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GEODON® (ziprasidone HCl) Warnings and Precautions

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of 17 placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group.

Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. GEODON is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis. [see Boxed Warning, Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

5.2 Cerebrovascular Adverse Reactions, Including Stroke, in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis

In placebo-controlled trials in elderly subjects with dementia, patients randomized to risperidone, aripiprazole, and olanzapine had a higher incidence of stroke and transient ischemic attack, including fatal stroke. GEODON is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis [see Boxed Warning and Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].

5.3 QT Prolongation and Risk of Sudden Death

Ziprasidone use should be avoided in combination with other drugs that are known to prolong the QTc interval [see Contraindications (4.1) and Drug Interactions (7.4)]. Additionally, clinicians should be alert to the identification of other drugs that have been consistently observed to prolong the QTc interval. Such drugs should not be prescribed with ziprasidone. Ziprasidone should also be avoided in patients with congenital long QT syndrome and in patients with a history of cardiac arrhythmias [see Contraindications (4)].

A study directly comparing the QT/QTc prolonging effect of oral ziprasidone with several other drugs effective in the treatment of schizophrenia was conducted in patient volunteers. In the first phase of the trial, ECGs were obtained at the time of maximum plasma concentration when the drug was administered alone. In the second phase of the trial, ECGs were obtained at the time of maximum plasma concentration while the drug was co-administered with an inhibitor of the CYP4503A4 metabolism of the drug.

In the first phase of the study, the mean change in QTc from baseline was calculated for each drug, using a sample-based correction that removes the effect of heart rate on the QT interval. The mean increase in QTc from baseline for ziprasidone ranged from approximately 9 to 14 msec greater than for four of the comparator drugs (risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, and haloperidol), but was approximately 14 msec less than the prolongation observed for thioridazine.

In the second phase of the study, the effect of ziprasidone on QTc length was not augmented by the presence of a metabolic inhibitor (ketoconazole 200 mg twice daily).

In placebo-controlled trials, oral ziprasidone increased the QTc interval compared to placebo by approximately 10 msec at the highest recommended daily dose of 160 mg. In clinical trials with oral ziprasidone, the electrocardiograms of 2/2988 (0.06%) patients who received GEODON and 1/440 (0.23%) patients who received placebo revealed QTc intervals exceeding the potentially clinically relevant threshold of 500 msec. In the ziprasidone-treated patients, neither case suggested a role of ziprasidone. One patient had a history of prolonged QTc and a screening measurement of 489 msec; QTc was 503 msec during ziprasidone treatment. The other patient had a QTc of 391 msec at the end of treatment with ziprasidone and upon switching to thioridazine experienced QTc measurements of 518 and 593 msec.

Some drugs that prolong the QT/QTc interval have been associated with the occurrence of torsade de pointes and with sudden unexplained death. The relationship of QT prolongation to torsade de pointes is clearest for larger increases (20 msec and greater) but it is possible that smaller QT/QTc prolongations may also increase risk, or increase it in susceptible individuals. Although torsade de pointes has not been observed in association with the use of ziprasidone in premarketing studies and experience is too limited to rule out an increased risk, there have been rare post-marketing reports (in the presence of multiple confounding factors) [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].

A study evaluating the QT/QTc prolonging effect of intramuscular ziprasidone, with intramuscular haloperidol as a control, was conducted in patient volunteers. In the trial, ECGs were obtained at the time of maximum plasma concentration following two injections of ziprasidone (20 mg then 30 mg) or haloperidol (7.5 mg then 10 mg) given four hours apart. Note that a 30 mg dose of intramuscular ziprasidone is 50% higher than the recommended therapeutic dose. The mean change in QTc from baseline was calculated for each drug, using a sample-based correction that removes the effect of heart rate on the QT interval. The mean increase in QTc from baseline for ziprasidone was 4.6 msec following the first injection and 12.8 msec following the second injection. The mean increase in QTc from baseline for haloperidol was 6.0 msec following the first injection and 14.7 msec following the second injection. In this study, no patients had a QTc interval exceeding 500 msec.

