Important information to assist HCPs in treating patients on MabThera (rituximab) for non-oncology indications
This material is provided by Roche Products Ltd as a licence requirement for this medicine and forms part of the Risk Management Plan.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL)MabThera is indicated for the treatment of previously untreated patients with stage III-IV follicular lymphoma in combination with chemotherapy. MabThera maintenance therapy is indicated for the treatment of follicular lymphoma patients responding to induction therapy. MabThera monotherapy is indicated for treatment of patients with stage III-IV follicular lymphoma who are chemoresistant or are in their second or subsequent relapse after chemotherapy. MabThera is indicated for the treatment of patients with CD20 positive diffuse large B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in combination with CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisolone) chemotherapy.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)MabThera in combination with chemotherapy is indicated for the treatment of patients with previously untreated and relapsed/refractory CLL. Only limited data are available on efficacy and safety for patients previously treated with monoclonal antibodies including MabThera or patients refractory to previous MabThera plus chemotherapy.See section 5.1 for further information.
Rheumatoid arthritisMabThera in combination with methotrexate is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with severe active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response or intolerance to other disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD) including one or more tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor therapies.MabThera has been shown to reduce the rate of progression of joint damage as measured by X-ray and to improve physical function, when given in combination with methotrexate.
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitisMabThera, in combination with glucocorticoids, is indicated for the induction of remission in adult patients with severe, active granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's) (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA).
PosologyIt is important to check the medicinal product labels to ensure that the appropriate formulation (intravenous or subcutaneous formulation) is being given to the patient, as prescribed.
Follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphomaCombination therapyThe recommended dose of MabThera in combination with chemotherapy for induction treatment of previously untreated or relapsed/ refractory patients with follicular lymphoma is: 375 mg/m2 body surface area per cycle, for up to 8 cycles.MabThera should be administered on day 1 of each chemotherapy cycle, after intravenous administration of the glucocorticoid component of the chemotherapy if applicable.Maintenance therapy• Previously untreated follicular lymphomaThe recommended dose of MabThera used as a maintenance treatment for patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma who have responded to induction treatment is: 375 mg/m2 body surface area once every 2 months (starting 2 months after the last dose of induction therapy) until disease progression or for a maximum period of two years.• Relapsed/refractory follicular lymphomaThe recommended dose of MabThera used as a maintenance treatment for patients with relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma who have responded to induction treatment is: 375 mg/m2 body surface area once every 3 months (starting 3 months after the last dose of induction therapy) until disease progression or for a maximum period of two years.Monotherapy• Relapsed/refractory follicular lymphomaThe recommended dose of MabThera monotherapy used as induction treatment for adult patients with stage III-IV follicular lymphoma who are chemoresistant or are in their second or subsequent relapse after chemotherapy is: 375 mg/m2 body surface area, administered as an intravenous infusion once weekly for four weeks. For retreatment with MabThera monotherapy for patients who have responded to previous treatment with MabThera monotherapy for relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma, the recommended dose is: 375 mg/m2 body surface area, administered as an intravenous infusion once weekly for four weeks (see section 5.1).
Diffuse large B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomaMabThera should be used in combination with CHOP chemotherapy. The recommended dosage is 375 mg/m2 body surface area, administered on day 1 of each chemotherapy cycle for 8 cycles after intravenous infusion of the glucocorticoid component of CHOP. Safety and efficacy of MabThera have not been established in combination with other chemotherapies in diffuse large B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Dose adjustments during treatmentNo dose reductions of MabThera are recommended. When MabThera is given in combination with chemotherapy, standard dose reductions for the chemotherapeutic medicinal products should be applied.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemiaProphylaxis with adequate hydration and administration of uricostatics starting 48 hours prior to start of therapy is recommended for CLL patients to reduce the risk of tumour lysis syndrome. For CLL patients whose lymphocyte counts are > 25 x 109/L it is recommended to administer prednisone/prednisolone 100 mg intravenous shortly before infusion with MabThera to decrease the rate and severity of acute infusion reactions and/or cytokine release syndrome.The recommended dosage of MabThera in combination with chemotherapy for previously untreated and relapsed/refractory patients is 375 mg/m2 body surface area administered on day 0 of the first treatment cycle followed by 500 mg/m2 body surface area administered on day 1 of each subsequent cycle for 6 cycles in total. The chemotherapy should be given after MabThera infusion.
Rheumatoid arthritisPatients treated with MabThera must be given the patient alert card with each infusion.A course of MabThera consists of two 1000 mg intravenous infusions. The recommended dosage of MabThera is 1000 mg by intravenous infusion followed by a second 1000 mg intravenous infusion two weeks later.The need for further courses should be evaluated 24 weeks following the previous course. Retreatment should be given at that time if residual disease activity remains, otherwise retreatment should be delayed until disease activity returns.Available data suggest that clinical response is usually achieved within 16 - 24 weeks of an initial treatment course. Continued therapy should be carefully reconsidered in patients who show no evidence of therapeutic benefit within this time period.
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitisPatients treated with MabThera must be given the patient alert card with each infusion. The recommended dosage of MabThera for induction of remission therapy of granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis is 375 mg/m2 body surface area, administered as an intravenous infusion once weekly for 4 weeks (four infusions in total). Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis is recommended for patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis or microscopic polyangiitis during and following MabThera treatment, as appropriate.
Paediatric populationThe safety and efficacy of MabThera in children below 18 years has not been established. No data are available.
ElderlyNo dose adjustment is required in elderly patients (aged >65 years).
Method of administrationThe prepared MabThera solution should be administered as an intravenous infusion through a dedicated line. It should not be administered as an intravenous push or bolus.Patients should be closely monitored for the onset of cytokine release syndrome (see section 4.4). Patients who develop evidence of severe reactions, especially severe dyspnoea, bronchospasm or hypoxia should have the infusion interrupted immediately. Patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma should then be evaluated for evidence of tumour lysis syndrome including appropriate laboratory tests and, for pulmonary infiltration, with a chest X-ray. In all patients, the infusion should not be restarted until complete resolution of all symptoms, and normalisation of laboratory values and chest X-ray findings. At this time, the infusion can be initially resumed at not more than one-half the previous rate. If the same severe adverse reactions occur for a second time, the decision to stop the treatment should be seriously considered on a case by case basis.Mild or moderate infusion-related reactions (IRR) (section 4.8) usually respond to a reduction in the rate of infusion. The infusion rate may be increased upon improvement of symptoms.
First infusionThe recommended initial rate for infusion is 50 mg/h; after the first 30 minutes, it can be escalated in 50 mg/h increments every 30 minutes, to a maximum of 400 mg/h.
All indicationsSubsequent doses of MabThera can be infused at an initial rate of 100 mg/h, and increased by 100 mg/h increments at 30 minute intervals, to a maximum of 400 mg/h.
Rheumatoid arthritis onlyAlternative subsequent, faster, infusion scheduleIf patients did not experience a serious infusion related reaction with their first or subsequent infusions of a dose of 1000 mg MabThera administered over the standard infusion schedule, a more rapid infusion can be administered for second and subsequent infusions using the same concentration as in previous infusions (4 mg/mL in a 250 mL volume). Initiate at a rate of 250mg/hour for the first 30 minutes and then 600 mg/hour for the next 90 minutes. If the more rapid infusion is tolerated, this infusion schedule can be used when administering subsequent infusions.Patients who have clinically significant cardiovascular disease, including arrhythmias, or previous serious infusion reactions to any prior biologic therapy or to rituximab, should not be administered the more rapid infusion.
Contraindications for use in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemiaHypersensitivity to the active substance or to murine proteins, or to any of the other excipients listed in section 6.1.Active, severe infections (see section 4.4).Patients in a severely immunocompromised state.
Contraindications for use in rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitisHypersensitivity to the active substance or to murine proteins, or to any of the other excipients listed in section 6.1.Active, severe infections (see section 4.4).Patients in a severely immunocompromised state.Severe heart failure (New York Heart Association Class IV) or severe, uncontrolled cardiac disease (see section 4.4 regarding other cardiovascular diseases).
