12 patients receiving Abraxane administered intravenously at the 260 mg/m2, intrapatient variability in AUC was 19% (range = 3.21%-27.70%). There was no evidence for accumulation of paclitaxel with multiple treatment courses.
Distribution: Following Abraxane administration to patients with solid tumours, paclitaxel is evenly distributed into blood cells and plasma and is highly bound to plasma proteins (94%).
The protein binding of paclitaxel following Abraxane was evaluated by ultrafiltration in a within-patient comparison study. The fraction of free paclitaxel was significantly higher with Abraxane (6.2%) than with solvent-based paclitaxel (2.3%). This resulted in significantly higher exposure to unbound paclitaxel with Abraxane compared with solvent-based paclitaxel, even though the total exposure is comparable. This is possibly due to paclitaxel not being trapped in Cremophor EL micelles as with solvent-based paclitaxel. Based on the published literature, in vitro studies of binding to human serum proteins, (using paclitaxel at concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 50 µg/ml), indicate that the presence of cimetidine, ranitidine, dexamethasone, or diphenhydramine did not affect protein binding of paclitaxel.
Based on population pharmacokinetic analysis, the total volume of distribution is approximately 1741 L; the large volume of distribution indicates extensive extravascular distribution and/or tissue binding of paclitaxel.
Biotransformation and elimination: Based on the published literature, in vitro studies with human liver microsomes and tissue slices show that paclitaxel is metabolised primarily to 6α-hydroxypaclitaxel; and to two minor metabolites, 3'-p-hydroxypaclitaxel and 6α-3'-p-dihydroxypaclitaxel. The formation of these hydroxylated metabolites is catalysed by CYP2C8, CYP3A4, and both CYP2C8 and CYP3A4 isoenzymes, respectively.
In patients with metastatic breast cancer, after a 30-minute infusion of Abraxane at 260 mg/m2, the mean value for cumulative urinary excretion of unchanged active substance accounted for 4% of the total administered dose with less than 1% as the metabolites 6α-hydroxypaclitaxel and 3'-p-hydroxypaclitaxel, indicating extensive non-renal clearance. Paclitaxel is principally eliminated by hepatic metabolism and biliary excretion.
At the clinical dose range of 80 to 300 mg/m2, the mean plasma clearance of paclitaxel ranges from 13 to 30 L/h/m2, and the mean terminal half-life ranges from 13 to 27 hours.
Hepatic impairment: The effect of hepatic impairment on population pharmacokinetics of Abraxane was studied in patients with advanced solid tumours. This analysis included patients with normal hepatic function (n=130), and pre-existing mild (n=8), moderate (n=7), or severe (n=5) hepatic impairment (according to NCI Organ Dysfunction Working Group criteria). The results show that mild hepatic impairment (total bilirubin >1 to ≤1.5 x ULN) has no clinically important effect on pharmacokinetics of paclitaxel. Patients with moderate (total bilirubin >1.5 to ≤3 x ULN) or severe (total bilirubin >3 to ≤5 x ULN) hepatic impairment have a 22% to 26% decrease in the maximum elimination rate of paclitaxel and approximately 20% increase in mean paclitaxel AUC compared with patients with normal hepatic function. Hepatic impairment has no effect on mean paclitaxel Cmax. In addition, elimination of paclitaxel shows an inverse correlation with total bilirubin and a positive correlation with serum albumin.
Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling indicates that there is no correlation between hepatic function (as indicated by the baseline albumin or total bilirubin level) and neutropenia after adjusting for Abraxane exposure.
Pharmacokinetic data are not available for patients with total bilirubin >5 x ULN or for patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas (see Dosage & Administration).
Renal impairment: Population pharmacokinetic analysis included patients with normal renal function (n=65), and pre-existing mild (n=61), moderate (n=23), or severe (n=l) renal impairment (according to draft FDA guidance criteria 2010). Mild to moderate renal impairment (creatinine clearance ≥30 to <90 ml/min) has no clinically important effect on the maximum elimination rate and systemic exposure (AUC and Cmax) of paclitaxel. Pharmacokinetic data are insufficient for patients with severe renal impairment and not available for patients with end stage kidney disease.