As with other antipsychotic drugs and placebo, sudden unexplained deaths have been reported in patients taking ziprasidone at recommended doses. The premarketing experience for ziprasidone did not reveal an excess risk of mortality for ziprasidone compared to other antipsychotic drugs or placebo, but the extent of exposure was limited, especially for the drugs used as active controls and placebo. Nevertheless, ziprasidone's larger prolongation of QTc length compared to several other antipsychotic drugs raises the possibility that the risk of sudden death may be greater for ziprasidone than for other available drugs for treating schizophrenia. This possibility needs to be considered in deciding among alternative drug products [see Indications and Usage (1)].

Certain circumstances may increase the risk of the occurrence of torsade de pointes and/or sudden death in association with the use of drugs that prolong the QTc interval, including (1) bradycardia; (2) hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia; (3) concomitant use of other drugs that prolong the QTc interval; and (4) presence of congenital prolongation of the QT interval.

It is recommended that patients being considered for ziprasidone treatment who are at risk for significant electrolyte disturbances, hypokalemia in particular, have baseline serum potassium and magnesium measurements. Hypokalemia (and/or hypomagnesemia) may increase the risk of QT prolongation and arrhythmia. Hypokalemia may result from diuretic therapy, diarrhea, and other causes. Patients with low serum potassium and/or magnesium should be repleted with those electrolytes before proceeding with treatment. It is essential to periodically monitor serum electrolytes in patients for whom diuretic therapy is introduced during ziprasidone treatment. Persistently prolonged QTc intervals may also increase the risk of further prolongation and arrhythmia, but it is not clear that routine screening ECG measures are effective in detecting such patients. Rather, ziprasidone should be avoided in patients with histories of significant cardiovascular illness, e.g., QT prolongation, recent acute myocardial infarction, uncompensated heart failure, or cardiac arrhythmia. Ziprasidone should be discontinued in patients who are found to have persistent QTc measurements >500 msec.

For patients taking ziprasidone who experience symptoms that could indicate the occurrence of torsade de pointes, e.g., dizziness, palpitations, or syncope, the prescriber should initiate further evaluation, e.g., Holter monitoring may be useful.

5.4 Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)

A potentially fatal symptom complex sometimes referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) has been reported in association with administration of antipsychotic drugs. Clinical manifestations of NMS are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmia). Additional signs may include elevated creatinine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis), and acute renal failure.

The diagnostic evaluation of patients with this syndrome is complicated. In arriving at a diagnosis, it is important to exclude cases where the clinical presentation includes both serious medical illness (e.g., pneumonia, systemic infection, etc.) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms (EPS). Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, drug fever, and primary central nervous system (CNS) pathology.

The management of NMS should include: (1) immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy; (2) intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring; and (3) treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available. There is no general agreement about specific pharmacological treatment regimens for NMS.

If a patient requires antipsychotic drug treatment after recovery from NMS, the potential reintroduction of drug therapy should be carefully considered. The patient should be carefully monitored, since recurrences of NMS have been reported.

5.5 Severe Cutaneous Adverse Reactions

Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS)

Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) has been reported with Ziprasidone exposure. DRESS consists of a combination of three or more of the following: cutaneous reaction (such as rash or exfoliative dermatitis), eosinophilia, fever, lymphadenopathy and one or more systemic complications such as hepatitis, nephritis, pneumonitis, myocarditis, and pericarditis. DRESS is sometimes fatal. Discontinue ziprasidone if DRESS is suspected.

Other severe cutaneous adverse reactions

Other severe cutaneous adverse reactions, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, have been reported with ziprasidone exposure. Severe cutaneous adverse reactions are sometimes fatal. Discontinue ziprasidone if severe cutaneous adverse reactions are suspected.

5.6 Tardive Dyskinesia

A syndrome of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements may develop in patients undergoing treatment with antipsychotic drugs. Although the prevalence of the syndrome appears to be highest among the elderly, especially elderly women, it is impossible to rely upon prevalence estimates to predict, at the inception of antipsychotic treatment, which patients are likely to develop the syndrome. Whether antipsychotic drug products differ in their potential to cause tardive dyskinesia is unknown.

The risk of developing tardive dyskinesia and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic drugs administered to the patient increase. However, the syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses.

