5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
5.1 Dosing Errors
Phenytoin Sodium Equivalents (PE)
Do not confuse the amount of drug to be given in PE with the concentration of the drug in the vial.
Doses of CEREBYX are always expressed in terms of milligrams of phenytoin sodium equivalents (mg PE). 1 mg PE is equivalent to 1 mg phenytoin sodium.
Do not, therefore, make any adjustment in the recommended doses when substituting CEREBYX for phenytoin sodium or vice versa. For example, if a patient is receiving 1000 mg PE of CEREBYX, that is equivalent to 1000 mg of phenytoin sodium.
Concentration of 50 mg PE/mL
Medication errors associated with CEREBYX have resulted in patients receiving the wrong dose of fosphenytoin. CEREBYX is marketed in 2 mL vials containing a total of 100 mg PE and 10 mL vials containing a total of 500 mg PE. The concentration of each vial is 50 mg PE/mL. Errors have occurred when the concentration of the vial (50 mg PE/mL) was misinterpreted to mean that the total content of the vial was 50 mg PE. These errors have resulted in two- or ten-fold overdoses of CEREBYX since each vial actually contains a total of 100 mg PE or 500 mg PE. In some cases, ten-fold overdoses were associated with fatal outcomes. To help minimize confusion, the prescribed dose of CEREBYX should always be expressed in milligrams of phenytoin equivalents (mg PE) [see Dosage and Administration (2.1)]. Additionally, when ordering and storing CEREBYX, consider displaying the total drug content (i.e., 100 mg PE/ 2 mL or 500 mg PE/ 10 mL) instead of concentration in computer systems, pre-printed orders, and automated dispensing cabinet databases to help ensure that total drug content can be clearly identified. Care should be taken to ensure the appropriate volume of CEREBYX is withdrawn from the vial when preparing the drug for administration. Attention to these details may prevent some CEREBYX medication errors from occurring.
5.2 Cardiovascular Risk Associated with Rapid Infusion
Rapid intravenous administration of CEREBYX increases the risk of adverse cardiovascular reactions, including severe hypotension and cardiac arrhythmias. Cardiac arrhythmias have included bradycardia, heart block, QT interval prolongation, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation which have resulted in asystole, cardiac arrest, and death. Severe complications are most commonly encountered in critically ill patients, elderly patients, and patients with hypotension and severe myocardial insufficiency. However, cardiac events have also been reported in adults and children without underlying cardiac disease or comorbidities and at recommended doses and infusion rates.
The rate of intravenous CEREBYX administration should not exceed 150 mg phenytoin sodium equivalents (PE) per minute in adults and 2 mg PE/kg/min (or 150 mg PE/min, whichever is slower) in pediatric patients [see Dosage and Administration (2.3, 2.4)].
Although the risk of cardiovascular toxicity increases with infusion rates above the recommended infusion rate, these events have also been reported at or below the recommended infusion rate.
As non-emergency therapy, intravenous CEREBYX should be administered more slowly. Because of the risks of cardiac and local toxicity associated with IV CEREBYX, oral phenytoin should be used whenever possible.
Because adverse cardiovascular reactions have occurred during and after infusions, careful cardiac and respiratory monitoring is needed during and after the administration of intravenous CEREBYX. Reduction in rate of administration or discontinuation of dosing may be needed.
5.3 Withdrawal Precipitated Seizure, Status Epilepticus
Antiepileptic drugs should not be abruptly discontinued because of the possibility of increased seizure frequency, including status epilepticus. When, in the judgment of the clinician, the need for dosage reduction, discontinuation, or substitution of alternative antiepileptic medication arises, this should be done gradually. However, in the event of an allergic or hypersensitivity reaction, rapid substitution of alternative therapy may be necessary. In this case, alternative therapy should be an antiepileptic drug not belonging to the hydantoin chemical class.
5.4 Serious Dermatologic Reactions
CEREBYX can cause severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCARs), which may be fatal. Reported reactions in phenytoin (the active metabolite of CEREBYX)-treated patients have included toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP), and Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)]. The onset of symptoms is usually within 28 days, but can occur later. CEREBYX should be discontinued at the first sign of a rash, unless the rash is clearly not drug-related. If signs or symptoms suggest a severe cutaneous adverse reaction, use of this drug should not be resumed and alternative therapy should be considered. If a rash occurs, the patient should be evaluated for signs and symptoms of SCARs.