Older people: Population pharmacokinetic analysis for Abraxane included patients with ages ranging from 24 to 85 years old and shows that age does not significantly influence the maximum elimination rate and systemic exposure (AUC and Cmax) of paclitaxel.
Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modelling using data from 125 patients with advanced solid tumours indicates that patients ≥ 65 years of age may be more susceptible to development of neutropenia within the first treatment cycle, although the plasma paclitaxel exposure is not affected by age.
Other intrinsic factors: Population pharmacokinetic analyses for Abraxane indicate that gender, race (Asian vs. White), and type of solid tumours do not have a clinically important effect on systemic exposure (AUC and Cmax) of paclitaxel. Patients weighing 50 kg had paclitaxel AUC approximately 25% lower than those weighing 75 kg. The clinical relevance of this finding is uncertain.
Toxicology: Preclinical safety data: The carcinogenic potential of paclitaxel has not been studied. However, based on the published literature, paclitaxel is a potentially carcinogenic and genotoxic agent at clinical doses, based upon its pharmacodynamic mechanism of action. Paclitaxel has been shown to be clastogenic in vitro (chromosome aberrations in human lymphocytes) and in vivo (micronucleus test in mice). Paclitaxel has been shown to be genotoxic in vivo (micronucleus test in mice), but it did not induce mutagenicity in the Ames test or the Chinese hamster ovary/hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (CHO/HGPRT) gene mutation assay.
Paclitaxel at doses below the human therapeutic dose was associated with low fertility when administered prior and during mating in male and female rats and foetal toxicity in rats. Animal studies with Abraxane showed non-reversible, toxic effects on the male reproductive organs at clinically relevant exposure levels.
Paclitaxel and/or its metabolites were excreted into the milk of lactating rats. Following intravenous administration of radiolabelled paclitaxel to rats on days 9 to 10 postpartum, concentrations of radioactivity in milk were higher than in plasma and declined in parallel with the plasma concentrations.
Indications/Uses
Abraxane monotherapy is indicated for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer in adult patients who have failed first-line treatment for metastatic disease and for whom standard, anthracycline containing therapy is not indicated (see Precautions).
Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine is indicated for the first-line treatment of adult patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.
Dosage/Direction for Use
Abraxane should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified oncologist in units specialised in the administration of cytotoxic agents. It should not be substituted for or with other paclitaxel formulations.
Posology: Breast cancer: The recommended dose of Abraxane is 260 mg/m2 administered intravenously over 30 minutes every 3 weeks.
Dose adjustments during treatment of breast cancer: Patients who experience severe neutropenia (neutrophil count < 500 cells/mm3 for a week or longer) or severe sensory neuropathy during Abraxane therapy should have the dose reduced to 220 mg/m2 for subsequent courses. Following recurrence of severe neutropenia or severe sensory neuropathy, additional dose reduction should be made to 180 mg/m2. Abraxane should not be administered until neutrophil counts recover to > 1500 cells/mm3. For Grade 3 sensory neuropathy, withhold treatment until resolution to Grade 1 or 2, followed by a dose reduction for all subsequent courses.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma: The recommended dose of Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine is 125 mg/m2 administered intravenously over 30 minutes on Days 1, 8 and 15 of each 28-day cycle. The concurrent recommended dose of gemcitabine is 1000 mg/m2 administered intravenously over 30 minutes immediately after the completion of Abraxane administration on Days 1, 8 and 15 of each 28-day cycle.
Dose adjustments during treatment of pancreatic adenocarcinoma: See Tables 3, 4 and 5.

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Special populations: Patients with hepatic impairment: For patients with mild hepatic impairment (total bilirubin > 1 to ≤ 1.5 x ULN and aspartate aminotransferase [AST] ≤ 10 x ULN), no dose adjustments are required, regardless of indication. Treat with same doses as patients with normal hepatic function.
For metastatic breast cancer patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment (total bilirubin > 1.5 to ≤ 5 x ULN and AST ≤ 10 x ULN), a 20% reduction in dose is recommended. The reduced dose may be escalated to the dose for patients with normal hepatic function if the patient is tolerating the treatment for at least two cycles (see Precautions and Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions).
For patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas that have moderate to severe hepatic impairment, there are insufficient data to permit dosage recommendations (see Precautions and Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions).
For patients with total bilirubin > 5 x ULN or AST > 10 x ULN, there are insufficient data to permit dosage recommendations regardless of indication (see Precautions and Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions).
Patients with renal impairment: Adjustment of the starting Abraxane dose is not required for patients with mild to moderate renal impairment (estimated creatinine clearance ≥30 to <90 ml/min). There are insufficient data available to recommend dose modifications of Abraxane in patients with severe renal impairment or end stage renal disease (estimated creatinine clearance <30 ml/min) (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions).
Older people:
No additional dosage reductions, other than those for all patients, are recommended for patients 65 years and older.
Of the 229 patients in the randomized study who received Abraxane monotherapy for breast cancer, 13% were at least 65 years of age and < 2% were 75 years and older. No toxicities occurred notably more frequently among patients at least 65 years of age who received Abraxane. However, a subsequent analysis in 981 patients receiving Abraxane monotherapy for metastatic breast cancer, of which 15% were ≥ 65 years old and 2% were ≥ 75 years old, showed a higher incidence of epistaxis, diarrhoea, dehydration, fatigue and peripheral oedema in patients ≥ 65 years.
Of the 421 patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma in the randomized study who received Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine, 41% were 65 years and older and 10% were 75 years and older. In patients aged 75 years and older who received Abraxane and gemcitabine, there was a higher incidence of serious adverse reactions and adverse reactions that led to treatment discontinuation (see Precautions).
Patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma aged 75 years and older should be carefully assessed before treatment is considered (see Precautions).
Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modelling using data from 125 patients with advanced solid tumours indicates that patients ≥ 65 years of age may be more susceptible to development of neutropenia within the first treatment cycle.
Paediatric population: The safety and efficacy of Abraxane in children and adolescents aged 0-17 years has not been established. There is no relevant use of Abraxane in the paediatric population in the indication of metastatic breast cancer or pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Method of administration: Administer reconstituted Abraxane suspension intravenously using an infusion set incorporating a 15 µm filter. Following administration, it is recommended that the intravenous line be flushed with sodium chloride 9 mg/ml (0.9%) solution for injection to ensure administration of the complete dose.
For instructions on reconstitution of the medicinal product before administration, see Cautions for Usage.
Overdosage
There is no known antidote for paclitaxel overdose. In the event of an overdose, the patient should be closely monitored. Treatment should be directed at the major anticipated toxicities, which are bone marrow suppression, mucositis and peripheral neuropathy.
Contraindications
Hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients listed in Description.
Lactation (see Use in Pregnancy & Lactation).
Patients who have baseline neutrophil counts < 1500 cells/mm3.
Warnings
This medicine may cause severe danger, therefore it must be prescribed under control of physician only.
Special Precautions
Abraxane is an albumin-bound nanoparticle formulation of paclitaxel, which may have substantially different pharmacological properties compared to other formulations of paclitaxel (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics under Actions). It should not be substituted for or with other paclitaxel formulations.
Hypersensitivity: Rare occurrences of severe hypersensitivity reactions, including very rare events of anaphylactic reactions with fatal outcome, have been reported. If a hypersensitivity reaction occurs, the medicinal product should be discontinued immediately, symptomatic treatment should be initiated, and the patient should not be rechallenged with paclitaxel.
Haematology: Bone marrow suppression (primarily neutropenia) occurs frequently with Abraxane. Neutropenia is dose-dependent and a dose-limiting toxicity. Frequent monitoring of blood cell counts should be performed during Abraxane therapy. Patients with breast cancer or pancreatic adenocarcinoma should not be retreated with subsequent cycles of Abraxane until neutrophils recover to > 1500 cells/mm3 and platelets recover to > 100,000 cells/mm3 (see Dosage & Administration).
Neuropathy: Sensory neuropathy occurs frequently with Abraxane, although development of severe symptoms is less common. The occurrence of Grade 1 or 2 sensory neuropathy does not generally require dose reduction.
When Abraxane is used as monotherapy in breast cancer, if Grade 3 sensory neuropathy develops, treatment should be withheld until resolution to Grade 1 or 2 followed by a dose reduction for all subsequent courses of Abraxane is recommended (see Dosage & Administration).