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathyAll patients treated with MabThera for rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis must be given the patient alert card with each infusion. The alert card contains important safety information for patients regarding potential increased risk of infections, including progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).Very rare cases of fatal PML have been reported following use of MabThera. Patients must be monitored at regular intervals for any new or worsening neurological symptoms or signs that may be suggestive of PML. If PML is suspected, further dosing must be suspended until PML has been excluded. The clinician should evaluate the patient to determine if the symptoms are indicative of neurological dysfunction, and if so, whether these symptoms are possibly suggestive of PML. Consultation with a Neurologist should be considered as clinically indicated.If any doubt exists, further evaluation, including MRI scan preferably with contrast, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) testing for JC Viral DNA and repeat neurological assessments, should be considered. The physician should be particularly alert to symptoms suggestive of PML that the patient may not notice (e.g. cognitive, neurological or psychiatric symptoms). Patients should also be advised to inform their partner or caregivers about their treatment, since they may notice symptoms that the patient is not aware of.If a patient develops PML, the dosing of MabThera must be permanently discontinued. Following reconstitution of the immune system in immunocompromised patients with PML, stabilisation or improved outcome has been seen. It remains unknown if early detection of PML and suspension of MabThera therapy may lead to similar stabilisation or improved outcome.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
Infusion related reactionsMabThera is associated with infusion related reactions, which may be related to release of cytokines and/or other chemical mediators. Cytokine release syndrome may be clinically indistinguishable from acute hypersensitivity reactions.This set of reactions which includes syndrome of cytokine release, tumour lysis syndrome and anaphylactic and hypersensitivity reactions are described below. They are not specifically related to the route of administration of MabThera and can be observed with both formulations.Severe infusion-related reactions with fatal outcome have been reported during post-marketing use of the MabThera intravenous formulation, with an onset ranging within 30 minutes to 2 hours after starting the first MabThera intravenous infusion. They were characterized by pulmonary events and in some cases included rapid tumour lysis and features of tumour lysis syndrome in addition to fever, chills, rigors, hypotension, urticaria, angioedema and other symptoms (see section 4.8).Severe cytokine release syndrome is characterised by severe dyspnoea, often accompanied by bronchospasm and hypoxia, in addition to fever, chills, rigors, urticaria, and angioedema. This syndrome may be associated with some features of tumour lysis syndrome such as hyperuricaemia, hyperkalaemia, hypocalcaemia, hyperphosphataemia, acute renal failure, elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and may be associated with acute respiratory failure and death. The acute respiratory failure may be accompanied by events such as pulmonary interstitial infiltration or oedema, visible on a chest X-ray. The syndrome frequently manifests itself within one or two hours of initiating the first infusion. Patients with a history of pulmonary insufficiency or those with pulmonary tumour infiltration may be at greater risk of poor outcome and should be treated with increased caution. Patients who develop severe cytokine release syndrome should have their infusion interrupted immediately (see section 4.2) and should receive aggressive symptomatic treatment. Since initial improvement of clinical symptoms may be followed by deterioration, these patients should be closely monitored until tumour lysis syndrome and pulmonary infiltration have been resolved or ruled out. Further treatment of patients after complete resolution of signs and symptoms has rarely resulted in repeated severe cytokine release syndrome.Patients with a high tumour burden or with a high number (≥25 x 109/L) of circulating malignant cells such as patients with CLL, who may be at higher risk of especially severe cytokine release syndrome, should be treated with extreme caution. These patients should be very closely monitored throughout the first infusion. Consideration should be given to the use of a reduced infusion rate for the first infusion in these patients or a split dosing over two days during the first cycle and any subsequent cycles if the lymphocyte count is still >25 x 109/L.Infusion related adverse reactions of all kinds have been observed in 77% of patients treated with MabThera (including cytokine release syndrome accompanied by hypotension and bronchospasm in 10 % of patients) see section 4.8. These symptoms are usually reversible with interruption of MabThera infusion and administration of an anti-pyretic, an antihistaminic, and, occasionally, oxygen, intravenous saline or bronchodilators, and glucocorticoids if required. Please see cytokine release syndrome above for severe reactions.Anaphylactic and other hypersensitivity reactions have been reported following the intravenous administration of proteins to patients. In contrast to cytokine release syndrome, true hypersensitivity reactions typically occur within minutes after starting infusion. Medicinal products for the treatment of hypersensitivity reactions, e.g., epinephrine (adrenaline), antihistamines and glucocorticoids, should be available for immediate use in the event of an allergic reaction during administration of MabThera. Clinical manifestations of anaphylaxis may appear similar to clinical manifestations of the cytokine release syndrome (described above). Reactions attributed to hypersensitivity have been reported less frequently than those attributed to cytokine release.Additional reactions reported in some cases were myocardial infarction, atrial fibrillation, pulmonary oedema and acute reversible thrombocytopenia.Since hypotension may occur during MabThera administration, consideration should be given to withholding anti-hypertensive medicines 12 hours prior to the MabThera infusion.
Cardiac disordersAngina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmias such as atrial flutter and fibrillation, heart failure and/or myocardial infarction have occurred in patients treated with MabThera. Therefore patients with a history of cardiac disease and/or cardiotoxic chemotherapy should be monitored closely.
Haematological toxicitiesAlthough MabThera is not myelosuppressive in monotherapy, caution should be exercised when considering treatment of patients with neutrophils < 1.5 x 109/L and/or platelet counts < 75 x 109/L as clinical experience in this population is limited. MabThera has been used in 21 patients who underwent autologous bone marrow transplantation and other risk groups with a presumable reduced bone marrow function without inducing myelotoxicity.Regular full blood counts, including neutrophil and platelet counts, should be performed during MabThera therapy.
InfectionsSerious infections, including fatalities, can occur during therapy with MabThera (see section 4.8). MabThera should not be administered to patients with an active, severe infection (e.g. tuberculosis, sepsis and opportunistic infections, see section 4.3).Physicians should exercise caution when considering the use of MabThera in patients with a history of recurring or chronic infections or with underlying conditions which may further predispose patients to serious infection (see section 4.8). Cases of hepatitis B reactivation have been reported in subjects receiving MabThera including fulminant hepatitis with fatal outcome. The majority of these subjects were also exposed to cytotoxic chemotherapy. Limited information from one study in relapsed/refractory CLL patients suggests that MabThera treatment may also worsen the outcome of primary hepatitis B infections. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) screening should be performed in all patients before initiation of treatment with MabThera. At minimum this should include HBsAg-status and HBcAb-status. These can be complemented with other appropriate markers as per local guidelines. Patients with active hepatitis B disease should not be treated with MabThera. Patients with positive hepatitis B serology (either HBsAg or HBcAb) should consult liver disease experts before start of treatment and should be monitored and managed following local medical standards to prevent hepatitis B reactivation.Very rare cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been reported during post-marketing use of MabThera in NHL and CLL (see section 4.8). The majority of patients had received MabThera in combination with chemotherapy or as part of a hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
ImmunisationsThe safety of immunisation with live viral vaccines, following MabThera therapy has not been studied for NHL and CLL patients and vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended. Patients treated with MabThera may receive non-live vaccinations. However with non-live vaccines response rates may be reduced. In a non-randomised study, patients with relapsed low-grade NHL who received MabThera monotherapy when compared to healthy untreated controls had a lower rate of response to vaccination with tetanus recall antigen (16% vs. 81%) and Keyhole Limpet Haemocyanin (KLH) neoantigen (4% vs. 76% when assessed for >2-fold increase in antibody titer). For CLL patients similar results are assumable considering similarities between both diseases but that has not been investigated in clinical trials.Mean pre-therapeutic antibody titres against a panel of antigens (Streptococcus pneumoniae, influenza A, mumps, rubella, varicella) were maintained for at least 6 months after treatment with MabThera.
Skin reactionsSevere skin reactions such as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (Lyell's syndrome) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, some with fatal outcome, have been reported (see section 4.8). In case of such an event, with a suspected relationship to MabThera, treatment should be permanently discontinued. Rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis
Methotrexate (MTX) naïve populations with rheumatoid arthritisThe use of MabThera is not recommended in MTX-naïve patients since a favourable benefit risk relationship has not been established.
Infusion related reactionsMabThera is associated with infusion related reactions (IRRs), which may be related to release of cytokines and/or other chemical mediators. Premedication consisting of an analgesic/anti-pyretic drug and an anti-histaminic drug, should always be administered before each infusion of MabThera. In rheumatoid arthritis premedication with glucocorticoids should also be administered before each infusion of MabThera in order to reduce the frequency and severity of IRRs (see section 4.2 and section 4.8). Severe IRRs with fatal outcome have been reported in rheumatoid arthritis patients in the post-marketing setting. In rheumatoid arthritis most infusion-related events reported in clinical trials were mild to moderate in severity. The most common symptoms were allergic reactions like headache, pruritus, throat irritation, flushing, rash, urticaria, hypertension, and pyrexia. In general, the proportion of patients experiencing any infusion reaction was higher following the first infusion than following the second infusion of any treatment course. The incidence of IRR decreased with subsequent courses (see section 4.8). The reactions reported were usually reversible with a reduction in rate, or interruption, of MabThera infusion and administration of an anti-pyretic, an antihistamine, and, occasionally, oxygen, intravenous saline or bronchodilators, and glucocorticoids if required. Closely monitor patients with pre-existing cardiac conditions and those who experienced prior cardiopulmonary adverse reactions. Depending on the severity of the IRR and the required interventions, temporarily or permanently discontinue MabThera. In most cases, the infusion can be resumed at a 50 % reduction in rate (e.g. from 100 mg/h to 50 mg/h) when symptoms have completely resolved.Medicinal products for the treatment of hypersensitivity reactions, e.g. epinephrine (adrenaline), antihistamines and glucocorticoids, should be available for immediate use in the event of an allergic reaction during administration of MabThera. There are no data on the safety of MabThera in patients with moderate heart failure (NYHA class III) or severe, uncontrolled cardiovascular disease. In patients treated with MabThera, the occurrence of pre-existing ischemic cardiac conditions becoming symptomatic, such as angina pectoris, has been observed, as well as atrial fibrillation and flutter. Therefore, in patients with a known cardiac history, and those who experienced prior cardiopulmonary adverse reactions, the risk of cardiovascular complications resulting from infusion reactions should be considered before treatment with MabThera and patients closely monitored during administration. Since hypotension may occur during MabThera infusion, consideration should be given to withholding anti-hypertensive medications 12 hours prior to the MabThera infusion.IRRs for patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis were similar to those seen for rheumatoid arthritis patients in clinical trials (see section 4.8).
Cardiac disordersAngina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmias such as atrial flutter and fibrillation, heart failure and/or myocardial infarction have occurred in patients treated with MabThera. Therefore patients with a history of cardiac disease should be monitored closely (see Infusion related reactions, above).
InfectionsBased on the mechanism of action of MabThera and the knowledge that B cells play an important role in maintaining normal immune response, patients have an increased risk of infection following MabThera therapy (see section 5.1). Serious infections, including fatalities, can occur during therapy with MabThera (see section 4.8). MabThera should not be administered to patients with an active, severe infection (e.g. tuberculosis, sepsis and opportunistic infections, see section 4.3) or severely immunocompromised patients (e.g. where levels of CD4 or CD8 are very low). Physicians should exercise caution when considering the use of MabThera in patients with a history of recurring or chronic infections or with underlying conditions which may further predispose patients to serious infection, e.g. hypogammaglobulinaemia (see section 4.8). It is recommended that immunoglobulin levels are determined prior to initiating treatment with MabThera.Patients reporting signs and symptoms of infection following MabThera therapy should be promptly evaluated and treated appropriately. Before giving a subsequent course of MabThera treatment, patients should be re-evaluated for any potential risk for infections.Very rare cases of fatal progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been reported following use of MabThera for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and vasculitis.
Hepatitis B InfectionsCases of hepatitis B reactivation, including those with a fatal outcome, have been reported in rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis patients receiving MabThera.Hepatitis B virus (HBV) screening should be performed in all patients before initiation of treatment with MabThera. At minimum this should include HBsAg-status and HBcAb-status. These can be complemented with other appropriate markers as per local guidelines. Patients with active hepatitis B disease should not be treated with MabThera. Patients with positive hepatitis B serology (either HBsAg or HBcAb) should consult liver disease experts before start of treatment and should be monitored and managed following local medical standards to prevent hepatitis B reactivation.
