Suicidality in Children and Adolescents-
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in short-term studies in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of fluoxetine or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Eli Lilly’s fluoxetine is approved for use in pediatric patients with MDD and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) (see WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS, Pediatric Use).
Pooled analyses of short-term (4 to 16 weeks) placebo-controlled trials of 9 antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders (a total of 24 trials involving over 4400 patients) have revealed a greater risk of adverse events representing suicidal thinking or behavior (suicidality) during the first few months of treatment in those receiving antidepressants. The average risk of such events in patients receiving antidepressants was 4%, twice the placebo risk of 2%. No suicides occurred in these trials.
Fluoxetine hydrochloride is a psychotropic drug for oral administration. It is also marketed for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (Sarafem®, fluoxetine hydrochloride). It is designated (±)-N-methyl-3-phenyl- 3-[(α,α,α-trifluoro-p-tolyl)oxy]propylamine hydrochloride and has the molecular formula of C17H18F3NO●HCl. Its molecular weight is 345.79. The structural formula is:
Fluoxetine hydrochloride is a white to off-white crystalline solid with a solubility of 14 mg/mL in water.
Each tablet contains fluoxetine hydrochloride equivalent to 10 mg (32.3 µmol) or 20 mg (64.7 µmol) of fluoxetine. In addition, each tablet also contains the following inactive ingredients: crospovidone, hypromellose, magnesium stearate, maize (corn) starch, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, silica colloidal anhydrous, and titanium dioxide.
The antidepressant, antiobsessive-compulsive, and antibulimic actions of fluoxetine are presumed to be linked to its inhibition of CNS neuronal uptake of serotonin. Studies at clinically relevant doses in man have demonstrated that fluoxetine blocks the uptake of serotonin into human platelets. Studies in animals also suggest that fluoxetine is a much more potent uptake inhibitor of serotonin than of norepinephrine.
Antagonism of muscarinic, histaminergic, and α1-adrenergic receptors has been hypothesized to be associated with various anticholinergic, sedative, and cardiovascular effects of classical tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) drugs. Fluoxetine binds to these and other membrane receptors from brain tissue much less potently in vitro than do the tricyclic drugs.
The complexity of the metabolism of fluoxetine has several consequences that may potentially affect fluoxetine’s clinical use.
The effectiveness of fluoxetine for the treatment of bulimia was demonstrated in two 8-week and one 16-week, multicenter, parallel group studies of adult outpatients meeting DSM-III-R criteria for bulimia. Patients in the 8-week studies received either 20 or 60 mg/day of fluoxetine or placebo in the morning. Patients in the 16-week study received a fixed fluoxetine dose of 60 mg/day (once a day) or placebo. Patients in these three studies had moderate to severe bulimia with median binge-eating and vomiting frequencies ranging from 7 to 10 per week and 5 to 9 per week, respectively. In these three studies, fluoxetine 60 mg, but not 20 mg, was statistically significantly superior to placebo in reducing the number of binge-eating and vomiting episodes per week. The statistically significantly superior effect of 60 mg versus placebo was present as early as Week 1 and persisted throughout each study. The fluoxetine-related reduction in bulimic episodes appeared to be independent of baseline depression as assessed by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. In each of these three studies, the treatment effect, as measured by differences between fluoxetine 60 mg and placebo on median reduction from baseline in frequency of bulimic behaviors at endpoint, ranged from one to two episodes per week for binge-eating and two to four episodes per week for vomiting. The size of the effect was related to baseline frequency, with greater reductions seen in patients with higher baseline frequencies. Although some patients achieved freedom from binge-eating and purging as a result of treatment, for the majority, the benefit was a partial reduction in the frequency of binge-eating and purging.
In a longer-term trial, 150 patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for bulimia nervosa, purging subtype, who had responded during a single-blind, 8-week acute treatment phase with fluoxetine 60 mg/day, were randomized to continuation of fluoxetine 60 mg/day or placebo, for up to 52 weeks of observation for relapse. Response during the single-blind phase was defined by having achieved at least a 50% decrease in vomiting frequency compared with baseline. Relapse during the double-blind phase was defined as a persistent return to baseline vomiting frequency or physician judgment that the patient had relapsed. Patients receiving continued fluoxetine 60 mg/day experienced a significantly longer time to relapse over the subsequent 52 weeks compared with those receiving placebo.