For combination use of Abraxane and gemcitabine in pancreatic adenocarcinoma, if Grade 3 or higher peripheral neuropathy develops, withhold Abraxane; continue treatment with gemcitabine at the same dose. Resume Abraxane at reduced dose when peripheral neuropathy improves to Grade 0 or 1 (see Dosage & Administration).
Sepsis: Sepsis was reported at a rate of 5% in patients with or without neutropenia who received Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine. Complications due to the underlying pancreatic cancer, especially biliary obstruction or presence of biliary stent, were identified as significant contributing factors. If a patient becomes febrile (regardless of neutrophil count), initiate treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics. For febrile neutropenia, withhold Abraxane and gemcitabine until fever resolves and ANC ≥ 1500 cells/mm3, then resume treatment at reduced dose levels (see Dosage & Administration).
Pneumonitis: Pneumonitis occurred in 1% of patients when Abraxane was used as monotherapy and in 4% of patients when Abraxane was used in combination with gemcitabine. Closely monitor all patients for signs and symptoms of pneumonitis. After ruling out infectious etiology and upon making a diagnosis of pneumonitis, permanently discontinue treatment with Abraxane and gemcitabine and promptly initiate appropriate treatment and supportive measures (see Dosage & Administration).
Hepatic impairment: Because the toxicity of paclitaxel can be increased with hepatic impairment, administration of Abraxane in patients with hepatic impairment should be performed with caution. Patients with hepatic impairment may be at increased risk of toxicity, particularly from myelosuppression; such patients should be closely monitored for development of profound myelosuppression.
Abraxane is not recommended in patients that have total bilirubin > 5 x ULN or AST > 10 x ULN. In addition, Abraxane is not recommended in patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas that have moderate to severe hepatic impairment (total bilirubin > 1.5 x ULN and AST ≤ 10 x ULN) (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions).
Cardiotoxicity: Rare reports of congestive heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction have been observed among individuals receiving Abraxane. Most of the individuals were previously exposed to cardiotoxic medicinal products such as anthracyclines, or had underlying cardiac history. Thus patients receiving Abraxane should be vigilantly monitored by physicians for the occurrence of cardiac events.
CNS metastases: The effectiveness and safety of Abraxane in patients with central nervous system (CNS) metastases has not been established. CNS metastases are generally not well controlled by systemic chemotherapy.
Gastrointestinal symptoms: If patients experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea following the administration of Abraxane, they may be treated with commonly used anti-emetics and constipating agents.
Other: Although limited data is available, no clear benefit in terms of prolonged overall survival has been demonstrated in pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients with normal CA 19-9 levels prior to start of treatment with Abraxane and gemcitabine (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions). Erlotinib should not be coadministered with Abraxane plus gemcitabine (see Interactions).
Excipients: When reconstituted, each ml of Abraxane concentrate contains 0.183 mmol sodium, which is 4.2 mg of sodium. To be taken into consideration by patients on a controlled sodium diet.
Effects on ability to drive and use machines: Abraxane has minor or moderate influence on the ability to drive and use machines. Abraxane may cause adverse reactions such as tiredness (very common) and dizziness (common) that may affect the ability to drive and use machinery. Patients should be advised not to drive and use machines if they feel tired or dizzy.
Use in Elderly: For patients of 75 years and older, no benefit for the combination treatment of Abraxane and gemcitabine in comparison to gemcitabine monotherapy has been demonstrated. In the very elderly (≥75 years) who received Abraxane and gemcitabine, there was a higher incidence of serious adverse reactions and adverse reactions that led to treatment discontinuation including haematologic toxicities, peripheral neuropathy, decreased appetite and dehydration. Patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma aged 75 years and older should be carefully assessed for their ability to tolerate Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine with speciall consideration to performance status, co-morbidities and increased risk of infections (see Dosage & Administration and Adverse Reactions).
Use In Pregnancy & Lactation
Contraception in males and females: Women of childbearing potential should use effective contraception during treatment and up to 1 month after receiving treatment with Abraxane. Male patients treated with Abraxane are advised to use effective contraception and to avoid fathering a child during and up to six months after treatment.