Studies in patients of Chinese ancestry have found a strong association between the risk of developing SJS/TEN and the presence of HLA-B*1502, an inherited allelic variant of the HLA B gene, in patients using carbamazepine. Limited evidence suggests that HLA-B*1502 may be a risk factor for the development of SJS/TEN in patients of Asian ancestry taking other antiepileptic drugs associated with SJS/TEN, including phenytoin. In addition, retrospective, case-control, genome-wide association studies in patients of southeast Asian ancestry have also identified an increased risk of SCARs in carriers of the decreased function CYP2C9*3 variant, which has also been associated with decreased clearance of phenytoin. Consider avoiding CEREBYX as an alternative to carbamazepine in patients who are positive for HLA-B*1502 or in CYP2C9*3 carriers.
Should CEREBYX be utilized for CYP2C9*3 carriers, consider starting at the lower end of the dosage range [see Use in Specific Populations (8.7)].
The use of HLA-B*1502 or CYP2C9 genotyping has important limitations and must never substitute for appropriate clinical vigilance and patient management. The role of other possible factors in the development of, and morbidity from, SJS/TEN, such as antiepileptic drug (AED) dose, compliance, concomitant medications, comorbidities, and the level of dermatologic monitoring have not been studied.
5.5 Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS)/Multiorgan Hypersensitivity
Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS), also known as Multiorgan hypersensitivity, has been reported in patients taking antiepileptic drugs, including phenytoin and CEREBYX. Some of these events have been fatal or life-threatening. DRESS typically, although not exclusively, presents with fever, rash, lymphadenopathy, and/or facial swelling, in association with other organ system involvement, such as hepatitis, nephritis, hematological abnormalities, myocarditis, or myositis sometimes resembling an acute viral infection. Eosinophilia is often present. Because this disorder is variable in its expression, other organ systems not noted here may be involved. It is important to note that early manifestations of hypersensitivity, such as fever or lymphadenopathy, may be present even though rash is not evident. If such signs or symptoms are present, the patient should be evaluated immediately. CEREBYX should be discontinued if an alternative etiology for the signs or symptoms cannot be established.
CEREBYX and other hydantoins are contraindicated in patients who have experienced phenytoin hypersensitivity [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.7)]. Additionally, consider alternatives to structurally similar drugs such as carboxamides (e.g., carbamazepine), barbiturates, succinimides, and oxazolidinediones (e.g., trimethadione) in these same patients. Similarly, if there is a history of hypersensitivity reactions to these structurally similar drugs in the patient or immediate family members, consider alternatives to CEREBYX.
Angioedema has been reported in patients treated with phenytoin and CEREBYX in the postmarketing setting. CEREBYX should be discontinued immediately if symptoms of angioedema, such as facial, perioral, or upper airway swelling occur. CEREBYX should be discontinued permanently if a clear alternative etiology for the reaction cannot be established.
5.8 Hepatic Injury
Cases of acute hepatotoxicity, including infrequent cases of acute hepatic failure, have been reported with phenytoin (the active metabolite of CEREBYX). These events may be part of the spectrum of DRESS or may occur in isolation [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)]. Other common manifestations include jaundice, hepatomegaly, elevated serum transaminase levels, leukocytosis, and eosinophilia. The clinical course of acute phenytoin hepatotoxicity ranges from prompt recovery to fatal outcomes. In these patients with acute hepatotoxicity, CEREBYX should be immediately discontinued and not re-administered.
5.9 Hematopoietic Complications
Hematopoietic complications, some fatal, have occasionally been reported in association with administration of phenytoin (the active metabolite of CEREBYX). These have included thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, granulocytopenia, agranulocytosis, and pancytopenia with or without bone marrow suppression.
There have been a number of reports that have suggested a relationship between phenytoin and the development of lymphadenopathy (local or generalized), including benign lymph node hyperplasia, pseudolymphoma, lymphoma, and Hodgkin's disease. Although a cause and effect relationship has not been established, the occurrence of lymphadenopathy indicates the need to differentiate such a condition from other types of lymph node pathology. Lymph node involvement may occur with or without symptoms and signs resembling DRESS [see Warnings and Precautions (5.5)].