Late neutropeniaMeasure blood neutrophils prior to each course of MabThera, and regularly up to 6-months after cessation of treatment, and upon signs or symptoms of infection (see section 4.8).
Skin reactionsSevere skin reactions such as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (Lyell's syndrome) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, some with fatal outcome, have been reported (see section 4.8). In case of such an event with a suspected relationship to MabThera, treatment should be permanently discontinued. ImmunisationPhysicians should review the patient's vaccination status and follow current immunisation guidelines prior to MabThera therapy. Vaccination should be completed at least 4 weeks prior to first administration of MabThera.The safety of immunisation with live viral vaccines following MabThera therapy has not been studied. Therefore vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended whilst on MabThera or whilst peripherally B cell depleted. Patients treated with MabThera may receive non-live vaccinations. However, response rates to non-live vaccines may be reduced. In a randomised trial, patients with rheumatoid arthritis treated with MabThera and methotrexate had comparable response rates to tetanus recall antigen (39% vs. 42%), reduced rates to pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (43% vs. 82% to at least 2 pneumococcal antibody serotypes), and KLH neoantigen (47% vs. 93%), when given 6 months after MabThera as compared to patients only receiving methotrexate. Should non-live vaccinations be required whilst receiving MabThera therapy, these should be completed at least 4 weeks prior to commencing the next course of MabThera. In the overall experience of MabThera repeat treatment over one year in rheumatoid arthritis, the proportions of patients with positive antibody titres against S. pneumoniae, influenza, mumps, rubella, varicella and tetanus toxoid were generally similar to the proportions at baseline.
Concomitant/sequential use of other DMARDs in rheumatoid arthritisThe concomitant use of MabThera and anti-rheumatic therapies other than those specified under the rheumatoid arthritis indication and posology is not recommended.There are limited data from clinical trials to fully assess the safety of the sequential use of other DMARDs (including TNF inhibitors and other biologics) following MabThera (see section 4.5). The available data indicate that the rate of clinically relevant infection is unchanged when such therapies are used in patients previously treated with MabThera, however patients should be closely observed for signs of infection if biologic agents and/or DMARDs are used following MabThera therapy.
MalignancyImmunomodulatory drugs may increase the risk of malignancy. On the basis of limited experience with MabThera in rheumatoid arthritis patients (see section 4.8) the present data do not seem to suggest any increased risk of malignancy. However, the possible risk for the development of solid tumours cannot be excluded at this time.
Contraception in males and femalesDue to the long retention time of rituximab in B cell depleted patients, women of childbearing potential should use effective contraceptive methods during and for 12 months following treatment with MabThera.
PregnancyIgG immunoglobulins are known to cross the placental barrier.B cell levels in human neonates following maternal exposure to MabThera have not been studied in clinical trials. There are no adequate and well-controlled data from studies in pregnant women, however transient B-cell depletion and lymphocytopenia have been reported in some infants born to mothers exposed to MabThera during pregnancy. Similar effects have been observed in animal studies (see section 5.3). For these reasons MabThera should not be administered to pregnant women unless the possible benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Breast-feedingWhether rituximab is excreted in human milk is not known. However, because maternal IgG is excreted in human milk, and rituximab was detectable in milk from lactating monkeys, women should not breastfeed while treated with MabThera and for 12 months following MabThera treatment.
FertilityAnimal studies did not reveal deleterious effects of rituximab on reproductive organs.
Experience from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
Summary of the safety profileThe overall safety profile of MabThera in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and CLL is based on data from patients from clinical trials and from post-marketing surveillance. These patients were treated either with MabThera monotherapy (as induction treatment or maintenance treatment following induction treatment) or in combination with chemotherapy. The most frequently observed adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in patients receiving MabThera were IRRs which occurred in the majority of patients during the first infusion. The incidence of infusion-related symptoms decreases substantially with subsequent infusions and is less than 1% after eight doses of MabThera.Infectious events (predominantly bacterial and viral) occurred in approximately 30-55 % of patients during clinical trials in patients with NHL and in 30-50 % of patients during clinical trials in patients with CLL.The most frequent reported or observed serious adverse drug reactions were:• IRRs (including cytokine-release syndrome, tumour-lysis syndrome), see section 4.4.• Infections, see section 4.4.• Cardiovascular events, see section 4.4.Other serious ADRs reported include hepatitis B reactivation and PML (see section 4.4.).
Tabulated list of adverse reactionsThe frequencies of ADRs reported with MabThera alone or in combination with chemotherapy are summarised in Table 1. Within each frequency grouping, undesirable effects are presented in order of decreasing seriousness. Frequencies are defined as very common (≥ 1/10), common (≥ 1/100 to < 1/10), uncommon (≥ 1/1,000 to < 1/100), rare (≥ 1/10,000 to < 1/1000), very rare (< 1/10,000) and not known (cannot be estimated from the available data).The ADRs identified only during post-marketing surveillance, and for which a frequency could not be estimated, are listed under not known.Table 1 ADRs reported in clinical trials or during postmarketing surveillance in patients with NHL and CLL disease treated with MabThera monotherapy/maintenance or in combination with chemotherapy
|System Organ Class||Very Common||Common||Uncommon||Rare||Very Rare||Not known|
|Infections and infestations||bacterial infections, viral infections, +bronchitis||sepsis, +pneumonia, +febrile infection, +herpes zoster, +respiratory tract infection, fungal infections, infections of unknown aetiology, +acute bronchitis, +sinusitis, hepatitis B1||serious viral infection2 Pneumocystis jirovecii||PML|
|Blood and lymphatic system disorders||neutropenia, leucopenia, +febrile neutropenia, +thrombo-cytopenia||anaemia, +pancytopenia, +granulo-cytopenia||coagulation disorders, aplastic anaemia, haemolytic anaemia, lymph-adenopathy||transient increase in serum IgM levels3||late neutropenia3|
|Immune system disorders||infusion related reactions4, angioedema||hypersensitivity||anaphylaxis||tumour lysis syndrome, cytokine release syndrome4, serum sickness||infusion-related acute reversible thrombo-cytopenia4|
|Metabolism and nutrition disorders||hyperglycaemia, weight decrease, peripheral oedema, face oedema, increased LDH, hypocalcaemia|
|Psychiatric disorders||depression, nervousness,|
|Nervous system disorders||paraesthesia, hypoaesthesia, agitation, insomnia, vasodilatation, dizziness, anxiety||Dysgeusia||peripheral neuropathy, facial nerve palsy5||cranial neuropathy, loss of other senses5|
|Eye disorders||lacrimation disorder, conjunctivitis||severe vision loss5|
|Ear and labyrinth disorders||tinnitus, ear pain||hearing loss5|
|Cardiac disorders||+myocardial infarction4 and 6, arrhythmia, +atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, +cardiac disorder||+left ventricular failure, +supra-ventricular tachycardia, +ventricular tachycardia, +angina, +myocardial ischaemia, bradycardia||severe cardiac disorders 4 and 6||heart failure4 and 6|
|Vascular disorders||hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, hypotension||vasculitis (predominately cutaneous), leukocytoclastic vasculitis|
|Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders||Bronchospasm4, respiratory disease, chest pain, dyspnoea, increased cough, rhinitis||asthma, bronchiolitis obliterans, lung disorder, hypoxia||interstitial lung disease7||respiratory failure4,||lung infiltration,|
|Gastrointestinal disorders||nausea||vomiting , diarrhoea, abdominal pain, dysphagia, stomatitis, constipation, dyspepsia, anorexia, throat irritation||abdominal enlargement||gastrointestinal perforation7|
|Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders||pruritus, rash, +alopecia||urticaria, sweating, night sweats, +skin disorder||severe bullous skin reactions, Stevens-Johnson syndrome toxic epidermal necrolysis (Lyell's syndrome) 7|
|Musculoskeletal, connective tissue and bone disorders||hypertonia, myalgia, arthralgia, back pain, neck pain, pain|
|Renal and urinary disorders||renal failure4|
|General disorders and administration site conditions||fever , chills, asthenia, headache||tumour pain, flushing, malaise, cold syndrome, +fatigue, +shivering, +multi-organ failure4||infusion site pain|
|Investigations||decreased IgG levels|
|For each term, the frequency count was based on reactions of all grades (from mild to severe), except for terms marked with "+" where the frequency count was based only on severe (≥ grade 3 NCI common toxicity criteria) reactions. Only the highest frequency observed in the trials is reported 1 includes reactivation and primary infections; frequency based on R-FC regimen in relapsed/refractory CLL 2 see also section infection below 3 see also section haematologic adverse reactions below 4 see also section infusion related reactions below. Rarely fatal cases reported 5 signs and symptoms of cranial neuropathy. Occurred at various times up to several months after completion of MabThera therapy 6 observed mainly in patients with prior cardiac condition and/or cardiotoxic chemotherapy and were mostly associated with infusion-related reactions 7 includes fatal cases|
Description of selected adverse reactions
InfectionsMabThera induces B-cell depletion in about 70-80% of patients, but was associated with decreased serum immunoglobulins only in a minority of patients. Localized candida infections as well as Herpes zoster were reported at a higher incidence in the MabThera-containing arm of randomised studies. Severe infections were reported in about 4% of patients treated with MabThera monotherapy. Higher frequencies of infections overall, including grade 3 or 4 infections, were observed during MabThera maintenance treatment up to 2 years when compared to observation.There was no cumulative toxicity in terms of infections reported over a 2-year treatment period. In addition, other serious viral infections either new, reactivated or exacerbated, some of which were fatal, have been reported with MabThera treatment. The majority of patients had received MabThera in combination with chemotherapy or as part of a haematopoetic stem cell transplant. Examples of these serious viral infections are infections caused by the herpes viruses (Cytomegalovirus, Varicella Zoster Virus and Herpes Simplex Virus), JC virus (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)) and hepatitis C virus. Cases of fatal PML that occurred after disease progression and retreatment have also been reported in clinical trials. Cases of hepatitis B reactivation, have been reported, the majority of which were in patients receiving MabThera in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy. In patients with relapsed/refractory CLL, the incidence of grade 3/4 hepatitis B infection (reactivation and primary infection) was 2% in R-FC vs 0% FC. Progression of Kaposi's sarcoma has been observed in MabThera-exposed patients with pre-existing Kaposi's sarcoma. These cases occurred in non-approved indications and the majority of patients were HIV positive.