Pregnancy: There are very limited data on the use of paclitaxel in human pregnancy. Paclitaxel is suspected to cause serious birth defects when administered during pregnancy. Studies in animals have shown reproductive toxicity (see Pharmacology: Toxicology under Actions). Women of childbearing potential should have a pregnancy test prior to starting treatment with Abraxane. Abraxane should not be used in pregnancy, and in women of childbpotential not using effective contraception, unless the clinical condition of the mother requires treatment with paclitaxel.
Breast-feeding: Paclitaxel and/or its metabolites w ere excreted into the milk of lactating rats (see Pharmacology: Toxicology: Preclinical safety data under Actions). It is not known if paclitaxel is excreted in human milk. Because of potential serious adverse reactions in breast-feeding infants, Abraxane is contraindicated during lactation. Breast-feeding must be discontinued for the duration of therapy.
Fertility: Abraxane induced infertility in male rats (see Pharmacology: Toxicology: Preclinical safety data under Actions). Based on findings in animals, male and female fertility may be compromised. Male patients should seek advice on conservation of sperm prior to treatment because of the possibility of irreversible infertility due to therapy with Abraxane.
Adverse Reactions
Summary of the safety profile: The most common clinically significant adverse reactions associated with the use of Abraxane have been neutropenia, peripheral neuropathy, arthralgia/myalgia and gastrointestinal disorders.
The frequencies of adverse reactions associated with the administration of Abraxane are listed in Table 6 (Abraxane as monotherapy) and Table 7 (Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine).
Frequencies are defined as: very common (≥1/10), common (≥1/100 to <1/10), uncommon (≥1/1000 to <1/100), rare (≥1/10,000 to <1/1000), very rare (<1/10,000). Within each frequency grouping, adverse reactions are presented in order of decreasing seriousness.
Breast cancer (Abraxane administered as monotherapy): Tabulated list of adverse reactions: Table 6 lists adverse reactions associated with the administration of Abraxane to patients from studies in which Abraxane has been administered as monotherapy at any dose in any indication (N = 789). (See Table 6.)

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Description of selected adverse reactions: The following are the most common and clinically relevant adverse reactions related to 229 patients with metastatic breast cancer who were treated with 260 mg/m2 Abraxane once every three weeks in the pivotal phase III clinical study.
Blood and lymphatic system disorders: Neutropenia was the most notable important haematological toxicity (reported in 79% of patients), and was rapidly reversible and dose dependent; leukopenia was reported in 71% of patients. Grade 4 neutropenia (< 500 cells/mm3) occurred in 9% of patients treated with Abraxane. Febrile neutropenia occurred in four patients on Abraxane. Anaemia (Hb < 10 g/dl) was observed in 46% of patients on Abraxane, and was severe (Hb < 8 g/dl) in three cases. Lymphopenia was observed in 45% of the patients.
Nervous system disorders: In general, the frequency and severity of neurotoxicity was dose-dependent in patients receiving Abraxane. Peripheral neuropathy (mostly Grade 1 or 2 sensory neuropathy) was observed in 68% of patients on Abraxane with 10% being Grade 3, and no cases of Grade 4.
Gastrointestinal disorders: Nausea occurred in 29% of the patients and diarrhoea in 25% of the patients.
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: Alopecia was observed in >80% of the patients treated with Abraxane. The majority of alopecia events occurred less than one month after initiation of Abraxane. Pronounced hair loss ≥50% is expected for the majority of patients who experience alopecia.
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: Arthralgia occurred in 32% of patients on Abraxane and was severe in 6% of cases. Myalgia occurred in 24% of patients on Abraxane and was severe in 7% of cases. The symptoms were usually transient, typically occurred three days after Abraxane administration and resolved within a week.
General disorders and administration site conditions: Asthenia/Fatigue was reported in 40% of the patients.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma (Abraxane administered in combination with gemcitabine): Tabulated list of adverse reactions: Adverse reactions were assessed in 421 patients treated with Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine and 402 gemcitabine monotherapy-treated patients receiving first-line systemic treatment for metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas in a phase III randomized, controlled, open-label trial. Table 7 lists adverse reactions assessed in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma treated with Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine. (See Table 7.)