There is no known treatment for established cases of tardive dyskinesia, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn. Antipsychotic treatment itself, however, may suppress (or partially suppress) the signs and symptoms of the syndrome, and thereby may possibly mask the underlying process. The effect that symptomatic suppression has upon the long-term course of the syndrome is unknown.

Given these considerations, ziprasidone should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimize the occurrence of tardive dyskinesia. Chronic antipsychotic treatment should generally be reserved for patients who suffer from a chronic illness that (1) is known to respond to antipsychotic drugs, and (2) for whom alternative, equally effective, but potentially less harmful treatments are not available or appropriate. In patients who do require chronic treatment, the smallest dose and the shortest duration of treatment producing a satisfactory clinical response should be sought. The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.

If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear in a patient on ziprasidone, drug discontinuation should be considered. However, some patients may require treatment with ziprasidone despite the presence of the syndrome.

5.7 Metabolic Changes

Atypical antipsychotic drugs have been associated with metabolic changes that may increase cardiovascular/cerebrovascular risk. These metabolic changes include hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and body weight gain. While all of the drugs in the class have been shown to produce some metabolic changes, each drug has its own specific risk profile.

Hyperglycemia and Diabetes Mellitus

Hyperglycemia and diabetes mellitus, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma or death, have been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics. There have been few reports of hyperglycemia or diabetes in patients treated with GEODON. Although fewer patients have been treated with GEODON, it is not known if this more limited experience is the sole reason for the paucity of such reports. Assessment of the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and glucose abnormalities is complicated by the possibility of an increased background risk of diabetes mellitus in patients with schizophrenia and the increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus in the general population. Given these confounders, the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and hyperglycemia-related adverse reactions is not completely understood. Precise risk estimates for hyperglycemia-related adverse reactions in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics are not available.

Patients with an established diagnosis of diabetes mellitus who are started on atypical antipsychotics should be monitored regularly for worsening of glucose control. Patients with risk factors for diabetes mellitus (e.g., obesity, family history of diabetes) who are starting treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing at the beginning of treatment and periodically during treatment. Any patient treated with atypical antipsychotics should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycemia including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, and weakness. Patients who develop symptoms of hyperglycemia during treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing. In some cases, hyperglycemia has resolved when the atypical antipsychotic was discontinued; however, some patients required continuation of antidiabetic treatment despite discontinuation of the suspect drug.

Pooled data from short-term, placebo-controlled studies in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are presented in Tables 1–4. Note that for the flexible dose studies in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, each subject is categorized as having received either low (20–40 mg BID) or high (60–80 mg BID) dose based on the subject's modal daily dose. In the tables showing categorical changes, the percentages (% column) are calculated as 100×(n/N).

Table 1: Glucose* Mean Change from Baseline in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Fixed-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone, Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Schizophrenia
Mean Random Glucose Change from Baseline mg/dL (N)
Ziprasidone Placebo
5 mg BID 20 mg BID 40 mg BID 60 mg BID 80 mg BID 100 mg BID
*
"Random" glucose measurements—fasting/non-fasting status unknown
-1.1 (N=45) +2.4 (N=179) -0.2 (N=146) -0.5 (N=119) -1.7 (N=104) +4.1 (N=85) +1.4 (N=260)
Table 2: Glucose* Categorical Changes in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Fixed-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone, Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Schizophrenia
Laboratory Analyte Category Change (at least once) from Baseline Treatment Arm N n (%)
*
"Random" glucose measurements – fasting/non-fasting status unknown
Random Glucose Normal to High (<100 mg/dL to ≥126 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 438 77 (17.6%)
Placebo 169 26 (15.4%)
Borderline to High (≥100 mg/dL and <126 mg/dL to ≥126 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 159 54 (34.0%)
Placebo 66 22 (33.3%)

In long-term (at least 1 year), placebo-controlled, flexible-dose studies in schizophrenia, the mean change from baseline in random glucose for ziprasidone 20–40 mg BID was -3.4 mg/dL (N=122); for ziprasidone 60–80 mg BID was +1.3 mg/dL (N=10); and for placebo was +0.3 mg/dL (N=71).