Haematologic adverse reactionsIn clinical trials with MabThera monotherapy given for 4 weeks, haematological abnormalities occurred in a minority of patients and were usually mild and reversible. Severe (grade 3/4) neutropenia was reported in 4.2%, anaemia in 1.1% and thrombocytopenia in 1.7 % of the patients. During MabThera maintenance treatment for up to 2 years, leucopenia (5% vs. 2%, grade 3/4) and neutropenia (10% vs. 4 %, grade 3/4) were reported at a higher incidence when compared to observation. The incidence of thrombocytopenia was low (<1%, grade 3/4%) and was not different between treatment arms. During the treatment course in studies with MabThera in combination with chemotherapy, grade 3/4 leucopenia (R-CHOP 88% vs. CHOP 79%, R-FC 23% vs. FC 12%), neutropenia (R-CVP 24% vs. CVP 14%; R-CHOP 97% vs. CHOP 88%, R-FC 30% vs. FC 19% in previously untreated CLL), pancytopenia (R-FC 3% vs. FC 1% in previously untreated CLL) were usually reported with higher frequencies when compared to chemotherapy alone. However, the higher incidence of neutropenia in patients treated with MabThera and chemotherapy was not associated with a higher incidence of infections and infestations compared to patients treated with chemotherapy alone. Studies in previously untreated and relapsed/refractory CLL have established that in up to 25% of patients treated with R-FC neutropenia was prolonged (defined as neutrophil count remaining below 1x109/L between day 24 and 42 after the last dose) or occurred with a late onset (defined as neutrophil count below 1x109/L later than 42 days after last dose in patients with no previous prolonged neutropenia or who recovered prior to day 42) following treatment with MabThera plus FC. There were no differences reported for the incidence of anaemia. Some cases of late neutropenia occurring more than four weeks after the last infusion of MabThera were reported. In the CLL first-line study, Binet stage C patients experienced more adverse events in the R-FC arm compared to the FC arm (R-FC 83% vs. FC 71%). In the relapsed/refractory CLL study grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia was reported in 11% of patients in the R-FC group compared to 9% of patients in the FC group. In studies of MabThera in patients with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia, transient increases in serum IgM levels have been observed following treatment initiation, which may be associated with hyperviscosity and related symptoms. The transient IgM increase usually returned to at least baseline level within 4 months.
Cardiovascular adverse reactionsCardiovascular reactions during clinical trials with MabThera monotherapy were reported in 18.8% of patients with the most frequently reported events being hypotension and hypertension. Cases of grade 3 or 4 arrhythmia (including ventricular and supraventricular tachycardia) and angina pectoris during infusion were reported. During maintenance treatment, the incidence of grade 3/4 cardiac disorders was comparable between patients treated with MabThera and observation. Cardiac events were reported as serious adverse events (including atrial fibrillation, myocardial infarction, left ventricular failure, myocardial ischaemia) in 3% of patients treated with MabThera compared to <1% on observation. In studies evaluating MabThera in combination with chemotherapy, the incidence of grade 3 and 4 cardiac arrhythmias, predominantly supraventricular arrhythmias such as tachycardia and atrial flutter/fibrillation, was higher in the R-CHOP group (14 patients, 6.9%) as compared to the CHOP group (3 patients, 1.5%). All of these arrhythmias either occurred in the context of a MabThera infusion or were associated with predisposing conditions such as fever, infection, acute myocardial infarction or pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular disease. No difference between the R-CHOP and CHOP group was observed in the incidence of other grade 3 and 4 cardiac events including heart failure, myocardial disease and manifestations of coronary artery disease. In CLL, the overall incidence of grade 3 or 4 cardiac disorders was low both in the first-line study (4% R-FC, 3% FC) and in the relapsed/refractory study (4% R-FC, 4% FC).
Respiratory systemCases of interstitial lung disease, some with fatal outcome have been reported.
Neurologic disordersDuring the treatment period (induction treatment phase comprising of R-CHOP for at most eight cycles), four patients (2 %) treated with R-CHOP, all with cardiovascular risk factors, experienced thromboembolic cerebrovascular accidents during the first treatment cycle. There was no difference between the treatment groups in the incidence of other thromboembolic events. In contrast, three patients (1.5%) had cerebrovascular events in the CHOP group, all of which occurred during the follow-up period. In CLL, the overall incidence of grade 3 or 4 nervous system disorders was low both in the first-line study (4% R-FC, 4% FC) and in the relapsed/refractory study (3% R-FC, 3% FC). Cases of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) / reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) have been reported. Signs and symptoms included visual disturbance, headache, seizures and altered mental status, with or without associated hypertension. A diagnosis of PRES/RPLS requires confirmation by brain imaging. The reported cases had recognized risk factors for PRES/RPLS, including the patients' underlying disease, hypertension, immunosuppressive therapy and/or chemotherapy.
Gastrointestinal disordersGastrointestinal perforation in some cases leading to death has been observed in patients receiving MabThera for treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the majority of these cases, MabThera was administered with chemotherapy.
IgG levelsIn the clinical trial evaluating MabThera maintenance treatment in relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma, median IgG levels were below the lower limit of normal (LLN) (< 7 g/L) after induction treatment in both the observation and the MabThera groups. In the observation group, the median IgG level subsequently increased to above the LLN, but remained constant in the MabThera group. The proportion of patients with IgG levels below the LLN was about 60% in the MabThera group throughout the 2 year treatment period, while it decreased in the observation group (36% after 2 years).A small number of spontaneous and literature cases of hypogammaglobulinaemia have been observed in paediatric patients treated with MabThera, in some cases severe and requiring long-term immunoglobulin substitution therapy. The consequences of long term B cell depletion in paediatric patients are unknown.
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disordersToxic Epidermal Necrolysis (Lyell syndrome) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, some with fatal outcome, have been reported very rarely.
Patient subpopulations - MabThera monotherapyElderly patients (≥ 65 years): The incidence of ADRs of all grades and grade 3 /4 ADR was similar in elderly patients compared to younger patients (<65 years). Bulky disease There was a higher incidence of grade 3/4 ADRs in patients with bulky disease than in patients without bulky disease (25.6 % vs. 15.4 %). The incidence of ADRs of any grade was similar in these two groups.Re-treatmentThe percentage of patients reporting ADRs upon re-treatment with further courses of MabThera was similar to the percentage of patients reporting ADRs upon initial exposure (any grade and grade 3/4 ADRs).
Patient subpopulations - MabThera combination therapyElderly patients (≥ 65 years) The incidence of grade 3/4 blood and lymphatic adverse events was higher in elderly patients compared to younger patients (<65 years), with previously untreated or relapsed/refractory CLL.
Experience from rheumatoid arthritis
Summary of the safety profileThe overall safety profile of MabThera in rheumatoid arthritis is based on data from patients from clinical trials and from post-marketing surveillance.The safety profile of MabThera in patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is summarized in the sections below. In clinical trials more than 3100 patients received at least one treatment course and were followed for periods ranging from 6 months to over 5 years; approximately 2400 patients received two or more courses of treatment with over 1000 having received 5 or more courses. The safety information collected during post marketing experience reflects the expected adverse reaction profile as seen in clinical trials for MabThera (see section 4.4). Patients received 2 x 1000 mg of MabThera separated by an interval of two weeks; in addition to methotrexate (10-25 mg/week). MabThera infusions were administered after an intravenous infusion of 100 mg methylprednisolone; patients also received treatment with oral prednisone for 15 days.
Tabulated list of adverse reactionsAdverse reactions are listed in Table 2. Frequencies are defined as very common (≥1/10), common (≥1/100 to <1/10), uncommon (≥1/1,000 to <1/100), and very rare (<1/10,000). Within each frequency grouping, undesirable effects are presented in order of decreasing seriousness.The most frequent adverse reactions considered due to receipt of MabThera were IRRs. The overall incidence of IRRs in clinical trials was 23% with the first infusion and decreased with subsequent infusions. Serious IRRs were uncommon (0.5% of patients) and were predominantly seen during the initial course. In addition to adverse reactions seen in RA clinical trials for MabThera, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) (see section 4.4) and serum sickness-like reaction have been reported during post marketing experience.Table 2 Summary of adverse drug reactions reported in clinical trials or during postmarketing surveillance occurring in patients with rheumatoid arthritis receiving MabThera
|System Organ Class||Very Common||Common||Uncommon||Rare||Very rare|
|Infections and Infestations||upper respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infections||Bronchitis, sinusitis, gastroenteritis, tinea pedis||PML, reactivation of hepatitis B|
|Blood and lymphatic system disorders||neutropenia1||late neutropenia2||Serum sickness-like reaction|
|Cardiac disorders||Angina pectoris, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, myocardial infarction||Atrial flutter|
|Immune system disorders||3Infusion related reactions (hypertension, nausea, rash, pyrexia, pruritus, urticaria, throat irritation, hot flush, hypotension, rhinitis, rigors, tachycardia, fatigue, oropharyngeal pain, peripheral oedema, erythema)||3Infusion related reactions (generalized oedema, bronchospasm, wheezing, laryngeal oedema, angioneurotic oedema, generalized pruritus, anaphylaxis, anaphylactoid reaction)|
|General disorders and administration site conditions|
|Metabolism and nutritional disorders||hypercholesterolemia|
|Nervous system disorders||headache||paraesthesia, migraine, dizziness, sciatica|
|Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders||alopecia||Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (Lyell's syndrome), Stevens-Johnson syndrome5|
|Psychiatric disorders||depression, anxiety|
|Gastrointestinal disorders||Dyspepsia, diarrhoea, gastro-oesophageal reflux, mouth ulceration, upper abdominal pain|
|Musculo skeletal disorders||arthralgia / musculoskeletal pain, osteoarthritis, bursitis|
|Investigations||decreased IgM levels4||decreased IgG levels4|
|1 Frequency category derived from laboratory values collected as part of routine laboratory monitoring in clinical trials 2 Frequency category derived from post-marketing data. 3 Reactions occurring during or within 24 hours of infusion. See also infusion-related reactions below. IRRs may occur as a result of hypersensitivity and/or to the mechanism of action. 4 Includes observations collected as part of routine laboratory monitoring. 5 Includes fatal cases|
Multiple coursesMultiple courses of treatment are associated with a similar ADR profile to that observed following first exposure. The rate of all ADRs following first MabThera exposure was highest during the first 6 months and declined thereafter. This is mostly accounted for by IRRs (most frequent during the first treatment course), RA exacerbation and infections, all of which were more frequent in the first 6 months of treatment.