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In this phase III randomized, controlled, open-label trial, adverse reactions resulting in death within 30 days of the last dose of study drug were reported for 4% of patients receiving Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine and for 4% of patients receiving gemcitabine monotherapy.
Description of selected adverse reactions: The following are the most common and important incidences of adverse reactions related to 421 patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas who were treated with 125 mg/m2 Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine at a dose of 1000 mg/m2 given on Days 1, 8 and 15 of each 28-day cycle in the phase III clinical study.
Blood and lymphatic system disorders: Table 8 provides the frequency and severity of haematologic laboratory-detected abnormalities for patients treated with Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine or with gemcitabine. (See Table 8.)

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Peripheral neuropathy: For patients treated with Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine, the median time to first occurrence of Grade 3 peripheral neuropathy was 140 days. The median time to improvement by at least 1 Grade was 21 days, and the median time to improvement from Grade 3 peripheral neuropathy to Grade 0 or 1 was 29 days. Of the patients with treatment interrupted due to peripheral neuropathy, 44% (31/70 patients) were able to resume Abraxane at a reduced dose. No patients treated with Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine had Grade 4 peripheral neuropathy.
Sepsis: Sepsis was reported at a rate of 5% in patients with or without neutropenia who received Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine during the conduct of a trial in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Complications due to the underlying pancreatic cancer, especially biliary obstruction or presence of biliary stent, were identified as significant contributing factors. If a patient becomes febrile (regardless of neutrophil count), initiate treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics. For febrile neutropenia, withhold Abraxane and gemcitabine until fever resolves and ANC ≥ 1500 cells/mm3, then resume treatment at reduced dose levels (see Dosage & Administration).
Pneumonitis: Pneumonitis has been reported at a rate of 4% with the use of Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine. Of the 17 cases of pneumonitis reported in patients treated with Abraxane in combination with gemcitabine, 2 had a fatal outcome. Monitor patients closely for signs and symptoms of pneumonitis. After ruling out infectious etiology and upon making a diagnosis of pneumonitis, permanently discontinue treatment with Abraxane and gemcitabine and promptly initiate appropriate treatment and supportive measures (see Dosage & Administration).
Post-marketing experience: Cranial nerve palsies, vocal cord paresis, and rare reports of severe hypersensitivity reactions have been reported during post-marketing surveillance of Abraxane.
There have been rare reports of reduced visual acuity due to cystoid macular oedema during treatment with Abraxane. Upon diagnosis of cystoid macular oedema, treatment with Abraxane should be discontinued.
There have been reports of tumour lysis syndrome during treatment with Abraxane.
In some patients previously exposed to capecitabine, reports of palmar-plantar erythrodysaesthesiae have been reported as part of the continuing surveillance of Abraxane. Because these events have been reported voluntarily during clinical practice, true estimates of frequency cannot be made and a causal relationship to the events has not been established.
Drug Interactions
The metabolism of paclitaxel is catalysed, in part, by cytochrome P450 isoenzymes CYP2C8 and CYP3A4 (see Pharmacology: Pharmacokinetics under Actions). Therefore, in the absence of a PK drug-drug interaction study, caution should be exercised when administering paclitaxel concomitantly with medicines known to inhibit either CYP2C8 or CYP3A4 (e.g. ketoconazole and other imidazole antifungals, erythromycin, fluoxetine, gemfibrozil, clopidogrel, cimetidine, ritonavir, saquinavir, indinavir, and nelfinavir) because toxicity of paclitaxel may be increased due to higher paclitaxel exposure. Administering paclitaxel concomitantly with medicines known to induce either CYP2C8 or CYP3A4 (e.g. rifampicin, carbamazepine, phenytoin, efavirenz, nevirapine) is not recommended because efficacy may be compromised because of lower paclitaxel exposures.
Paclitaxel and gemcitabine do not share a common metabolic pathway. Paclitaxel clearance is primarily determined by CYP2C8 and CYP3A4 mediated metabolism followed by biliary excretion, while gemcitabine is inactivated by cytidine deaminase followed by urinary excretion. Pharmacokinetic interactions between Abraxane and gemcitabine have not been evaluated in humans.