Fluoxetine is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder.
Fluoxetine is indicated for the treatment of binge-eating and vomiting behaviors in patients with moderate to severe bulimia nervosa.
The efficacy of fluoxetine was established in 8- to 16-week trials for adult outpatients with moderate to severe bulimia nervosa, i.e., at least three bulimic episodes per week for 6 months (see CLINICAL TRIALS).
The efficacy of fluoxetine 60 mg/day in maintaining a response, in patients with bulimia who responded during an 8-week acute treatment phase while taking fluoxetine 60 mg/day and were then observed for relapse during a period of up to 52 weeks, was demonstrated in a placebo-controlled trial (see CLINICAL TRIALS). Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use fluoxetine for extended periods should periodically reevaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
Fluoxetine hydrochloride is contraindicated in patients known to be hypersensitive to it.
There have been reports of serious, sometimes fatal, reactions (including hyperthermia, rigidity, myoclonus, autonomic instability with possible rapid fluctuations of vital signs, and mental status changes that include extreme agitation progressing to delirium and coma) in patients receiving fluoxetine in combination with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), and in patients who have recently discontinued fluoxetine and are then started on an MAOI. Some cases presented with features resembling neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Therefore, fluoxetine should not be used in combination with an MAOI, or within a minimum of 14 days of discontinuing therapy with an MAOI. Since fluoxetine and its major metabolite have very long elimination half-lives, at least 5 weeks (perhaps longer, especially if fluoxetine has been prescribed chronically and/or at higher doses [see Accumulation and slow elimination under CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]) should be allowed after stopping fluoxetine before starting an MAOI.
Thioridazine should not be administered with fluoxetine or within a minimum of 5 weeks after fluoxetine has been discontinued (see WARNINGS).
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. There has been a long-standing concern that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients. Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in short-term studies in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.
Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of 9 antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) in children and adolescents with MDD, OCD, or other psychiatric disorders (a total of 24 trials involving over 4400 patients) have revealed a greater risk of adverse events representing suicidal behavior or thinking (suicidality) during the first few months of treatment in those receiving antidepressants. The average risk of such events in patients receiving antidepressants was 4%, twice the placebo risk of 2%. There was considerable variation in risk among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase for almost all drugs studied .The risk of suicidality was most consistently observed in the MDD trials, but there were signals of risk arising from some trials in other psychiatric indications (obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder) as well. No suicides occurred in any of these trials. It is unknown whether the suicidality risk in pediatric patients extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. It is also unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to adults.
Information related to the efficacy of fluoxetine in the treatment of children and adolescents is approved for Eli Lilly and Company’s fluoxetine hydrochloride drug products. However, due to Eli Lilly’s marketing exclusivity rights, this drug product is not labeled for pediatric use. However, all pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases. Such observation would generally include at least weekly face-to-face contact with patients or their family members or caregivers during the first 4 weeks of treatment, then every other week visits for the next 4 weeks, then at 12 weeks, and as clinically indicated beyond 12 weeks. Additional contact by telephone may be appropriate between face-to-face visits.
Adults with MDD or co-morbid depression in the setting of other psychiatric illness being treated with antidepressants should be observed similarly for clinical worsening and suicidality, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.
The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.
Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.
If the decision has been made to discontinue treatment, medication should be tapered, as rapidly as is feasible, but with recognition that abrupt discontinuation can be associated with certain symptoms (see PRECAUTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Discontinuation of treatment with Fluoxetine, for a description of the risks of discontinuation of fluoxetine).
Families and caregivers of pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for fluoxetine hydrochloride should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose. Families and caregivers of adults being treated for depression should be similarly advised.
It should be noted that Eli Lilly and Company’s fluoxetine is approved in the pediatric population only for major depressive disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.
Prescribers or other health professionals should inform patients, their families, and their caregivers about the benefits and risks associated with treatment with Fluoxetine Hydrochloride Tablets and should counsel them in its appropriate use. A patient Medication Guide About Using Antidepressants in Children and Teenagers is available for fluoxetine hydrochloride. The prescriber or health professional should instruct patients, their families, and their caregivers to read the Medication Guide and should assist them in understanding its spans. Patients should be given the opportunity to discuss the spans of the Medication Guide and to obtain answers to any questions they may have. The complete div of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.