Infusion-related reactionsThe most frequent ADRs following receipt of MabThera in clinical studies were IRRs (refer to Table 2). Among the 3189 patients treated with MabThera, 1135 (36%) experienced at least one IRR with 733/3189 (23%) of patients experiencing an IRR following first infusion of the first exposure to MabThera. The incidence of IRRs declined with subsequent infusions. In clinical trials fewer than 1% (17/3189) of patients experienced a serious IRR. There were no CTC Grade 4 IRRs and no deaths due to IRRs in the clinical trials. The proportion of CTC Grade 3 events and of IRRs leading to withdrawal decreased by course and were rare from course 3 onwards. Premedication with intravenous glucocorticoid significantly reduced the incidence and severity of IRRs (see sections 4.2 and 4.4). Severe IRRs with fatal outcome have been reported in the post-marketing setting.In a trial designed to evaluate the safety of a more rapid MabThera infusion in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, patients with moderate-to-severe active RA who did not experience a serious IRR during or within 24 hours of their first studied infusion were allowed to receive a 2-hour intravenous infusion of MabThera. Patients with a history of a serious infusion reaction to a biologic therapy for RA were excluded from entry. The incidence, types and severity of IRRs were consistent with that observed historically. No serious IRRs were observed.
Description of selected adverse reactions
InfectionsThe overall rate of infection was approximately 94 per 100 patient years in MabThera treated patients. The infections were predominately mild to moderate and consisted mostly of upper respiratory tract infections and urinary tract infections. The incidence of infections that were serious or required IV antibiotics was approximately 4 per 100 patient years. The rate of serious infections did not show any significant increase following multiple courses of MabThera. Lower respiratory tract infections (including pneumonia) have been reported during clinical trials, at a similar incidence in the MabThera arms compared to control arms.Cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy with fatal outcome have been reported following use of MabThera for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. This includes rheumatoid arthritis and off-label autoimmune diseases, including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and vasculitis.In patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma receiving MabThera in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy, cases of hepatitis B reactivation have been reported (see non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). Reactivation of hepatitis B infection has also been very rarely reported in RA patients receiving MabThera (see Section 4.4).
Cardiovascular adverse reactionsSerious cardiac reactions were reported at a rate of 1.3 per 100 patient years in the MabThera treated patients compared to 1.3 per 100 patient years in placebo treated patients. The proportions of patients experiencing cardiac reactions (all or serious) did not increase over multiple courses.
Neurologic eventsCases of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) / reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) have been reported. Signs and symptoms included visual disturbance, headache, seizures and altered mental status, with or without associated hypertension. A diagnosis of PRES/RPLS requires confirmation by brain imaging. The reported cases had recognised risk factors for PRES/RPLS, including the patients' underlying disease, hypertension, immunosuppressive therapy and/or chemotherapy.
NeutropeniaEvents of neutropenia were observed with MabThera treatment, the majority of which were transient and mild or moderate in severity. Neutropenia can occur several months after the administration of MabThera (see section 4.4).In placebo-controlled periods of clinical trials, 0.94% (13/1382) of MabThera treated patients and 0.27% (2/731) of placebo patients developed severe neutropenia.Neutropenic events, including severe late onset and persistent neutropenia, have been rarely reported in the post-marketing setting, some of which were associated with fatal infections.
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disordersToxic Epidermal Necrolysis (Lyell's syndrome) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, some with fatal outcome, have been reported very rarely.
Laboratory abnormalitiesHypogammaglobulinaemia (IgG or IgM below the lower limit of normal) has been observed in RA patients treated with MabThera. There was no increased rate in overall infections or serious infections after the development of low IgG or IgM (see section 4.4). A small number of spontaneous and literature cases of hypogammaglobulinaemia have been observed in paediatric patients treated with MabThera, in some cases severe and requiring long-term immunoglobulin substitution therapy. The consequences of long term B cell depletion in paediatric patients are unknown.
Experience from granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitisIn the clinical trial in granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangitis, 99 patients were treated with MabThera (375 mg/m2, once weekly for 4 weeks) and glucocorticoids (see section 5.1).
Tabulated list of adverse reactionsThe ADRs listed in Table 3 were all adverse events which occurred at an incidence of ≥ 5% in the MabThera group.Table 3 Adverse drug reactions occurring at 6-months in ≥ 5% of patients receiving MabThera, and at a higher frequency than the comparator group, in the pivotal clinical study.
|Body system Adverse event||Rituximab (n=99)|
|Blood and lymphatic system disorders|
|General disorders and administration site conditions|
|Immune system disorders|
|Cytokine release syndrome||5%|
|Infections and infestations|
|Urinary tract infection||7%|
|Metabolism and nutrition disorders|
|Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders|
|Pain in extremities||5%|
|Nervous system disorders|
|Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders|
|Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders|
Selected adverse drug reactions
Infusion related reactionsIRRs in the GPA and MPA clinical trial were defined as any adverse event occurring within 24 hours of an infusion and considered to be infusion-related by investigators in the safety population. Ninety nine patients were treated with MabThera and 12% experienced at least one IRR. All IRRs were CTC Grade 1 or 2. The most common IRRs included cytokine release syndrome, flushing, throat irritation, and tremor. MabThera was given in combination with intravenous glucocorticoids which may reduce the incidence and severity of these events.
InfectionsIn the 99 MabThera patients, the overall rate of infection was approximately 237 per 100 patient years (95% CI 197 - 285) at the 6-month primary endpoint. Infections were predominately mild to moderate and consisted mostly of upper respiratory tract infections, herpes zoster and urinary tract infections. The rate of serious infections was approximately 25 per 100 patient years. The most frequently reported serious infection in the MabThera group was pneumonia at a frequency of 4%.
MalignanciesThe incidence of malignancy in MabThera treated patients in the granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis clinical study was 2.00 per 100 patient years at the study common closing date (when the final patient had completed the follow-up period). On the basis of standardized incidence ratios, the incidence of malignancies appears to be similar to that previously reported in patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis.
Cardiovascular adverse reactionsCardiac events occurred at a rate of approximately 273 per 100 patient years (95% CI 149-470) at the 6-month primary endpoint. The rate of serious cardiac events was 2.1 per 100 patient years (95% CI 3 -15). The most frequently reported events were tachycardia (4%) and atrial fibrillation (3%) (see Section 4.4).
Neurologic eventsCases of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) / reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) have been reported in autoimmune conditions. Signs and symptoms included visual disturbance, headache, seizures and altered mental status, with or without associated hypertension. A diagnosis of PRES/RPLS requires confirmation by brain imaging. The reported cases had recognised risk factors for PRES/RPLS, including the patients' underlying disease, hypertension, immunosuppressive therapy and/or chemotherapy.
Hepatitis-B reactivationA small number of cases of hepatitis-B reactivation, some with fatal outcome, have been reported in granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis patients receiving MabThera in the postmarketing setting.
HypogammaglobulinaemiaHypogammaglobulinaemia (IgA, IgG or IgM below the lower limit of normal) has been observed in granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis patients treated with MabThera. At 6 months, in the active-controlled, randomised, double-blind, multicenter, non-inferiority trial, in the MabThera group, 27%, 58% and 51% of patients with normal immunoglobulin levels at baseline, had low IgA, IgG and IgM levels, respectively compared to 25%, 50% and 46% in the cyclophosphamide group. There was no increased rate in overall infections or serious infections in patients with low IgA, IgG or IgM.
NeutropeniaIn the active-controlled, randomised, double-blind, multicenter, non-inferiority trial of MabThera in granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis, 24% of patients in the MabThera group (single course) and 23% of patients in the cyclophosphamide group developed CTC grade 3 or greater neutropenia. Neutropenia was not associated with an observed increase in serious infection in MabThera-treated patients. The effect of multiple MabThera courses on the development of neutropenia in granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis patients has not been studied in clinical trials.
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disordersToxic Epidermal Necrolysis (Lyell's syndrome) and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, some with fatal outcome, have been reported very rarely.
Reporting of suspected adverse reactionsReporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions (see details below).
