5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
5.1 Reductions in Bone Mineral Density (BMD)
Reductions in bone mineral density (BMD) over time are seen with exemestane use. Table 1 describes changes in BMD from baseline to 24 months in patients receiving exemestane compared to patients receiving tamoxifen (IES) or placebo (027). Concomitant use of bisphosphonates, vitamin D supplementation, and calcium was not allowed.
|Lumbar spine (%)||-3.14||-0.18||-3.51||-2.35|
|Femoral neck (%)||-4.15||-0.33||-4.57||-2.59|
During adjuvant treatment with exemestane, women with osteoporosis or at risk of osteoporosis should have their bone mineral density formally assessed by bone densitometry at the commencement of treatment. Monitor patients for bone mineral density loss and treat as appropriate.
5.2 Vitamin D Assessment
Routine assessment of 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels prior to the start of aromatase inhibitor treatment should be performed, due to the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in women with early breast cancer (EBC). Women with vitamin D deficiency should receive supplementation with vitamin D.
5.3 Administration with Estrogen-Containing Agents
AROMASIN should not be coadministered with estrogen-containing agents as these could interfere with its pharmacologic action.
5.4 Laboratory Abnormalities
In patients with early breast cancer, the incidence of hematological abnormalities of Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) grade ≥1 was lower in the exemestane treatment group, compared with tamoxifen. Incidence of CTC grade 3 or 4 abnormalities was low (approximately 0.1%) in both treatment groups. Approximately 20% of patients receiving exemestane in clinical studies in advanced breast cancer experienced CTC grade 3 or 4 lymphocytopenia. Of these patients, 89% had a pre-existing lower grade lymphopenia. Forty percent of patients either recovered or improved to a lesser severity while on treatment. Patients did not have a significant increase in viral infections, and no opportunistic infections were observed. Elevations of serum levels of AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase, and gamma glutamyl transferase >5 times the upper value of the normal range (i.e., ≥ CTC grade 3) have been rarely reported in patients treated for advanced breast cancer but appear mostly attributable to the underlying presence of liver and/or bone metastases. In the comparative study in advanced breast cancer patients, CTC grade 3 or 4 elevation of gamma glutamyl transferase without documented evidence of liver metastasis was reported in 2.7% of patients treated with AROMASIN and in 1.8% of patients treated with megestrol acetate.
In patients with early breast cancer, elevations in bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, and creatinine were more common in those receiving exemestane than either tamoxifen or placebo. Treatment-emergent bilirubin elevations (any CTC grade) occurred in 5.3% of exemestane patients and 0.8% of tamoxifen patients on the Intergroup Exemestane Study (IES), and in 6.9% of exemestane treated patients vs. 0% of placebo treated patients in the 027 study. CTC grade 3–4 increases in bilirubin occurred in 0.9% of exemestane treated patients compared to 0.1% of tamoxifen treated patients. Alkaline phosphatase elevations of any CTC grade occurred in 15.0% of exemestane treated patients on the IES compared to 2.6% of tamoxifen treated patients, and in 13.7% of exemestane treated patients compared to 6.9% of placebo treated patients in study 027. Creatinine elevations occurred in 5.8% of exemestane treated patients and 4.3% of tamoxifen treated patients on the IES and in 5.5% of exemestane treated patients and 0% of placebo treated patients in study 027.
5.5 Use in Premenopausal Women
AROMASIN is not indicated for the treatment of breast cancer in premenopausal women.
5.6 Embryo-Fetal Toxicity
Based on findings from animal studies and its mechanism of action, AROMASIN can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. In animal reproduction studies, administration of exemestane to pregnant rats and rabbits caused increased incidence of abortions and embryo-fetal toxicity. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with AROMASIN and for 1 month after the last dose [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1), (8.3) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.1)].