Patients should be advised of the following issues and asked to alert their prescriber if these occur while taking Fluoxetine Hydrochloride Tablets.
There are no specific laboratory tests recommended.
As with all drugs, the potential for interaction by a variety of mechanisms (e.g., pharmacodynamic, pharmacokinetic drug inhibition or enhancement, etc.) is a possibility (see Accumulation and slow elimination under CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
There is no evidence of carcinogenicity or mutagenicity from in vitro or animal studies. Impairment of fertility in adult animals at doses up to 12.5mg/kg/day (approximately 1.5 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis) was not observed.
The effect of fluoxetine on labor and delivery in humans is unknown. However, because fluoxetine crosses the placenta and because of the possibility that fluoxetine may have adverse effects on the newborn, fluoxetine should be used during labor and delivery only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Because fluoxetine is excreted in human milk, nursing while on fluoxetine is not recommended. In one breast-milk sample, the concentration of fluoxetine plus norfluoxetine was 70.4 ng/mL. The concentration in the mother’s plasma was 295.0 ng/mL. No adverse effects on the infant were reported. In another case, an infant nursed by a mother on fluoxetine developed crying, sleep disturbance, vomiting, and watery stools. The infant’s plasma drug levels were 340 ng/mL of fluoxetine and 208 ng/mL of norfluoxetine on the second day of feeding.
Clinical study information related to safety and efficacy of fluoxetine in the treatment of major depressive disorder and OCD in children and adolescents is approved for Eli Lilly and Company’s fluoxetine hydrochloride drug products. However, due to Eli Lilly’s marketing exclusivity rights, this drug product is not labeled for pediatric use.
The safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients <8 years of age in major depressive disorder and <7 years of age in OCD have not been established.
Manic reaction, including mania and hypomania, was reported in 6 (1 mania, 5 hypomania) out of 228 (2.6%) fluoxetine-treated patients and in 0 out of 190 (0%) placebo-treated patients. Mania/hypomania led to the discontinuation of 4 (1.8%) fluoxetine-treated patients from the acute phases of the three studies combined. Consequently, regular monitoring for the occurrence of mania/hypomania is recommended.
As with other SSRIs, decreased weight gain has been observed in association with the use of fluoxetine in children and adolescent patients. After 19 weeks of treatment in a clinical trial, pediatric subjects treated with fluoxetine gained an average of 1.1 cm less in height (p=0.004) and 1.1 kg less in weight (p=0.008) than subjects treated with placebo. In addition, fluoxetine treatment was associated with a decrease in alkaline phosphatase levels. The safety of fluoxetine treatment for pediatric patients has not been systematically assessed for chronic treatment longer than several months in duration. In particular, there are no studies that directly evaluate the longer-term effects of fluoxetine on the growth, development, and maturation of children and adolescent patients. Therefore, height and weight should be monitored periodically in pediatric patients receiving fluoxetine. (See WARNINGS, Clinical worsening and suicide risk and
Anyone considering the use of fluoxetine in a child or adolescent must balance the potential risks with the clinical need.
U.S. fluoxetine clinical trials as of May 8, 1995 (10,782 patients) included 687 patients ≥65 years of age and 93 patients ≥75 years of age. The efficacy in geriatric patients has been established (see CLINICAL TRIALS). For pharmacokinetic information in geriatric patients see Ageunder CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. As with other SSRIs, fluoxetine has been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients (see Hyponatremiaunder PRECAUTIONS).
Multiple doses of fluoxetine had been administered to 10,782 patients with various diagnoses in U.S. clinical trials as of May 8, 1995. Adverse events were recorded by clinical investigators using descriptive terminology of their own choosing. Consequently, it is not possible to provide a meaningful estimate of the proportion of individuals experiencing adverse events without first grouping similar types of events into a limited (i.e., reduced) number of standardized event categories.
In the tables and tabulations that follow, COSTART Dictionary terminology has been used to classify reported adverse events. The stated frequencies represent the proportion of individuals who experienced, at least once, a treatment emergent adverse event of the type uled. An event was considered treatment-emergent if it occurred for the first time or worsened while receiving therapy following baseline evaluation. It is important to emphasize that events reported during therapy were not necessarily caused by it.