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Clinical experience in Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
MonotherapyInitial treatment, weekly for 4 doses In the pivotal trial, 166 patients with relapsed or chemoresistant low-grade or follicular B cell NHL received 375 mg/m2 of MabThera as an intravenous infusion once weekly for four weeks. The overall response rate (ORR) in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population was 48 % (CI95 % 41 % - 56 %) with a 6 % complete response (CR) and a 42 % partial response (PR) rate. The projected median time to progression (TTP) for responding patients was 13.0 months. In a subgroup analysis, the ORR was higher in patients with IWF B, C, and D histological subtypes as compared to IWF A subtype (58 % vs. 12 %), higher in patients whose largest lesion was < 5 cm vs. > 7 cm in greatest diameter (53 % vs. 38 %), and higher in patients with chemosensitive relapse as compared to chemoresistant (defined as duration of response < 3 months) relapse (50 % vs. 22 %). ORR in patients previously treated with autologous bone marrow transplant (ABMT) was 78 % versus 43 % in patients with no ABMT. Neither age, sex, lymphoma grade, initial diagnosis, presence or absence of bulky disease, normal or high LDH nor presence of extranodal disease had a statistically significant effect (Fisher's exact test) on response to MabThera. A statistically significant correlation was noted between response rates and bone marrow involvement. 40 % of patients with bone marrow involvement responded compared to 59 % of patients with no bone marrow involvement (p=0.0186). This finding was not supported by a stepwise logistic regression analysis in which the following factors were identified as prognostic factors: histological type, bcl-2 positivity at baseline, resistance to last chemotherapy and bulky disease.Initial treatment, weekly for 8 doses In a multi-centre, single-arm trial, 37 patients with relapsed or chemoresistant, low grade or follicular B cell NHL received 375 mg/m2 of MabThera as intravenous infusion weekly for eight doses. The ORR was 57 % (95% Confidence interval (CI); 41% 73%; CR 14 %, PR 43%) with a projected median TTP for responding patients of 19.4 months (range 5.3 to 38.9 months).Initial treatment, bulky disease, weekly for 4 doses In pooled data from three trials, 39 patients with relapsed or chemoresistant, bulky disease (single lesion ≥ 10 cm in diameter), low grade or follicular B cell NHL received 375 mg/m2 of MabThera as intravenous infusion weekly for four doses. The ORR was 36 % (CI95 % 21 % 51 %; CR 3 %, PR 33 %) with a median TTP for responding patients of 9.6 months (range 4.5 to 26.8 months).Re-treatment, weekly for 4 dosesIn a multi-centre, single-arm trial, 58 patients with relapsed or chemoresistant low grade or follicular B cell NHL, who had achieved an objective clinical response to a prior course of MabThera, were re-treated with 375 mg/m2 of MabThera as intravenous infusion weekly for four doses. Three of the patients had received two courses of MabThera before enrolment and thus were given a third course in the study. Two patients were re-treated twice in the study. For the 60 re-treatments on study, the ORR was 38 % (CI95 % 26 % 51 %; 10 % CR, 28 % PR) with a projected median TTP for responding patients of 17.8 months (range 5.4 26.6). This compares favourably with the TTP achieved after the prior course of MabThera (12.4 months).
Initial treatment, in combination with chemotherapyIn an open-label randomised trial, a total of 322 previously untreated patients with follicular lymphoma were randomised to receive either CVP chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide 750 mg/m2, vincristine 1.4 mg/m2 up to a maximum of 2 mg on day 1, and prednisolone 40 mg/m2/day on days 1 -5) every 3 weeks for 8 cycles or MabThera 375 mg/m2 in combination with CVP (R-CVP). MabThera was administered on the first day of each treatment cycle. A total of 321 patients (162 R-CVP, 159 CVP) received therapy and were analysed for efficacy. The median follow up of patients was 53 months. R-CVP led to a significant benefit over CVP for the primary endpoint, time to treatment failure (27 months vs. 6.6 months, p < 0.0001, log-rank test). The proportion of patients with a tumour response (CR, CRu, PR) was significantly higher (p< 0.0001 Chi-Square test) in the R-CVP group (80.9 %) than the CVP group (57.2 %). Treatment with R-CVP significantly prolonged the time to disease progression or death compared to CVP, 33.6 months and 14.7 months, respectively (p < 0.0001, log-rank test). The median duration of response was 37.7 months in the R-CVP group and was 13.5 months in the CVP group (p < 0.0001, log-rank test). The difference between the treatment groups with respect to overall survival showed a significant clinical difference (p=0.029, log-rank test stratified by centre): survival rates at 53 months were 80.9 % for patients in the R-CVP group compared to 71.1 % for patients in the CVP group.Results from three other randomised trials using MabThera in combination with chemotherapy regimen other than CVP (CHOP, MCP, CHVP/Interferon-α) have also demonstrated significant improvements in response rates, time-dependent parameters as well as in overall survival. Key results from all four studies are summarized in table 4. Table 4 Summary of key results from four phase III randomised studies evaluating the benefit of MabThera with different chemotherapy regimens in follicular lymphoma
|Study||Treatment, N||Median FU, months||ORR, %||CR, %||Median TTF/PFS/ EFS mo||OS rates, %|
|M39021||CVP, 159 R-CVP, 162||53||57 81||10 41||Median TTP: 14.7 33.6 P<0.0001||53-months 71.1 80.9 p=0.029|
|GLSG'00||CHOP, 205 R-CHOP, 223||18||90 96||17 20||Median TTF: 2.6 years Not reached p < 0.001||18-months 90 95 p = 0.016|
|OSHO-39||MCP, 96 R-MCP, 105||47||75 92||25 50||Median PFS: 28.8 Not reached p < 0.0001||48-months 74 87 p = 0.0096|
|FL2000||CHVP-IFN, 183 R-CHVP-IFN, 175||42||85 94||49 76||Median EFS: 36 Not reached p < 0.0001||42-months 84 91 p = 0.029|
Maintenance therapyPreviously untreated follicular lymphoma In a prospective, open label, international, multi-centre, phase III trial 1193 patients with previously untreated advanced follicular lymphoma received induction therapy with R-CHOP (n=881), R-CVP (n=268) or R-FCM (n=44), according to the investigators' choice. A total of 1078 patients responded to induction therapy, of which 1018 were randomised to MabThera maintenance therapy (n=505) or observation (n=513). The two treatment groups were well balanced with regards to baseline characteristics and disease status. MabThera maintenance treatment consisted of a single infusion of MabThera at 375 mg/m2 body surface area given every 2 months until disease progression or for a maximum period of two years. After a median observation time of 25 months from randomization, maintenance therapy with MabThera resulted in a clinically relevant and statistically significant improvement in the primary endpoint of investigator assessed progression-free survival (PFS) as compared to observation in patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma (Table 5). Significant benefit from maintenance treatment with MabThera was also seen for the secondary endpoints event-free survival (EFS), time to next anti-lymphoma treatment (TNLT) time to next chemotherapy (TNCT) and overall response rate (ORR) (Table 5). The results of the primary analysis were confirmed with longer follow-up (median observation time: 48 months and 73 months), and have been added to Table 5 to show the comparison between the 25 and 48 and 73 month follow up periods.Table 5 Maintenance phase: overview of efficacy results MabThera vs. observation after 73 months median observation time (compared with results of primary analysis based on 25 months median observation time, and updated analysis based on 48 months median observation time)
|Observation N=513||MabThera N=505||Log-rank P value||Risk reduction|
|PFS (median)||48.5 months [48.4 months] (NR)||NR[NR] (NR)||<0.0001[<0.0001] (<0.0001)||42% [45%] (50%)|
|EFS (median)||48.4 months[47.6 months] (37.8 months)||NR [NR] (NR)||<0.0001 [< 0.0001] (< 0.0001)||39% [42%] (46%)|
|OS (median)||NR [NR] (NR)||NR [NR] (NR)||0.8959 [0.9298] (0.7246)||-2% [-2%] (11%)|
|TNLT (median)||71.0 months [60.2 months] (NR)||NR [NR] (NR)||<0.0001 [<0.0001] (0.0003)||37% [39%] (39%)|
|TNCT (median)||85.1 months [NR] (NR)||NR [NR] (NR)||0.0006 [0.0006] (0.0011)||30% [34%] (40%)|
|ORR*||60.7% [60.7%] (55.0%)||79.0% [79.0%] (74.0%)||<0.0001# [<0.0001#] (< 0.0001)||OR=2.43 [OR=2.43] (OR =2.33)|
|Complete response (CR/CRu) rate*||52.7% [52.7%] (47.7%)||66.8% [72.2%] (66.8%)||<0.0001 [<0.0001] (< 0.0001)||OR=2.34 [OR=2.34] [ (OR = 2.21)|
Relapsed/Refractory follicular lymphomaIn a prospective, open label, international, multi-centre, phase III trial, 465 patients with relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma were randomised in a first step to induction therapy with either CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisolone; n=231) or MabThera plus CHOP (R-CHOP, n=234). The two treatment groups were well balanced with regard to baseline characteristics and disease status. A total of 334 patients achieving a complete or partial remission following induction therapy were randomised in a second step to MabThera maintenance therapy (n=167) or observation (n=167). MabThera maintenance treatment consisted of a single infusion of MabThera at 375 mg/m2 body surface area given every 3 months until disease progression or for a maximum period of two years. The final efficacy analysis included all patients randomised to both parts of the study. After a median observation time of 31 months for patients randomised to the induction phase, R-CHOP significantly improved the outcome of patients with relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma when compared to CHOP (see Table 6).
Table 6 Induction phase: overview of efficacy results for CHOP vs. R-CHOP (31 months median observation time)
|ORR2)||74 %||87 %||0.0003||Na|
|CR2)||16 %||29 %||0.0005||Na|
|PR2)||58 %||58 %||0.9449||Na|
Table 7 Maintenance phase: overview of efficacy results MabThera vs. observation (28 months median observation time)
|Efficacy Parameter||Kaplan-Meier Estimate of Median Time to Event (Months)||Risk Reduction|
|Observation (N = 167)||MabThera (N=167)||Log-Rank p value|
|Progression-free survival (PFS)||14.3||42.2||< 0.0001||61 %|
|Overall survival||NR||NR||0.0039||56 %|
|Time to new lymphoma treatmentDisease-free survivala||20.1 16.5||38.853.7||< 0.00010.0003||50 %67 %|
|Subgroup analysis PFS CHOP R-CHOP CR PR OS CHOP R-CHOP||11.6 22.1 14.3 14.3 NR NR||37.5 51.9 52.8 37.8 NR NR||< 0.0001 0.0071 0.0008 < 0.0001 0.0348 0.0482||71 % 46 % 64 % 54 % 55 % 56 %|
Diffuse large B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomaIn a randomised, open-label trial, a total of 399 previously untreated elderly patients (age 60 to 80 years) with diffuse large B cell lymphoma received standard CHOP chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide 750 mg/m2, doxorubicin 50 mg/m2, vincristine 1.4 mg/m2 up to a maximum of 2 mg on day 1, and prednisolone 40 mg/m2/day on days 1-5) every 3 weeks for eight cycles, or MabThera 375 mg/m2 plus CHOP (R-CHOP). MabThera was administered on the first day of the treatment cycle. The final efficacy analysis included all randomised patients (197 CHOP, 202 R-CHOP), and had a median follow-up duration of approximately 31 months. The two treatment groups were well balanced in baseline disease characteristics and disease status. The final analysis confirmed that R-CHOP treatment was associated with a clinically relevant and statistically significant improvement in the duration of event-free survival (the primary efficacy parameter; where events were death, relapse or progression of lymphoma, or institution of a new anti-lymphoma treatment) (p = 0.0001). Kaplan Meier estimates of the median duration of event-free survival were 35 months in the R-CHOP arm compared to 13 months in the CHOP arm, representing a risk reduction of 41 %. At 24 months, estimates for overall survival were 68.2 % in the R-CHOP arm compared to 57.4 % in the CHOP arm. A subsequent analysis of the duration of overall survival, carried out with a median follow-up duration of 60 months, confirmed the benefit of R-CHOP over CHOP treatment (p=0.0071), representing a risk reduction of 32 %.The analysis of all secondary parameters (response rates, progression-free survival, disease-free survival, duration of response) verified the treatment effect of R-CHOP compared to CHOP. The complete response rate after cycle 8 was 76.2 % in the R-CHOP group and 62.4 % in the CHOP group (p=0.0028). The risk of disease progression was reduced by 46 % and the risk of relapse by 51 %.In all patients subgroups (gender, age, age adjusted IPI, Ann Arbor stage, ECOG, β2 microglobulin, LDH, albumin, B symptoms, bulky disease, extranodal sites, bone marrow involvement), the risk ratios for event-free survival and overall survival (R-CHOP compared with CHOP) were less than 0.83 and 0.95 respectively. R-CHOP was associated with improvements in outcome for both high- and low-risk patients according to age adjusted IPI.