Table 3: Glucose* Mean Change from Baseline in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Flexible-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone, Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Bipolar Disorder
Mean Fasting Glucose Change from Baseline mg/dL (N)
Ziprasidone Placebo
Low Dose: 20–40 mg BID High Dose: 60–80 mg BID
*
Fasting
+0.1 (N=206) +1.6 (N=166) +1.4 (N=287)
Table 4: Glucose* Categorical Changes in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Flexible-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone, Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Bipolar Disorder
Laboratory Analyte Category Change (at least once) from Baseline Treatment Arm N n (%)
*
Fasting
Fasting Glucose Normal to High (<100 mg/dL to ≥126 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 272 5 (1.8%)
Placebo 210 2 (1.0%)
Borderline to High (≥100 mg/dL and <126 mg/dL to ≥126 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 79 12 (15.2%)
Placebo 71 7 (9.9%)

Dyslipidemia

Undesirable alterations in lipids have been observed in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics. Pooled data from short-term, placebo-controlled studies in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are presented in Tables 5–8.

Table 5: Lipid* Mean Change from Baseline in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Fixed-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Schizophrenia
Mean Lipid Change from Baseline mg/dL (N)
Laboratory Analyte Ziprasidone Placebo
5 mg BID 20 mg BID 40 mg BID 60 mg BID 80 mg BID 100 mg BID
*
"Random" lipid measurements, fasting/non-fasting status unknown
Triglycerides -12.9 (N=45) -9.6 (N=181) -17.3 (N=146) -0.05 (N=120) -16.0 (N=104) +0.8 (N=85) -18.6 (N=260)
Total Cholesterol -3.6 (N=45) -4.4 (N=181) -8.2 (N=147) -3.6 (N=120) -10.0 (N=104) -3.6 (N=85) -4.7 (N=261)
Table 6: Lipid* Categorical Changes in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Fixed-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Schizophrenia
Laboratory Analyte Category Change (at least once) from Baseline Treatment Arm N n (%)
*
"Random" lipid measurements, fasting/non-fasting status unknown
Triglycerides Increase by ≥50 mg/dL Ziprasidone 681 232 (34.1%)
Placebo 260 53 (20.4%)
Normal to High (<150 mg/dL to ≥200 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 429 63 (14.7%)
Placebo 152 12 (7.9%)
Borderline to High (≥150 mg/dL and <200 mg/dL to ≥200 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 92 43 (46.7%)
Placebo 41 12 (29.3%)
Total Cholesterol Increase by ≥40 mg/dL Ziprasidone 682 76 (11.1%)
Placebo 261 26 (10.0%)
Normal to High (<200 mg/dL to ≥240 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 380 15 (3.9%)
Placebo 145 0 (0.0%)
Borderline to High (≥200 mg/dL and <240 mg/dL to ≥240 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 207 56 (27.1%)
Placebo 82 22 (26.8%)

In long-term (at least 1 year), placebo-controlled, flexible-dose studies in schizophrenia, the mean change from baseline in random triglycerides for ziprasidone 20–40 mg BID was +26.3 mg/dL (N=15); for ziprasidone 60–80 mg BID was -39.3 mg/dL (N=10); and for placebo was +12.9 mg/dL (N=9). In long-term (at least 1 year), placebo-controlled, flexible-dose studies in schizophrenia, the mean change from baseline in random total cholesterol for ziprasidone 20–40 mg BID was +2.5 mg/dL (N=14); for ziprasidone 60–80 mg BID was -19.7 mg/dL (N=10); and for placebo was -28.0 mg/dL (N=9).