The prescriber should be aware that the figures in the tables and tabulations cannot be used to predict the incidence of side effects in the course of usual medical practice where patient characteristics and other factors differ from those that prevailed in the clinical trials. Similarly, the cited frequencies cannot be compared with figures obtained from other clinical investigations involving different treatments, uses, and investigators. The cited figures, however, do provide the prescribing physician with some basis for estimating the relative contribution of drug and nondrug factors to the side effect incidence rate in the population studied.
Table 1 enumerates the most common treatment-emergent adverse events associated with the use of fluoxetine (incidence of at least 5% for fluoxetine and at least twice that for placebo within at least one of the indications) for the treatment of major depressive disorder, OCD, and bulimia in U.S. controlled clinical trials.
Most Common Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events:
Incidence in Major Depressive Disorder, OCD, and Bulimia
Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials1
|Percentage of Patients Reporting Event|
|Body as a Whole|
|Skin and Appendages|
1 Includes U.S. data for major depressive disorder, OCD and bulimia clinical trials.
2 Denominator used was for males only (N=690 fluoxetine major depressive disorder; N=410 placebo major depressive disorder; N=116 fluoxetine OCD; N=43 placebo OCD; N=14 fluoxetine bulimia; N=1 placebo bulimia).
— Incidence less than 1%.
Table 2 uls the adverse events associated with discontinuation of fluoxetine treatment (incidence at least twice that for placebo and at least 1% for fluoxetine in clinical trials collecting only a primary event associated with discontinuation) in major depressive disorder, OCD, and bulimia clinical trials.
Most Common Adverse Events Associated with Discontinuation in Major
Depressive Disorder, OCD, and Bulimia Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials1
1 Includes U.S. major depressive disorder, OCD and bulimia trials.
Treatment-emergent adverse events were collected in 322 pediatric patients (180 fluoxetine-treated, 142 placebo-treated). The overall profile of adverse events was generally similar to that seen in adult studies, as shown in Tables 1 and 2. However, the following adverse events (excluding those which appear in the body or footnotes of Tables 1 and 2 and those for which the COSTART terms were uninformative or misleading) were reported at an incidence of at least 2% for fluoxetine and greater than placebo: thirst, hyperkinesia, agitation, personality disorder, epistaxis, urinary frequency, and menorrhagia.
The most common adverse event (incidence at least 1% for fluoxetine and greater than placebo) associated with discontinuation in three pediatric placebo-controlled trials (N=418 randomized; 228 fluoxetine-treated; 190 placebo-treated) was mania/hypomania (1.8% for fluoxetine-treated, 0% for placebo-treated). In these clinical trials, only a primary event associated with discontinuation was collected.
Although changes in sexual desire, sexual performance, and sexual satisfaction often occur as manifestations of a psychiatric disorder, they may also be a consequence of pharmacologic treatment. In particular, some evidence suggests that SSRIs can cause such untoward sexual experiences. Reliable estimates of the incidence and severity of untoward experiences involving sexual desire, performance, and satisfaction are difficult to obtain, however, in part because patients and physicians may be reluctant to discuss them. Accordingly, estimates of the incidence of untoward sexual experience and performance, cited in product labeling, are likely to underestimate their actual incidence. In patients enrolled in U.S. major depressive disorder, OCD and bulimia placebo-controlled clinical trials, decreased libido was the only sexual side effect reported by at least 2% of patients taking fluoxetine (4% fluoxetine, <1% placebo). There have been spontaneous reports in women taking fluoxetine of orgasmic dysfunction, including anorgasmia.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies examining sexual dysfunction with fluoxetine treatment.
Priapism has been reported with all SSRIs.
While it is difficult to know the precise risk of sexual dysfunction associated with the use of SSRIs, physicians should routinely inquire about such possible side effects.
Following is a ul of all treatment-emergent adverse events reported at anytime by individuals taking fluoxetine in U.S. clinical trials as of May 8, 1995 (10,782 patients) except (1) those uled in the body or footnotes of Tables 1 and 2 above or elsewhere in labeling; (2) those for which the COSTART terms were uninformative or misleading; (3) those events for which a causal relationship to fluoxetine use was considered remote; and (4) events occurring in only one patient treated with fluoxetine and which did not have a substantial probability of being acutely life-threatening.