Abraxane is indicated as mono-therapy for breast cancer and in combination with gemcitabine for pancreatic adenocarcinoma, (see Indications). Abraxane should not be used in combination with other anticancer agents.
Caution For Usage
Incompatibilities: This medicinal product must not be mixed with other medicinal products except those mentioned in Description.
Special precautions for disposal and other handling: Preparation and administration precautions: Paclitaxel is a cytotoxic anticancer medicinal product and, as with other potentially toxic compounds, caution should be exercised in handling Abraxane. The use of gloves, goggles and protective clothing is recommended. If the suspension contacts the skin, the skin should be washed immediately and thoroughly with soap and water. If it contacts mucous membranes, the membranes should be flushed thoroughly with water. Abraxane should only be prepared and administered by personnel appropriately trained in the handling of cytotoxic agents. Pregnant staff should not handle Abraxane.
Given the possibility of extravasation, it is advisable to closely monitor the infusion site for possible infiltration during administration of the medicinal product. Limiting the infusion of Abraxane to 30 minutes, as directed, reduces the likelihood of infusion-related reactions.
Reconstitution and administration of the product: Abraxane is supplied as a sterile lyophilised powder for reconstitution before use. After reconstitution, each ml of suspension contains 5 mg of paclitaxel formulated as albumin bound nanoparticles.
Using a sterile syringe, 20 ml of sodium chloride 9 mg/ml (0.9%) solution for infusion should slowly be injected into a vial of Abraxane over a minimum of 1 minute. The solution should be directed onto the inside wall of the vial. The solution should not be injected directly onto the powder as this will result in foaming.
Once the addition is complete, the vial should be allowed to stand for a minimum of 5 minutes to ensure proper wetting of the solid. Then, the vial should gently and slowly be swirled and/or inverted for at least 2 minutes until complete resuspension of any powder occurs. The generation of foam must be avoided. If foaming or clumping occurs, the solution must stand for at least 15 minutes until foam subsides.
The reconstituted suspension should be milky and homogenous without visible precipitates. Some settling of the reconstituted suspension may occur. If precipitates or settling are visible, the vial should be gently inverted again to ensure complete resuspension prior to use.
Inspect the suspension in the vial for particulate matter. Do not administer the reconstituted suspension if particulate matter is observed in the vial.
The exact total dosing volume of 5 mg/ml suspension required for the patient should be calculated and the appropriate amount of reconstituted Abraxane should be injected into an empty, sterile, PVC or non-PVC type intravenous bag.
The use of medical devices containing silicone oil as a lubricant (i.e. syringes and IV bags) to reconstitute and administer Abraxane may result in the formation of proteinaceous strands. Administer Abraxane using an infusion set incorporating a 15 µm filter to avoid administration of these strands. Use of a 15 µm filter removes strands and does not change the physical or chemical properties of the reconstituted product.
Use of filters with a pore size less than 15 µm may result in blockage of the filter.
The use of specialized di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP)-free solution containers or administration sets is not necessary to prepare or administer Abraxane infusions.
Following administration, it is recommended that the intravenous line be flushed with sodium chloride 9 mg/ml (0.9%) solution for injection to ensure administration of the complete dose.
Any unused product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance with local requirements.
Storage
Special precautions for storage: Unopened vials: Store the medicinal product in its original package at below 30°C.
Keep the vial in the outer carton in order to protect from light. Neither freezing nor refrigeration adversely affects the stability of the product.
Stability of reconstituted suspension in the vial: After first reconstitution, the suspension should be filled into an infusion bag immediately. However, chemical and physical in use stability has been demonstrated for 8 hours at 2°C-8°C in the original carton, and protected from bright light. Alternative light-protection may be used in the clean room.
Stability of the reconstituted suspension in the infusion bag: After reconstitution, the reconstituted suspension in the infusion bag should be used immediately. However chemical and physical in use stability has been demonstrated for 8 hours not above 25°C.
ATC Classification
L01CD01 - paclitaxel ; Belongs to the class of plant alkaloids and other natural products, taxanes. Used in the treatment of cancer.
Presentation/Packing
Powd for infusion (vial) 100 mg (white to yellow powder) x 1's.
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