Table 7: Lipid* Mean Change from Baseline in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Flexible-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Bipolar Disorder
Laboratory Analyte Mean Change from Baseline mg/dL (N)
Ziprasidone Placebo
Low Dose: 20–40 mg BID High Dose: 60–80 mg BID
*
Fasting
Fasting Triglycerides +0.95 (N=206) -3.5 (N=165) +8.6 (N=286)
Fasting Total Cholesterol -2.8 (N=206) -3.4 (N=165) -1.6 (N=286)
Fasting LDL Cholesterol -3.0 (N=201) -3.1 (N=158) -1.97 (N=270)
Fasting HDL cholesterol -0.09 (N=206) +0.3 (N=165) -0.9 (N=286)
Table 8: Lipid* Categorical Changes in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Flexible-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Bipolar Disorder
Laboratory Analyte Category Change (at least once) from Baseline Treatment Arm N n (%)
*
Fasting
Fasting Triglycerides Increase by ≥50 mg/dL Ziprasidone 371 66 (17.8%)
Placebo 286 62 (21.7%)
Normal to High (<150 mg/dL to ≥200 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 225 15 (6.7%)
Placebo 179 13 (7.3%)
Borderline to High (≥150 mg/dL and <200 mg/dL to ≥200 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 58 16 (27.6%)
Placebo 47 14 (29.8%)
Fasting Total Cholesterol Increase by ≥40 mg/dL Ziprasidone 371 30 (8.1%)
Placebo 286 13 (4.5%)
Normal to High (<200 mg/dL to ≥240 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 204 5 (2.5%)
Placebo 151 2 (1.3%)
Borderline to High (≥200 mg/dL and <240 mg/dL to ≥240 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 106 10 (9.4%)
Placebo 87 15 (17.2%)
Fasting LDL Cholesterol Increase by ≥30 mg/dL Ziprasidone 359 39 (10.9%)
Placebo 270 17 (6.3%)
Normal to High (<100 mg/dL to ≥160 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 115 0 (0%)
Placebo 89 1 (1.1%)
Borderline to High (≥100 mg/dL and <160 mg/dL to ≥160 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 193 18 (9.3%)
Placebo 141 14 (9.9%)
Fasting HDL Normal (>=40 mg/dL) to Low (<40 mg/dL) Ziprasidone 283 22 (7.8%)
Placebo 220 24 (10.9%)

Weight Gain

Weight gain has been observed with atypical antipsychotic use. Monitoring of weight is recommended. Pooled data from short-term, placebo-controlled studies in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are presented in Tables 9–10.

Table 9: Weight Mean Changes in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Fixed-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Schizophrenia
Ziprasidone Placebo
5 mg BID 20 mg BID 40 mg BID 60 mg BID 80 mg BID 100 mg BID
Mean Weight (kg) Changes from Baseline (N)
+0.3 (N=40) +1.0 (N=167) +1.0 (N=135) +0.7 (N=109) +1.1 (N=97) +0.9 (N=74) -0.4 (227)
Proportion of Patients with ≥7% Increase in Weight from Baseline (N)
0.0% (N=40) 9.0% (N=167) 10.4% (N=135) 7.3% (N=109) 15.5% (N=97) 10.8% (N=74) 4.0% (N=227)

In long-term (at least 1 year), placebo-controlled, flexible-dose studies in schizophrenia, the mean change from baseline weight for ziprasidone 20–40 mg BID was -2.3 kg (N=124); for ziprasidone 60–80 mg BID was +2.5 kg (N=10); and for placebo was -2.9 kg (N=72). In the same long-term studies, the proportion of subjects with 7% increase in weight from baseline for ziprasidone 20–40 mg BID was 5.6% (N=124); for ziprasidone 60–80 mg BID was 20.0% (N=10), and for placebo was 5.6% (N=72). In a long-term (at least 1 year), placebo-controlled, fixed-dose study in schizophrenia, the mean change from baseline weight for ziprasidone 20 mg BID was -2.6 kg (N=72); for ziprasidone 40 mg BID was -3.3 kg (N=69); for ziprasidone 80 mg BID was -2.8 kg (N=70) and for placebo was -3.8 kg (N=70). In the same long-term fixed-dose schizophrenia study, the proportion of subjects with 7% increase in weight from baseline for ziprasidone 20 mg BID was 5.6% (N=72); for ziprasidone 40 mg BID was 2.9% (N=69); for ziprasidone 80 mg BID was 5.7% (N=70) and for placebo was 2.9% (N=70).