Events are classified within body system categories using the following definitions: frequent adverse events are defined as those occurring on one or more occasions in at least 1/100 patients; infrequent adverse events are those occurring in 1/100 to 1/1,000 patients; rare events are those occurring in less than 1/1,000 patients.
Voluntary reports of adverse events temporally associated with fluoxetine that have been received since market introduction and that may have no causal relationship with the drug include the following: aplastic anemia, atrial fibrillation, cataract, cerebral vascular accident, cholestatic jaundice, confusion, dyskinesia (including, for example, a case of buccal-lingual-masticatory syndrome with involuntary tongue protrusion reported to develop in a 77-year-old female after 5 weeks of fluoxetine therapy and which completely resolved over the next few months following drug discontinuation), eosinophilic pneumonia, epidermal necrolysis, erythema nodosum, exfoliative dermatitis, gynecomastia, heart arrest, hepatic failure/necrosis, hyperprolactinemia, hypoglycemia, immune-related hemolytic anemia, kidney failure, misuse/abuse, movement disorders developing in patients with risk factors including drugs associated with such events and worsening of preexisting movement disorders, neuroleptic malignant syndrome-like events, optic neuritis, pancreatitis, pancytopenia, priapism, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary hypertension, QT prolongation, serotonin syndrome (a range of signs and symptoms that can rarely, in its most severe form, resemble neuroleptic malignant syndrome), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, sudden unexpected death, suicidal ideation, thrombocytopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura, vaginal bleeding after drug withdrawal, ventricular tachycardia (including torsades de pointes-type arrhythmias), and violent behaviors.
Fluoxetine is not a controlled substance.
Fluoxetine has not been systematically studied, in animals or humans, for its potential for abuse, tolerance, or physical dependence. While the premarketing clinical experience with fluoxetine did not reveal any tendency for a withdrawal syndrome or any drug seeking behavior, these observations were not systematic and it is not possible to predict on the basis of this limited experience the extent to which a CNS active drug will be misused, diverted, and/or abused once marketed. Consequently, physicians should carefully evaluate patients for history of drug abuse and follow such patients closely, observing them for signs of misuse or abuse of fluoxetine (e.g., development of tolerance, incrementation of dose, drug-seeking behavior).
Worldwide exposure to fluoxetine hydrochloride is estimated to be over 38 million patients (circa 1999). Of the 1578 cases of overdose involving fluoxetine hydrochloride, alone or with other drugs, reported from this population, there were 195 deaths.
Among 633 adult patients who overdosed on fluoxetine hydrochloride alone, 34 resulted in a fatal outcome, 378 completely recovered, and 15 patients experienced sequelae after overdosage, including abnormal accommodation, abnormal gait, confusion, unresponsiveness, nervousness, pulmonary dysfunction, vertigo, tremor, elevated blood pressure, impotence, movement disorder, and hypomania. The remaining 206 patients had an unknown outcome. The most common signs and symptoms associated with non-fatal overdosage were seizures, somnolence, nausea, tachycardia, and vomiting. The largest known ingestion of fluoxetine hydrochloride in adult patients was 8 grams in a patient who took fluoxetine alone and who subsequently recovered. However, in an adult patient who took fluoxetine alone, an ingestion as low as 520 mg has been associated with lethal outcome, but causality has not been established.
Among pediatric patients (ages 3 months to 17 years), there were 156 cases of overdose involving fluoxetine alone or in combination with other drugs. Six patients died, 127 patients completely recovered, one patient experienced renal failure, and 22 patients had an unknown outcome. One of the six fatalities was a 9-year-old boy who had a history of OCD, Tourette’s syndrome with tics, attention deficit disorder, and fetal alcohol syndrome. He had been receiving 100 mg of fluoxetine daily for 6 months in addition to clonidine, methylphenidate, and promethazine. Mixed-drug ingestion or other methods of suicide complicated all six overdoses in children that resulted in fatalities. The largest ingestion in pediatric patients was 3 grams which was nonlethal.
Other important adverse events reported with fluoxetine overdose (single or multiple drugs) include coma, delirium, ECG abnormalities (such as QT interval prolongation and ventricular tachycardia, including torsades de pointes-type arrhythmias), hypotension, mania, neuroleptic malignant syndrome-like events, pyrexia, stupor, and syncope.