In all cases of lymphadenopathy, follow-up observation for an extended period is indicated and every effort should be made to achieve seizure control using alternative antiepileptic drugs. Macrocytosis and megaloblastic anemia have occurred, these conditions usually respond to folic acid therapy. Pure red cell aplasia has also been reported with phenytoin.
5.10 Sensory Disturbances
Severe burning, itching, and/or paresthesia were reported by 7 of 16 normal volunteers administered IV CEREBYX at a dose of 1200 mg PE at the maximum rate of administration (150 mg PE/min). The severe sensory disturbance lasted from 3 to 50 minutes in 6 of these subjects and for 14 hours in the seventh subject. In some cases, milder sensory disturbances persisted for as long as 24 hours. The location of the discomfort varied among subjects with the groin mentioned most frequently as an area of discomfort. In a separate cohort of 16 normal volunteers (taken from 2 other studies) who were administered IV CEREBYX at a dose of 1200 mg PE at the maximum rate of administration (150 mg PE/min), none experienced severe disturbances, but most experienced mild to moderate itching or tingling. Patients administered CEREBYX at doses of 20 mg PE/kg at 150 mg PE/min are expected to experience discomfort of some degree. The occurrence and intensity of the discomfort can be lessened by slowing or temporarily stopping the infusion. The effect of continuing infusion unaltered in the presence of these sensations is unknown. No permanent sequelae have been reported thus far. The pharmacologic basis for these positive sensory phenomena is unknown, but other phosphate ester drugs, which deliver smaller phosphate loads, have been associated with burning, itching, and/or tingling predominantly in the groin area.
5.11 Local Toxicity (Including Purple Glove Syndrome)
Edema, discoloration, and pain distal to the site of injection (described as "purple glove syndrome") have also been reported following peripheral intravenous CEREBYX injection. This may or may not be associated with extravasation. The syndrome may not develop for several days after injection.
5.12 Phosphate Load
The phosphate load provided by CEREBYX (0.0037 mmol phosphate/mg PE CEREBYX) should be considered when treating patients who require phosphate restriction, such as those with severe renal impairment.
5.13 Renal or Hepatic Disease or Hypoalbuminemia
Because the fraction of unbound phenytoin (the active metabolite of CEREBYX) is increased in patients with renal or hepatic disease, or in those with hypoalbuminemia, the monitoring of phenytoin serum levels should be based on the unbound fraction in those patients. After IV administration to patients with renal and/or hepatic disease, or in those with hypoalbuminemia, fosphenytoin clearance to phenytoin may be increased without a similar increase in phenytoin clearance. This has the potential to increase the frequency and severity of adverse events.
5.14 Exacerbation of Porphyria
In view of isolated reports associating phenytoin (the active metabolite of CEREBYX) with exacerbation of porphyria, caution should be exercised in using CEREBYX in patients suffering from this disease.
5.15 Teratogenicity and Other Harm to the Newborn
CEREBYX may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Prenatal exposure to phenytoin (the active metabolite of CEREBYX) may increase the risks for congenital malformations and other adverse developmental outcomes [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].
Increased frequencies of major malformations (such as orofacial clefts and cardiac defects), and abnormalities characteristic of fetal hydantoin syndrome, including dysmorphic skull and facial features, nail and digit hypoplasia, growth abnormalities (including microcephaly), and cognitive deficits, have been reported among children born to epileptic women who took phenytoin alone or in combination with other antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy. There have been several reported cases of malignancies, including neuroblastoma.
A potentially life-threatening bleeding disorder related to decreased levels of vitamin K-dependent clotting factors may occur in newborns exposed to phenytoin in utero. This drug-induced condition can be prevented with vitamin K administration to the mother before delivery and to the neonate after birth.
Hyperglycemia, resulting from the inhibitory effect of phenytoin (the active metabolite of CEREBYX) on insulin release, has been reported. Phenytoin may also raise the serum glucose concentrations in diabetic patients.
5.17 Serum Phenytoin Levels above Therapeutic Range
Serum levels of phenytoin (the active metabolite of CEREBYX) sustained above the therapeutic range may produce confusional states referred to as "delirium," "psychosis," or "encephalopathy," or rarely, irreversible cerebellar dysfunction and/or cerebellar atrophy. Accordingly, at the first sign of acute toxicity, serum levels should be immediately checked. CEREBYX dose reduction is indicated if serum levels are excessive; if symptoms persist, administration of CEREBYX should be discontinued.