Table 10: Summary of Weight Change in Short-Term (up to 6 weeks), Placebo-Controlled, Flexible-Dose, Oral Ziprasidone Monotherapy Trials in Adult Patients with Bipolar Disorder:
Ziprasidone Placebo
Low Dose: 20–40 mg BID High Dose*: 60–80 mg BID
*
Note that in the High Dose group, there were 2 subjects with modal 200 mg total daily dose and 1 subject with modal 100 mg total daily dose.
Mean Weight (kg) Changes from Baseline (N)
+0.4 (N=295) +0.4 (N=388) +0.1 (N=451)
Proportion of Patients with ≥ 7% Increase in Weight from Baseline (N)
2.4% (N=295) 4.4% (N=388) 1.8% (N=451)

Schizophrenia - The proportions of patients meeting a weight gain criterion of ≥ 7% of body weight were compared in a pool of four 4- and 6-week placebo-controlled schizophrenia clinical trials, revealing a statistically significantly greater incidence of weight gain for ziprasidone (10%) compared to placebo (4%). A median weight gain of 0.5 kg was observed in ziprasidone patients compared to no median weight change in placebo patients. In this set of clinical trials, weight gain was reported as an adverse reaction in 0.4% and 0.4% of ziprasidone and placebo patients, respectively. During long-term therapy with ziprasidone, a categorization of patients at baseline on the basis of body mass index (BMI) revealed the greatest mean weight gain and highest incidence of clinically significant weight gain (> 7% of body weight) in patients with low BMI (<23) compared to normal (23–27) or overweight patients (>27). There was a mean weight gain of 1.4 kg for those patients with a "low" baseline BMI, no mean change for patients with a "normal" BMI, and a 1.3 kg mean weight loss for patients who entered the program with a "high" BMI.

Bipolar Disorder – During a 6-month placebo-controlled bipolar maintenance study in adults with ziprasidone as an adjunct to lithium or valproate, the incidence of clinically significant weight gain (≥ 7% of body weight) during the double-blind period was 5.6% for both ziprasidone and placebo treatment groups who completed the 6 months of observation for relapse. Interpretation of these findings should take into consideration that only patients who adequately tolerated ziprasidone entered the double-blind phase of the study, and there were substantial dropouts during the open label phase.

5.8 Rash

In premarketing trials with ziprasidone, about 5% of patients developed rash and/or urticaria, with discontinuation of treatment in about one-sixth of these cases. The occurrence of rash was related to dose of ziprasidone, although the finding might also be explained by the longer exposure time in the higher dose patients. Several patients with rash had signs and symptoms of associated systemic illness, e.g., elevated WBCs. Most patients improved promptly with adjunctive treatment with antihistamines or steroids and/or upon discontinuation of ziprasidone, and all patients experiencing these reactions were reported to recover completely. Upon appearance of rash for which an alternative etiology cannot be identified, ziprasidone should be discontinued.

5.9 Orthostatic Hypotension

Ziprasidone may induce orthostatic hypotension associated with dizziness, tachycardia, and, in some patients, syncope, especially during the initial dose-titration period, probably reflecting its α1-adrenergic antagonist properties. Syncope was reported in 0.6% of the patients treated with ziprasidone.

Ziprasidone should be used with particular caution in patients with known cardiovascular disease (history of myocardial infarction or ischemic heart disease, heart failure or conduction abnormalities), cerebrovascular disease, or conditions which would predispose patients to hypotension (dehydration, hypovolemia, and treatment with antihypertensive medications).

5.10 Falls

Antipsychotic drugs (which include GEODON) may cause somnolence, postural hypotension, and motor and sensory instability, which could lead to falls and, consequently, fractures or other injuries. For patients with diseases, conditions, or medications that could exacerbate these effects, complete fall risk assessments when initiating antipsychotic treatment and recurrently for patients on long-term antipsychotic therapy.

5.11 Leukopenia, Neutropenia, and Agranulocytosis

In clinical trial and postmarketing experience, events of leukopenia/neutropenia have been reported temporally related to antipsychotic agents. Agranulocytosis (including fatal cases) has also been reported.

Possible risk factors for leukopenia/neutropenia include pre-existing low white blood cell count (WBC) and history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia. Patients with a pre-existing low WBC or a history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia should have their complete blood count (CBC) monitored frequently during the first few months of therapy and should discontinue GEODON at the first sign of decline in WBC in the absence of other causative factors.