6 ADVERSE REACTIONS
In the adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer, the most common adverse reactions occurring in ≥10% of patients in any treatment group (AROMASIN vs. tamoxifen) were mild to moderate hot flushes (21.2% vs. 19.9%), fatigue (16.1% vs. 14.7%), arthralgia (14.6% vs. 8.6%), headache (13.1% vs. 10.8%), insomnia (12.4% vs. 8.9%), and increased sweating (11.8% vs. 10.4%). Discontinuation rates due to AEs were similar between AROMASIN and tamoxifen (6.3% vs. 5.1%). Incidences of cardiac ischemic events (myocardial infarction, angina, and myocardial ischemia) were AROMASIN 1.6%, tamoxifen 0.6%. Incidence of cardiac failure: AROMASIN 0.4%, tamoxifen 0.3%.
In the treatment of advanced breast cancer, the most common adverse reactions were mild to moderate and included hot flushes (13% vs. 5%), nausea (9% vs. 5%), fatigue (8% vs. 10%), increased sweating (4% vs. 8%), and increased appetite (3% vs. 6%) for AROMASIN and megestrol acetate, respectively.
6.1 Clinical Trial Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.
The data described below reflect exposure to AROMASIN in 2325 postmenopausal women with early breast cancer. AROMASIN tolerability in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer was evaluated in two well-controlled trials: the IES study [See Clinical Studies (14.1)] and the 027 study (a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel group study specifically designed to assess the effects of exemestane on bone metabolism, hormones, lipids, and coagulation factors over 2 years of treatment).
The median duration of adjuvant treatment was 27.4 months and 27.3 months for patients receiving AROMASIN or tamoxifen, respectively, within the IES study and 23.9 months for patients receiving AROMASIN or placebo within the 027 study. Median duration of observation after randomization for AROMASIN was 34.5 months and for tamoxifen was 34.6 months. Median duration of observation was 30 months for both groups in the 027 study.
Certain adverse reactions, which were expected based on the known pharmacological properties and side effect profiles of test drugs, were actively sought through a positive checklist. Signs and symptoms were graded for severity using CTC in both studies. Within the IES study, the presence of some illnesses/conditions was monitored through a positive checklist without assessment of severity. These included myocardial infarction, other cardiovascular disorders, gynecological disorders, osteoporosis, osteoporotic fractures, other primary cancer, and hospitalizations.
Within the IES study, discontinuations due to adverse reactions occurred in 6.3% and 5.1% of patients receiving AROMASIN and tamoxifen, respectively, and in 12.3% and 4.1% of patients receiving exemestane or placebo respectively within study 027.
Deaths due to any cause were reported for 1.3% of the exemestane treated patients and 1.4% of the tamoxifen treated patients within the IES study. There were 6 deaths due to stroke on the exemestane arm compared to 2 on tamoxifen. There were 5 deaths due to cardiac failure on the exemestane arm compared to 2 on tamoxifen.
The incidence of cardiac ischemic events (myocardial infarction, angina, and myocardial ischemia) was 1.6% in exemestane treated patients and 0.6% in tamoxifen treated patients in the IES study. Cardiac failure was observed in 0.4% of exemestane treated patients and 0.3% of tamoxifen treated patients.
Treatment-emergent adverse reactions and illnesses including all causalities and occurring with an incidence of ≥5% in either treatment group of the IES study during or within one month of the end of treatment are shown in Table 2.
|% of patients|
|Body system and Adverse Reaction by MedDRA dictionary||AROMASIN
25 mg daily
20 mg daily†
|Pain in limb||9.0||6.4|
|Skin & Subcutaneous Tissue|
In the IES study, as compared to tamoxifen, AROMASIN was associated with a higher incidence of events in musculoskeletal disorders and in nervous system disorders, including the following events occurring with frequency lower than 5% (osteoporosis [4.6% vs. 2.8%], osteochondrosis and trigger finger [0.3% vs. 0 for both events], paresthesia [2.6% vs. 0.9%], carpal tunnel syndrome [2.4% vs. 0.2%], and neuropathy [0.6% vs. 0.1%]). Diarrhea was also more frequent in the exemestane group (4.2% vs. 2.2%). Clinical fractures were reported in 94 patients receiving exemestane (4.2%) and 71 patients receiving tamoxifen (3.1%). After a median duration of therapy of about 30 months and a median follow-up of about 52 months, gastric ulcer was observed at a slightly higher frequency in the AROMASIN group compared to tamoxifen (0.7% vs. <0.1%). The majority of patients on AROMASIN with gastric ulcer received concomitant treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents and/or had a prior history.