Studies in animals do not provide precise or necessarily valid information about the treatment of human overdose. However, animal experiments can provide useful insights into possible treatment strategies.
The oral median lethal dose in rats and mice was found to be 452 and 248 mg/kg, respectively. Acute high oral doses produced hyperirritability and convulsions in several animal species.
Among six dogs purposely overdosed with oral fluoxetine, five experienced grand mal seizures. Seizures stopped immediately upon the bolus intravenous administration of a standard veterinary dose of diazepam. In this short-term study, the lowest plasma concentration at which a seizure occurred was only twice the maximum plasma concentration seen in humans taking 80 mg/day, chronically.
In a separate single-dose study, the ECG of dogs given high doses did not reveal prolongation of the PR, QRS, or QT intervals. Tachycardia and an increase in blood pressure were observed. Consequently, the value of the ECG in predicting cardiac toxicity is unknown. Nonetheless, the ECG should ordinarily be monitored in cases of human overdose (see Management of Overdose).
Treatment should consist of those general measures employed in the management of overdosage with any drug effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder.
Ensure an adequate airway, oxygenation, and ventilation. Monitor cardiac rhythm and vital signs. General supportive and symptomatic measures are also recommended. Induction of emesis is not recommended. Gastric lavage with a large-bore orogastric tube with appropriate airway protection, if needed, may be indicated if performed soon after ingestion, or in symptomatic patients.
Activated charcoal should be administered. Due to the large volume of distribution of this drug, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, and exchange transfusion are unlikely to be of benefit. No specific antidotes for fluoxetine are known.
A specific caution involves patients who are taking or have recently taken fluoxetine and might ingest excessive quantities of a TCA. In such a case, accumulation of the parent tricyclic and/or an active metabolite may increase the possibility of clinically significant sequelae and extend the time needed for close medical observation (see Other drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorderunder PRECAUTIONS).
Based on experience in animals, which may not be relevant to humans, fluoxetine-induced seizures that fail to remit spontaneously may respond to diazepam.
In managing overdosage, consider the possibility of multiple drug involvement. The physician should consider contacting a poison control center for additional information on the treatment of any overdose. Telephone numbers for certified poison control centres are uled in the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR).
It is generally agreed that acute episodes of major depressive disorder require several months or longer of sustained pharmacologic therapy. Whether the dose needed to induce remission is identical to the dose needed to maintain and/or sustain euthymia is unknown.
Symptoms associated with discontinuation of fluoxetine and other SSRIs and SNRIs, have been reported (see PRECAUTIONS). Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate. Plasma fluoxetine and norfluoxetine concentration decrease gradually at the conclusion of therapy which may minimize the risk of discontinuation symptoms with this drug.
Fluoxetine Hydrochloride Tablets are available as follows:
10 mg† , oval, normal convex, film coated, scored white tablet, debossed “FL” breakline “10” on one side and “G” on the other
Bottles of 30 NDC 57315-051-01
Bottles of 100 NDC 57315-051-02
Bottles of 2000 NDC 57315-051-03
20 mg† , oval, normal convex, film coated, scored white tablet, debossed “FL” breakline “20” on one side and “G” on the other
Bottles of 30 NDC 57315-052-01
Bottles of 100 NDC 57315-052-02
Bottles of 2000 NDC 57315-052-03
† Fluoxetine base equivalent.
Store at 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) [See USP Controlled Room Temperature].
Dispense in a tight, light-resistant container as described in the USP. Protect from light.
Sarafem® is a trademark of Eli Lilly.
Phospholipids are increased in some tissues of mice, rats, and dogs given fluoxetine chronically. This effect is reversible after cessation of fluoxetine treatment. Phospholipid accumulation in animals has been observed with many cationic amphiphilic drugs, including fenfluramine, imipramine, and ranitidine. The significance of this effect in humans is unknown.
