8 USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Published epidemiological studies on the association between ondansetron use and major birth defects have reported inconsistent findings and have important methodological limitations that preclude conclusions about the safety of ondansetron use in pregnancy (see Data). Available postmarketing data have not identified a drug-associated risk of miscarriage or adverse maternal outcomes. Reproductive studies in rats and rabbits did not show evidence of harm to the fetus when ondansetron was administered intravenously during organogenesis at approximately 3.6 and 2.9 times the maximum recommended human intravenous dose of 0.15 mg/kg given three times a day, based on body surface area (BSA), respectively (see Data).
The background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, miscarriages, or other adverse outcomes. In the US general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriages in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 20%, respectively.
Available data on ondansetron use in pregnant women from several published epidemiological studies preclude an assessment of a drug-associated risk of adverse fetal outcomes due to important methodological limitations, including the uncertainty of whether women who filled a prescription actually took the medication, the concomitant use of other medications or treatments, recall bias, and other unadjusted confounders.
Ondansetron exposure in utero has not been associated with overall major congenital malformations in aggregate analyses. One large retrospective cohort study examined 1970 women who received a prescription for ondansetron during pregnancy and reported no association between ondansetron exposure and major congenital malformations, miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, infants of low birth weight, or infants small for gestational age.
Two large retrospective cohort studies and one case-control study have assessed ondansetron exposure in the first trimester and risk of cardiovascular defects with inconsistent findings. Relative risks (RR) ranged from 0.97 (95% CI 0.86 to 1.10) to 1.62 (95% CI 1.04, 2.54). A subset analysis in one of the cohort studies observed that ondansetron was specifically associated with cardiac septal defects (RR 2.05, 95% CI 1.19, 3.28); however this association was not confirmed in other studies. Several studies have assessed ondansetron and the risk of oral clefts with inconsistent findings. A retrospective cohort study of 1.8 million pregnancies in the US Medicaid Database showed an increased risk of oral clefts among 88,467 pregnancies in which oral ondansetron was prescribed in the first trimester (RR 1.24, 95% CI 1.03, 1.48), but no such association was reported with intravenous ondansetron in 23,866 pregnancies (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.63, 1.43). In the subgroup of women who received both forms of administration, the RR was 1.07 (95% CI 0.59, 1.93). Two case-control studies, using data from birth defects surveillance programs, reported conflicting associations between maternal use of ondansetron and isolated cleft palate (OR 1.6 [95% CI 1.1, 2.3] and 0.5 [95% CI 0.3, 1.0]). It is unknown whether ondansetron exposure in utero in the cases of cleft palate occurred during the time of palate formation (the palate is formed between the 6th and 9th weeks of pregnancy).
In embryo-fetal development studies in rats and rabbits, pregnant animals received intravenous doses of ondansetron up to 10 mg/kg/day and 4 mg/kg/day, respectively, during the period of organogenesis. With the exception of short periods of maternal weight loss and a slight increase in the incidence of early uterine deaths at the high dose level in rabbits, there were no significant effects of ondansetron on the maternal animals or the development of the offspring. At doses of 10 mg/kg/day in rats and 4 mg/kg/day in rabbits, the maternal exposure margin was approximately 3.6 and 2.9 times the maximum recommended human oral dose of 0.15 mg/kg given three times a day, respectively, based on BSA.
No intravenous pre- and post-natal developmental toxicity study was performed with ondansetron. In an oral pre- and post-natal development study pregnant rats received oral doses of ondansetron up to 15 mg/kg/day from Day 17 of pregnancy to litter Day 21. With the exception of a slight reduction in maternal body weight gain, there were no effects upon the pregnant rats and the pre- and postnatal development of their offspring, including reproductive performance of the mated F1 generation.
It is not known whether ondansetron is present in human milk. There are no data on the effects of ondansetron on the breastfed infant or the effects on milk production. However, it has been demonstrated that ondansetron is present in the milk of rats. When a drug is present in animal milk, it is likely that the drug will be present in human milk.
The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for ondansetron and any potential adverse effects on the breast-fed infant from ondansetron or from the underlying maternal condition.
8.4 Pediatric Use
Little information is available about the use of ondansetron in pediatric surgical patients younger than 1 month [see Clinical Studies (14.2)]. Little information is available about the use of ondansetron in pediatric cancer patients younger than 6 months [see Clinical Studies (14.1), Dosage and Administration (2)].
The clearance of ondansetron in pediatric patients aged 1 month to 4 months is slower and the half-life is ~2.5-fold longer than patients who are aged > 4 to 24 months. As a precaution, it is recommended that patients younger than 4 months receiving this drug be closely monitored [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
8.5 Geriatric Use
Of the total number of subjects enrolled in cancer chemotherapy-induced and postoperative nausea and vomiting US- and foreign-controlled clinical trials, 862 were aged 65 years and older. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between subjects 65 years and older and younger subjects. A reduction in clearance and increase in elimination half-life were seen in patients older than 75 years compared with younger subjects [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. There were an insufficient number of patients older than 75 years of age and older in the clinical trials to permit safety or efficacy conclusions in this age-group. 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. Dosage adjustment is not needed in patients over the age of 65.
8.6 Hepatic Impairment
In patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh score of 10 or greater), clearance is reduced and apparent volume of distribution is increased with a resultant increase in plasma half-life [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. In such patients, a total daily dose of 8 mg should not be exceeded [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)].
8.7 Renal Impairment
Although plasma clearance is reduced in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance < 30 mL/min), no dosage adjustment is recommended [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].