Tamoxifen was associated with a higher incidence of muscle cramps [3.1% vs. 1.5%], thromboembolism [2.0% vs. 0.9%], endometrial hyperplasia [1.7% vs. 0.6%], and uterine polyps [2.4% vs. 0.4%].
Common adverse reactions occurring in study 027 are described in Table 3.
Treatment of Advanced Breast Cancer
A total of 1058 patients were treated with exemestane 25 mg once daily in the clinical trials program. Only one death was considered possibly related to treatment with exemestane; an 80-year-old woman with known coronary artery disease had a myocardial infarction with multiple organ failure after 9 weeks on study treatment. In the clinical trials program, only 3% of the patients discontinued treatment with exemestane because of adverse reactions, mainly within the first 10 weeks of treatment; late discontinuations because of adverse reactions were uncommon (0.3%).
In the comparative study, adverse reactions were assessed for 358 patients treated with AROMASIN and 400 patients treated with megestrol acetate. Fewer patients receiving AROMASIN discontinued treatment because of adverse reactions than those treated with megestrol acetate (2% vs. 5%). Adverse reactions that were considered drug related or of indeterminate cause included hot flashes (13% vs. 5%), nausea (9% vs. 5%), fatigue (8% vs. 10%), increased sweating (4% vs. 8%), and increased appetite (3% vs. 6%) for AROMASIN and megestrol acetate, respectively. The proportion of patients experiencing an excessive weight gain (>10% of their baseline weight) was significantly higher with megestrol acetate than with AROMASIN (17% vs. 8%). Table 4 shows the adverse reactions of all CTC grades, regardless of causality, reported in 5% or greater of patients in the study treated either with AROMASIN or megestrol acetate.
|Body system and Adverse Reaction by WHO ART dictionary||AROMASIN
40 mg QID (N=400)
|Body as a Whole|
|Edema (includes edema, peripheral edema, leg edema)||7||6|
Less frequent adverse reactions of any cause (from 2% to 5%) reported in the comparative study for patients receiving AROMASIN 25 mg once daily were fever, generalized weakness, paresthesia, pathological fracture, bronchitis, sinusitis, rash, itching, urinary tract infection, and lymphedema.
Additional adverse reactions of any cause observed in the overall clinical trials program (N = 1058) in 5% or greater of patients treated with exemestane 25 mg once daily but not in the comparative study included pain at tumor sites (8%), asthenia (6%), and fever (5%). Adverse reactions of any cause reported in 2% to 5% of all patients treated with exemestane 25 mg in the overall clinical trials program but not in the comparative study included chest pain, hypoesthesia, confusion, dyspepsia, arthralgia, back pain, skeletal pain, infection, upper respiratory tract infection, pharyngitis, rhinitis, and alopecia.
6.2 Post-Marketing Experience
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of AROMASIN. Because reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Immune system disorders- hypersensitivity
Hepatobiliary disorders- hepatitis including cholestatic hepatitis
Nervous system disorders- paresthesia
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders- acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis, urticaria, pruritus
1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE
1.1 Adjuvant Treatment of Postmenopausal Women
AROMASIN is indicated for adjuvant treatment of postmenopausal women with estrogen-receptor positive early breast cancer who have received two to three years of tamoxifen and are switched to AROMASIN for completion of a total of five consecutive years of adjuvant hormonal therapy [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].
1.2 Advanced Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women
AROMASIN is indicated for the treatment of advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women whose disease has progressed following tamoxifen therapy [see Clinical Studies (14.2)].