In a juvenile toxicology study in CD rats, administration of 30 mg/kg of fluoxetine hydrochloride on postnatal days 21 through 90 resulted in increased serum activities of creatine kinase (CK) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), which were accompanied microscopically by skeletal muscle degeneration, necrosis and regeneration. Other findings in rats administered 30 mg/kg included degeneration and necrosis of seminiferous tubules of the testis, epididymal epithelial vacuolation, and immaturity and inactivity of the female reproductive tract. Plasma levels achieved in these animals at 30 mg/kg were approximately 5- to 8-fold (fluoxetine) and 18- to 20-fold (norfluoxetine), and at 10 mg/kg approximately 2-fold (fluoxetine) and 8-fold (norfluoxetine) higher compared to plasma concentrations usually achieved in pediatric patients. Following an approximate 11-week recovery period, sperm assessments in the 30 mg/kg males only, indicated an approximately 30% decrease in sperm concentrations without affecting sperm morphology or motility. Microscopic evaluation of testes and epididymides of these 30 mg/kg males indicated that testicular degeneration was irreversible. Delays in sexual maturation occurred in the 10 mg/kg males and in the 30 mg/kg males and females. The significance of these findings in humans is unknown. Femur lengths at 30 mg/kg increased to a lesser extent compared with control rats.
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DETACH BEFORE DISPENSING
Fluoxetine Hydrochloride Tablets
Parents or guardians need to think about 4 important things when their child is prescribed an antidepressant:
1. There is a risk of suicidal thoughts or actions
2. How to try to prevent suicidal thoughts or actions in your child
3.You should watch for certain signs if your child is taking an antidepressant
4. There are benefits and risks when using antidepressants
1. There is a Risk of Suicidal Thoughts or Actions
Children and teenagers sometimes think about suicide, and many report trying to kill themselves.
Antidepressants increase suicidal thoughts and actions in some children and teenagers. But suicidal thoughts and actions can also be caused by depression, a serious medical condition that is commonly treated with antidepressants.
Thinking about killing yourself or trying to kill yourself is called suicidality or being suicidal.
A large study combined the results of 24 different studies of children and teenagers with depression or other illnesses. In these studies, patients took either a placebo (sugar pill) or an antidepressant for 1 to 4 months. No one committed suicide in these studies, but some patients became suicidal. On sugar pills, 2 out of every 100 became suicidal. On the antidepressants, 4 out of every 100 patients became suicidal.
For some children and teenagers, the risks of suicidal actions may be especially high. These include patients with
If any of these are present, make sure you tell your healthcare provider before your child takes an antidepressant.
2. How to Try to Prevent Suicidal Thoughts and Actions
To try to prevent suicidal thoughts and actions in your child, pay close attention to changes in her or his moods or actions, especially if the changes occur suddenly. Other important people in your child’s life can help by paying attention as well (e.g., your child, brothers and sisters, teachers, and other important people). The changes to look out for are uled in Section 3, on what to watch for.
Whenever an antidepressant is started or its dose is changed, pay close attention to your child.
After starting an antidepressant, your child should generally see his or her healthcare provider
You should call your child’s healthcare provider between visits if needed.
3. You Should Watch for Certain Signs If Your Child is Taking an Antidepressant
Contact your child’s healthcare provider right away if your child exhibits any of the following signs for the first time, or if they seem worse, or worry you, your child, or your child’s teacher:
Never let your child stop taking an antidepressant without first talking to his or her healthcare provider. Stopping an antidepressant suddenly can cause other symptoms.
4. There are Benefits and Risks When Using Antidepressants
Antidepressants are used to treat depression and other illnesses. Depression and other illnesses can lead to suicide. In some children and teenagers, treatment with an antidepressant increases suicidal thinking or actions. It is important to discuss all the risks of treating depression and also the risks of not treating it. You and your child should discuss all treatment choices with your healthcare provider, not just the use of antidepressants.
Other side effects can occur with antidepressants (see section below).
Of all the antidepressants, only fluoxetine (Prozac®) has been FDA approved to treat pediatric depression.
For obsessive compulsive disorder in children and teenagers, FDA has approved only fluoxetine (Prozac®), sertraline (Zoloft®), fluvoxamine, and clomipramine (Anafranil®).
Your healthcare provider may suggest other antidepressants based on the past experience of your child or other family members.
Is this all I need to know if my child is being prescribed an antidepressant?
No. This is a warning about the risk for suicidality. Other side effects can occur with antidepressants. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider to explain all the side effects of the particular drug he or she is prescribing. Also ask about drugs to avoid when taking an antidepressant. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist where to find more information.
Prozac® is a registered trademark of Eli Lilly and Company.
Zoloft® is a registered trademark of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
Anafranil® is a registered trademark of Mallinckrodt Inc.