FDA Approves Jatenzo (testosterone undecanoate) for Certain Forms of Hypogonadism

FDA Approves Jatenzo (testosterone undecanoate) for Certain Forms of Hypogonadism

March 27, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Jatenzo (testosterone undecanoate), an oral testosterone capsule to treat men with certain forms of hypogonadism. These men have low testosterone levels due to specific medical conditions, such as genetic disorders like Klinefelter syndrome or tumors that have damaged the pituitary gland. Jatenzo should not be used to treat men with “age-related hypogonadism,” in which testosterone levels decline due to aging, even if these men have symptoms that appear to be related to low testosterone. Jatenzo’s benefits do not outweigh its risks for that use.

“Jatenzo’s oral route of administration provides an important addition to current treatment options available for men with certain hypogonadal conditions who up until now have most commonly been treated with testosterone products that are applied to the skin or injected,” said Hylton V. Joffe, M.D, M.M.Sc., director of the Division of Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “But it’s important to emphasize that this drug should not, like other testosterone treatments, be used to treat older men with ‘age-related hypogonadism.’ The benefits of testosterone therapy, including Jatenzo, have not been established for this use, and Jatenzo’s effects on raising blood pressure can increase the risks of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death in this population.”

The efficacy of Jatenzo was demonstrated in a four-month clinical trial involving 166 men with hypogonadism. Study participants initially were given Jatenzo at a dose of 237 mg twice per day, and the dose was adjusted downward or upward to a maximum of 396 mg twice per day on the basis of testosterone levels. Eighty-seven percent of Jatenzo-treated men achieved an average testosterone level within the normal range, which was the primary study endpoint.

Jatenzo contains a boxed warning on its labeling stating that the drug can cause blood pressure to rise, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death. Health care providers should consider a patient’s individual heart disease risks and ensure that blood pressure is adequately controlled before prescribing Jatenzo; they should also periodically monitor patient blood pressure during treatment. Jatenzo is currently one of two testosterone products that have this boxed warning. The FDA is requiring all testosterone product manufacturers to conduct blood pressure postmarketing trials to more clearly address whether these products increase blood pressure.

Common side effects, occurring in more than 2 percent of patients in the Jatenzo clinical trial, included headache, an increase in hematocrit (red blood cell count), a decrease in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), high blood pressure and nausea. An increase in prostate specific antigen (PSA) was also observed. Patients should have their hematocrit, cholesterol and PSA monitored regularly to check for changes. Those with benign prostate hyperplasia should be monitored for worsening of symptoms.

The FDA granted the approval of Jatenzo to Clarus Therapeutics.

Posted: March 2019

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Jatenzo (testosterone undecanoate) FDA Approval History

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FDA Approves Zulresso (brexanolone) for the Treatment of Postpartum Depression

FDA Approves Zulresso (brexanolone) for the Treatment of Postpartum Depression

March 19, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Zulresso (brexanolone) injection for intravenous (IV) use for the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD) in adult women. This is the first drug approved by the FDA specifically for PPD.

“Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-threatening. Women may experience thoughts about harming themselves or harming their child. Postpartum depression can also interfere with the maternal-infant bond. This approval marks the first time a drug has been specifically approved to treat postpartum depression, providing an important new treatment option,” said Tiffany Farchione, M.D., acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Because of concerns about serious risks, including excessive sedation or sudden loss of consciousness during administration, Zulresso has been approved with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) and is only available to patients through a restricted distribution program at certified health care facilities where the health care provider can carefully monitor the patient.”

PPD is a major depressive episode that occurs following childbirth, although symptoms can start during pregnancy. As with other forms of depression, it is characterized by sadness and/or loss of interest in activities that one used to enjoy and a decreased ability to feel pleasure (anhedonia) and may present with symptoms such as cognitive impairment, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, or suicidal ideation.

Zulresso will be available only through a restricted program called the Zulresso REMS Program that requires the drug be administered by a health care provider in a certified health care facility. The REMS requires that patients be enrolled in the program prior to administration of the drug. Zulresso is administered as a continuous IV infusion over a total of 60 hours (2.5 days). Because of the risk of serious harm due to the sudden loss of consciousness, patients must be monitored for excessive sedation and sudden loss of consciousness and have continuous pulse oximetry monitoring (monitors oxygen levels in the blood). While receiving the infusion, patients must be accompanied during interactions with their child(ren). The need for these steps is addressed in a Boxed Warning in the drug’s prescribing information. Patients will be counseled on the risks of Zulresso treatment and instructed that they must be monitored for these effects at a health care facility for the entire 60 hours of infusion. Patients should not drive, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities until feelings of sleepiness from the treatment have completely gone away.

The efficacy of Zulresso was shown in two clinical studies in participants who received a 60-hour continuous intravenous infusion of Zulresso or placebo and were then followed for four weeks. One study included patients with severe PPD and the other included patients with moderate PPD. The primary measure in the study was the mean change from baseline in depressive symptoms as measured by a depression rating scale. In both placebo controlled studies, Zulresso demonstrated superiority to placebo in improvement of depressive symptoms at the end of the first infusion. The improvement in depression was also observed at the end of the 30-day follow-up period.