Patients with neutropenia should be carefully monitored for fever or other symptoms or signs of infection and treated promptly if such symptoms or signs occur. Patients with severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count <1000/mm3) should discontinue GEODON and have their WBC followed until recovery.

5.12 Seizures

During clinical trials, seizures occurred in 0.4% of patients treated with ziprasidone. There were confounding factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of seizures in many of these cases. As with other antipsychotic drugs, ziprasidone should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or with conditions that potentially lower the seizure threshold, e.g., Alzheimer's dementia. Conditions that lower the seizure threshold may be more prevalent in a population of 65 years or older.

5.13 Dysphagia

Esophageal dysmotility and aspiration have been associated with antipsychotic drug use. Aspiration pneumonia is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in elderly patients, in particular those with advanced Alzheimer's dementia. Ziprasidone and other antipsychotic drugs should be used cautiously in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia [see Boxed Warning].

5.14 Hyperprolactinemia

As with other drugs that antagonize dopamine D2 receptors, ziprasidone elevates prolactin levels in humans. Increased prolactin levels were also observed in animal studies with this compound, and were associated with an increase in mammary gland neoplasia in mice; a similar effect was not observed in rats [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)]. Tissue culture experiments indicate that approximately one-third of human breast cancers are prolactin-dependent in vitro, a factor of potential importance if the prescription of these drugs is contemplated in a patient with previously detected breast cancer. Neither clinical studies nor epidemiologic studies conducted to date have shown an association between chronic administration of this class of drugs and tumorigenesis in humans; the available evidence is considered too limited to be conclusive at this time.

Although disturbances such as galactorrhea, amenorrhea, gynecomastia, and impotence have been reported with prolactin-elevating compounds, the clinical significance of elevated serum prolactin levels is unknown for most patients. Long-standing hyperprolactinemia when associated with hypogonadism may lead to decreased bone density.

5.15 Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment

Somnolence was a commonly reported adverse reaction in patients treated with ziprasidone. In the 4- and 6-week placebo-controlled trials, somnolence was reported in 14% of patients on ziprasidone compared to 7% of placebo patients. Somnolence led to discontinuation in 0.3% of patients in short-term clinical trials. Since ziprasidone has the potential to impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills, patients should be cautioned about performing activities requiring mental alertness, such as operating a motor vehicle (including automobiles) or operating hazardous machinery until they are reasonably certain that ziprasidone therapy does not affect them adversely.

5.16 Priapism

One case of priapism was reported in the premarketing database. While the relationship of the reaction to ziprasidone use has not been established, other drugs with alpha-adrenergic blocking effects have been reported to induce priapism, and it is possible that ziprasidone may share this capacity. Severe priapism may require surgical intervention.

5.17 Body Temperature Regulation

Although not reported with ziprasidone in premarketing trials, disruption of the body's ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic agents. Appropriate care is advised when prescribing ziprasidone for patients who will be experiencing conditions which may contribute to an elevation in core body temperature, e.g., exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, receiving concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration.

5.18 Suicide

The possibility of a suicide attempt is inherent in psychotic illness or bipolar disorder, and close supervision of high-risk patients should accompany drug therapy. Prescriptions for ziprasidone should be written for the smallest quantity of capsules consistent with good patient management in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

5.19 Patients with Concomitant Illnesses

Clinical experience with ziprasidone in patients with certain concomitant systemic illnesses is limited [see Use in Specific Populations (8.6),( 8.7)].

Ziprasidone has not been evaluated or used to any appreciable extent in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable heart disease. Patients with these diagnoses were excluded from premarketing clinical studies. Because of the risk of QTc prolongation and orthostatic hypotension with ziprasidone, caution should be observed in cardiac patients. [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), (5.9)].

5.20 Laboratory Tests

Patients being considered for ziprasidone treatment that are at risk of significant electrolyte disturbances should have baseline serum potassium and magnesium measurements. Low serum potassium and magnesium should be replaced before proceeding with treatment. Patients who are started on diuretics during Ziprasidone therapy need periodic monitoring of serum potassium and magnesium. Ziprasidone should be discontinued in patients who are found to have persistent QTc measurements >500 msec [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

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