Clinical laboratory findingsOf 67 patients evaluated for human anti-mouse antibody (HAMA), no responses were noted. Of 356 patients evaluated for HACA, 1.1 % (4 patients) were positive.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemiaIn two open-label randomised trials, a total of 817 previously untreated patients and 552 patients with relapsed/refractory CLL were randomised to receive either FC chemotherapy (fludarabine 25 mg/m2, cyclophosphamide 250 mg/m2, days 1-3) every 4 weeks for 6 cycles or MabThera in combination with FC (R-FC). MabThera was administered at a dosage of 375 mg/m2 during the first cycle one day prior to chemotherapy and at a dosage of 500 mg/m2 on day 1 of each subsequent treatment cycle. Patients were excluded from the study in relapsed/refractory CLL if they had previously been treated with monoclonal antibodies or if they were refractory (defined as failure to achieve a partial remission for at least 6 months) to fludarabine or any nucleoside analogue. A total of 810 patients (403 R-FC, 407 FC) for the first-line study (Table 8a and Table 8b) and 552 patients (276 R-FC, 276 FC) for the relapsed/refractory study (Table 9) were analysed for efficacy.In the first-line study, after a median observation time of 48.1 months, the median PFS was 55 months in the R-FC group and 33 months in the FC group (p < 0.0001, log-rank test). The analysis of overall survival showed a significant benefit of R-FC treatment over FC chemotherapy alone (p = 0.0319, log-rank test) (Table 8a). The benefit in terms of PFS was consistently observed in most patient subgroups analysed according to disease risk at baseline (i.e. Binet stages A-C) (Table 8b).Table 8a First-line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
Overview of efficacy results for MabThera plus FC vs. FC alone - 48.1 months median observation time
|Efficacy Parameter||Kaplan-Meier Estimate of Median Time to Event (Months)||Risk Reduction|
|FC (N = 409)||R-FC (N=408)||Log-Rank p value|
|Progression-free survival (PFS)||32.8||55.3||<0.0001||45%|
|Event free survival||31.3||51.8||<0.0001||44%|
|Response rate (CR, nPR, or PR)CR rates||72.6%16.9%||85.8%36.0%||<0.0001<0.0001||n.a.n.a.|
|Duration of response*||36.2||57.3||<0.0001||44%|
|Disease free survival (DFS)**||48.9||60.3||0.0520||31%|
|Time to new treatment||47.2||69.7||<0.0001||42%|
Table 8b First-line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
Hazard ratios of progression-free survival according to Binet stage (ITT) 48.1 months median observation time
|Progression-free survival (PFS)||Number of patients||Hazard Ratio (95% CI)||p-value (Wald test, not adjusted)|
|Binet stage A||22||18||0.39 (0.15; 0.98)||0.0442|
|Binet stage B||259||263||0.52 (0.41; 0.66)||<0.0001|
|Binet stage C||126||126||0.68 (0.49; 0.95)||0.0224|
|Efficacy Parameter||Kaplan-Meier Estimate of Median Time to Event (Months)||Risk Reduction|
|FC (N = 276)||R-FC (N=276)||Log-Rank p value|
|Progression-free survival (PFS)||20.6||30.6||0.0002||35%|
|Event free survival||19.3||28.7||0.0002||36%|
|Response rate (CR, nPR, or PR) CR rates Duration of response *Disease free survival (DFS)**Time to new CLL treatment||58.0%13.0% 27.642.234.2||69.9% 24.3% 39.639.6NR||0.00340.0007 0.02520.88420.0024||n.a.n.a.31%-6% 35%|
Response rate and CR rates analysed using Chi-squared Test.*: only applicable to patients achieving a CR, nPR, PR; NR: not reached n.a. not applicable **: only applicable to patients achieving a CR; Results from other supportive studies using MabThera in combination with other chemotherapy regimens (including CHOP, FCM, PC, PCM, bendamustine and cladribine) for the treatment of previously untreated and/or relapsed/refractory CLL patients have also demonstrated high overall response rates with benefit in terms of PFS rates, albeit with modestly higher toxicity (especially myelotoxicity). These studies support the use of MabThera with any chemotherapy.Data in approximately 180 patients pre-treated with MabThera have demonstrated clinical benefit (including CR) and are supportive for MabThera re-treatment.
Paediatric populationThe European Medicines Agency has waived the obligation to submit the results of studies with MabThera in all subsets of the paediatric population with follicular lymphoma and CLL. See Section 4.2 for information on paediatric use.
Clinical experience in rheumatoid arthritisThe efficacy and safety of MabThera in alleviating the symptoms and signs of rheumatoid arthritis in patients with an inadequate response to TNF-inhibitors was demonstrated in a pivotal randomised, controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial (Trial 1). Trial 1 evaluated 517 patients that had experienced an inadequate response or intolerance to one or more TNF inhibitor therapies. Eligible patients had active rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosed according to the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). MabThera was administered as two IV infusions separated by an interval of 15 days. Patients received 2 x 1000 mg intravenous infusions of MabThera or placebo in combination with MTX. All patients received concomitant 60 mg oral prednisone on days 2-7 and 30 mg on days 8-14 following the first infusion. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients who achieved an ACR20 response at week 24. Patients were followed beyond week 24 for long term endpoints, including radiographic assessment at 56 weeks and at 104 weeks. During this time, 81% of patients, from the original placebo group received MabThera between weeks 24 and 56, under an open label extension study protocol. Trials of MabThera in patients with early arthritis (patients without prior methotrexate treatment and patients with an inadequate response to methotrexate, but not yet treated with TNF-alpha inhibitors) have met their primary endpoints. MabThera is not indicated for these patients, since the safety data about long-term MabThera treatment are insufficient, in particular concerning the risk of development of malignancies and PML.
Disease activity outcomesMabThera in combination with methotrexate significantly increased the proportion of patients achieving at least a 20 % improvement in ACR score compared with patients treated with methotrexate alone (Table 10). Across all development studies the treatment benefit was similar in patients independent of age, gender, body surface area, race, number of prior treatments or disease status.Clinically and statistically significant improvement was also noted on all individual components of the ACR response (tender and swollen joint counts, patient and physician global assessment, disability index scores (HAQ), pain assessment and C-Reactive Proteins (mg/dL).
Table 10 Clinical response outcomes at primary endpoint in Trial 1(ITT population)
|Outcome||Placebo+MTX||MabThera+MTX (2 x 1000 mg)|
|Trial 1||N= 201||N= 298|
|ACR20||36 (18%)||153 (51%)***|
|ACR50||11 (5%)||80 (27%)***|
|ACR70||3 (1%)||37 (12%)***|
|EULAR Response (Good/Moderate)||44 (22%)||193 (65%)***|
|Mean Change in DAS||-0.34||-1.83***|
Radiographic responseStructural joint damage was assessed radiographically and expressed as change in modified Total Sharp Score (mTSS) and its components, the erosion score and joint space narrowing score.In Trial 1, conducted in patients with inadequate response or intolerance to one or more TNF inhibitor therapies, receiving MabThera in combination with methotrexate demonstrated significantly less radiographic progression than patients originally receiving methotrexate alone at 56 weeks. Of the patients originally receiving methotrexate alone, 81 % received MabThera either as rescue between weeks 16-24 or in the extension trial, before week 56. A higher proportion of patients receiving the original MabThera/MTX treatment also had no erosive progression over 56 weeks (Table 11).
Table 11 Radiographic outcomes at 1 year (mITT population)
|Placebo+MTX||MabThera+MTX 2 × 1000 mg|
|Trial 1||(n = 184)||(n = 273)|
|Mean change from baseline:|
|Modified total sharp score||2.30||1.01*|
|Joint space narrowing score||0.98||0.41**|
|Proportion of patients with no radiographic change||46%||53%, NS|
|Proportion of patients with no erosive change||52%||60%, NS|
Physical function and quality of life outcomesSignificant reductions in disability index (HAQ-DI) and fatigue (FACIT-Fatigue) scores were observed in patients treated with MabThera compared to patients treated with methotrexate alone. The proportions of MabThera treated patients showing a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in HAQ-DI (defined as an individual total score decrease of >0.22) was also higher than among patients receiving methotrexate alone (Table 12).Significant improvement in health related quality of life was also demonstrated with significant improvement in both the physical health score (PHS) and mental health score (MHS) of the SF-36. Further, a significantly higher proportion of patients achieved MCIDs for these scores (Table 12).