The most common adverse reactions reported by patients treated with Zulresso in clinical trials include sleepiness, dry mouth, loss of consciousness and flushing. Health care providers should consider changing the therapeutic regimen, including discontinuing Zulresso in patients whose PPD becomes worse or who experience emergent suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

The FDA granted this application Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy designation.

Approval of Zulresso was granted to Sage Therapeutics, Inc.

Source: FDA

Posted: March 2019

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Zulresso (brexanolone) FDA Approval History

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FDA Approves Spravato (esketamine) Nasal Spray for Treatment-Resistant Depression

March 5, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Spravato (esketamine) nasal spray, in conjunction with an oral antidepressant, for the treatment of depression in adults who have tried other antidepressant medicines but have not benefited from them (treatment-resistant depression). Because of the risk of serious adverse outcomes resulting from sedation and dissociation caused by Spravato administration, and the potential for abuse and misuse of the drug, it is only available through a restricted distribution system, under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS).

“There has been a long-standing need for additional effective treatments for treatment-resistant depression, a serious and life-threatening condition,” said Tiffany Farchione, M.D., acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Controlled clinical trials that studied the safety and efficacy of this drug, along with careful review through the FDA’s drug approval process including a robust discussion with our external advisory committees, were important to our decision to approve this treatment. Because of safey concerns, the drug will only be available through a restricted distribution system and it must be administered in a certified medical office where the health care provider can monitor the patient.”

Patients with major depressive disorder who, despite trying at least two antidepressant treatments given at adequate doses for an adequate duration in the current episode, have not responded to treatment are considered to have treatment-resistant depression.

The Spravato labeling contains a Boxed Warning that cautions that patients are at risk for sedation and difficulty with attention, judgment and thinking (dissociation), abuse and misuse, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors after administration of the drug. Because of the risk of sedation and dissociation, patients must be monitored by a health care provider for at least two hours after receiving their Spravato dose. The REMS requires the prescriber and the patient to both sign a Patient Enrollment Form that clearly states that the patient understands they should make arrangements to safely leave the health care setting to get home and that the patient should not drive or use heavy machinery for the rest of the day on which they receved the drug. Additionally, Spravato must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that outlines the drug’s uses and risks.
The patient self-administers Spravato nasal spray under the supervision of a health care provider in a certified doctor’s office or clinic, and the spray cannot be taken home. The health care provider will instruct the patient on how to operate the nasal spray device. During and after each use of the nasal spray device, the health care provider will check the patient and determine when the patient is ready to leave.

The efficacy of Spravato was evaluated in three short-term (four-week) clinical trials and one longer-term maintenance-of-effect trial. In the three short-term studies, patients were randomized to receive Spravato or a placebo nasal spray. In light of the serious nature of treatment-resistant depresison and the need for patients to receive some form of treatment, all patients in these studies started a new oral antidepressant at the time of randomization and the new antidepressant was continued throughout the trials. The primary efficacy measure was the change from baseline on a scale used to assess the severity of depressive symptoms. In one of the short-term studies, Spravato nasal spray demonstrated statistically significant effect compared to placebo on the severity of depression, and some effect was seen within two days. The two other short-term trials did not meet the pre-specified statistical tests for demonstrating effectiveness. In the longer-term maintenance-of-effect trial, patients in stable remission or with stable response who continued treatment with Spravato plus an oral antidepressant experienced a statistically significantly longer time to relapse of depressive symptoms than patients on placebo nasal spray plus an oral antidepressant.

The most common side effects experienced by patients treated with Spravato in the clinical trials were disassociation, dizziness, nausea, sedation, vertigo, decreased feeling or sensitivity (hypoesthesia), anxiety, lethargy, increased blood pressure, vomiting and feeling drunk.

Patients with unstable or poorly controlled hypertension or pre-existing aneurysmal vascular disorders may be at increased risk for adverse cardiovascular or cerebrovascular effects. Spravato may impair attention, judgment, thinking, reaction speed and motor skills. Patients should not drive or operate machinery until the next day after a restful sleep. Spravato may cause fetal harm and women of reproductive potential should consider pregnancy planning and prevention; women should not breastfeed while being treated.

Esketamine is the s-enantiomer of ketamine. Ketamine is a mixture of two enantiomers (mirror image molecules). This is the first FDA approval of esketamine for any use. The FDA approved ketamine (Ketalar) in 1970.

The FDA granted this application Fast Track and Breakthrough Therapy designations.

The FDA granted the approval of Spravato to Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Posted: March 2019

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Spravato (esketamine) FDA Approval History

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FDA Approves Adhansia XR (methylphenidate hydrochloride) Extended-Release Capsules for the Treatment of ADHD

FDA Approves Adhansia XR (methylphenidate hydrochloride) Extended-Release Capsules for the Treatment of ADHD