Table 12 Physical Function and Quality of Life outcomes at week 24 in Trial 1
|Outcome||Placebo+MTX||MabThera+MTX (2 x 1000 mg)|
|Mean change in HAQ-DI % HAQ-DI MCID Mean change in FACIT-T Mean Change in SF-36 PHS % SF-36 PHS MCID Mean change in SF-36 MHS % SF-36 MHS MCID||n=201 0.1 20% -0.5 n=197 0.9 13% 1.3 20%||n=298 -0.4*** 51% -9.1*** n=294 5.8*** 48%*** 4.7** 38%*|
Efficacy in autoantibody (RF and or anti-CCP) seropositive patientsPatients seropositive to Rheumatoid Factor (RF) and/or anti- Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (anti-CCP) who were treated with MabThera in combination with methotrexate showed an enhanced response compared to patients negative to both.Efficacy outcomes in MabThera treated patients were analysed based on autoantibody status prior to commencing treatment. At Week 24, patients who were seropositive to RF and/or anti-CCP at baseline had a significantly increased probability of achieving ACR20 and 50 responses compared to seronegative patients (p=0.0312 and p=0.0096) (Table 13). These findings were replicated at Week 48, where autoantibody seropositivity also significantly increased the probability of achieving ACR70. At week 48 seropositive patients were 2-3 times more likely to achieve ACR responses compared to seronegative patients. Seropositive patients also had a significantly greater decrease in DAS28-ESR compared to seronegative patients (Figure 1).
Table 13 Summary of efficacy by baseline autoantibody status
|Week 24||Week 48|
|Seropositive (n=514)||Seronegative (n=106)||Seropositive (n=506)||Seronegative (n=101)|
|ACR20 (%)||62.3*||50.9||71. 1*||51.5|
|EULAR response (%)||74.8*||62.9||84.3*||72.3|
|Mean change DAS28-ESR||-1.97**||-1.50||-2.48***||-1.72|
Figure 1: Change from baseline of DAS28-ESR by baseline autoantibody status
Long-term efficacy with multiple course therapyTreatment with MabThera in combination with methotrexate over multiple courses resulted in sustained improvements in the clinical signs and symptoms of RA, as indicated by ACR, DAS28-ESR and EULAR responses which was evident in all patient populations studied (Figure 2). Sustained improvement in physical function as indicated by the HAQ-DI score and the proportion of patients achieving MCID for HAQ-DI were observed.Figure 2: ACR responses for 4 treatment courses (24 weeks after each course (within patient, within visit) in patients with an inadequate response to TNF-inhibitors (n=146)
Clinical laboratory findingA total of 392/3095 (12.7%) patients with rheumatoid arthritis tested positive for HACA in clinical studies following therapy with MabThera. The emergence of HACA was not associated with clinical deterioration or with an increased risk of reactions to subsequent infusions in the majority of patients. The presence of HACA may be associated with worsening of infusion or allergic reactions after the second infusion of subsequent courses.
Paediatric populationThe European Medicines Agency has waived the obligation to submit the results of studies with MabThera in all subsets of the paediatric population with autoimmune arthritis. See Section 4.2 for information on paediatric use.
Clinical experience in granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's) and microscopic polyangiitisA total of 197 patients aged 15 years or older with severely, active granulomatosis with polyangiitis (75%) and microscopic polyangiitis (24%) were enrolled and treated in an active-comparator, randomised, double-blind, multicenter, non-inferiority trial.Patients were randomised in a 1:1 ratio to receive either oral cyclophosphamide daily (2mg/kg/day) for 3-6 months or MabThera (375 mg/m2) once weekly for 4 weeks. All patients in the cyclophosphamide arm received azathioprine maintenance therapy in during follow-up. Patients in both arms received 1000mg of pulse intravenous (IV) methylprednisolone (or another equivalent-dose glucocorticoid) per day for 1 to 3 days, followed by oral prednisone (1 mg/kg/day, not exceeding 80 mg/day). Prednisone tapering was to be completed by 6 months from the start of trial treatment. The primary outcome measure was achievement of complete remission at 6 months defined as a Birmingham Vasculitis Activity Score for Wegener's granulomatosis (BVAS/WG) of 0, and off glucocorticoid therapy. The prespecified non-inferiority margin for the treatment difference was 20%. The trial demonstrated non-inferiority of MabThera to cyclophosphamide for complete remission (CR) at 6 months (Table 14).Efficacy was observed both for patients with newly diagnosed disease and for patients with relapsing disease (Table 15).Table 14 Percentage of patients who achieved complete remission at 6 months (Intent-to-treat population*)
|MabThera (n = 99)||Cyclophosphamide (n = 98)||Treatment Difference (MabThera- Cyclophosphamide)|
|Rate||63.6%||53.1%||10.6% 95.1%b CI (−3.2%, 24.3%) a|
|− CI = confidence interval. − * Worst case imputation a Non-inferiority was demonstrated since the lower bound ( − 3.2%) was higher than the pre-determined non-inferiority margin ( − 20%). b The 95.1% confidence level reflects an additional 0.001 alpha to account for an interim efficacy analysis.|
Table 15 Complete remission at 6-months by disease status
|MabThera||Cyclophosphamide||Difference (CI 95%)|
|All Patients||63.6%||53.1%||10.6% (-3.2, 24.3)|
|Newly diagnosed||60.4%||64.6%||− 4.2% (− 23.6, 15.3)|
|Relapsing||66.7%||42.0%||24.7% (5.8, 43.6)|
Complete remission at 12 and 18 monthsIn the MabThera group, 48% of patients achieved CR at 12 months, and 39% of patients achieved CR at 18 months. In patients treated with cyclophosphamide (followed by azathioprine for maintenance of complete remission), 39% of patients achieved CR at 12 months, and 33% of patients achieved CR at 18 months. From month 12 to month 18, 8 relapses were observed in the MabThera group compared with four in the cyclophosphamide group.
Retreatment with MabTheraBased upon investigator judgment, 15 patients received a second course of MabThera therapy for treatment of relapse of disease activity which occurred between 6 and 18 months after the first course of MabThera. The limited data from the present trial preclude any conclusions regarding the efficacy of subsequent courses of MabThera in patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis. Continued immunosuppressive therapy may be especially appropriate in patients at risk for relapses (i.e. with history of earlier relapses and granulomatosis with polyangiitis, or patients with reconstitution of B-lymphocytes in addition to PR3-ANCA at monitoring). When remission with MabThera has been achieved, continued immunosuppressive therapy may be considered to prevent relapse. The efficacy and safety of MabThera in maintenance therapy has not been established.
Laboratory evaluationsA total of 23/99 (23%) MabThera-treated patients in the trial tested positive for HACA by 18 months. None of the 99 MabThera-treated patients were HACA positive at screening. The clinical relevance of HACA formation in MabThera-treated patients is unclear.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphomaBased on a population pharmacokinetic analysis in 298 NHL patients who received single or multiple infusions of MabThera as a single agent or in combination with CHOP therapy (applied MabThera doses ranged from 100 to 500 mg/m2), the typical population estimates of nonspecific clearance (CL1), specific clearance (CL2) likely contributed by B cells or tumour burden, and central compartment volume of distribution (V1) were 0.14 L/day, 0.59 L/day, and 2.7 L, respectively. The estimated median terminal elimination half-life of MabThera was 22 days (range, 6.1 to 52 days). Baseline CD19-positive cell counts and size of measurable tumour lesions contributed to some of the variability in CL2 of MabThera in data from 161 patients given 375 mg/m2 as an intravenous infusion for 4 weekly doses. Patients with higher CD19-positive cell counts or tumour lesions had a higher CL2. However, a large component of inter-individual variability remained for CL2 after correction for CD19-positive cell counts and tumour lesion size. V1 varied by body surface area (BSA) and CHOP therapy. This variability in V1 (27.1% and 19.0%) contributed by the range in BSA (1.53 to 2.32 m2) and concurrent CHOP therapy, respectively, were relatively small. Age, gender and WHO performance status had no effect on the pharmacokinetics of MabThera. This analysis suggests that dose adjustment of MabThera with any of the tested covariates is not expected to result in a meaningful reduction in its pharmacokinetic variability.MabThera, administered as an intravenous infusion at a dose of 375 mg/m2 at weekly intervals for 4 doses to 203 patients with NHL naive to MabThera, yielded a mean Cmax following the fourth infusion of 486 µg/mL (range, 77.5 to 996.6 µg/mL). Rituximab was detectable in the serum of patients 3 6 months after completion of last treatment.Upon administration of MabThera at a dose of 375 mg/m2 as an intravenous infusion at weekly intervals for 8 doses to 37 patients with NHL, the mean Cmax increased with each successive infusion, spanning from a mean of 243 µg/mL (range, 16 582 µg/mL) after the first infusion to 550 µg/mL (range, 171 1177 µg/mL) after the eighth infusion.The pharmacokinetic profile of MabThera when administered as 6 infusions of 375 mg/m2 in combination with 6 cycles of CHOP chemotherapy was similar to that seen with MabThera alone.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemiaMabThera was administered as an intravenous infusion at a first-cycle dose of 375 mg/m2 increased to 500 mg/m2 each cycle for 5 doses in combination with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide in CLL patients. The mean Cmax (N=15) was 408 µg/mL (range, 97 764 µg/mL) after the fifth 500 mg/ m2 infusion and the mean terminal half-life was 32 days (range, 14 62 days).
Rheumatoid arthritisFollowing two intravenous infusions of MabThera at a dose of 1000 mg, two weeks apart, the mean terminal half-life was 20.8 days (range, 8.58 to 35.9 days), mean systemic clearance was 0.23 L/day (range, 0.091 to 0.67 L/day), and mean steady-state distribution volume was 4.6 l (range, 1.7 to 7.51 L). Population pharmacokinetic analysis of the same data gave similar mean values for systemic clearance and half-life, 0.26 L/day and 20.4 days, respectively. Population pharmacokinetic analysis revealed that BSA and gender were the most significant covariates to explain inter-individual variability in pharmacokinetic parameters. After adjusting for BSA, male subjects had a larger volume of distribution and a faster clearance than female subjects. The gender- related pharmacokinetic differences are not considered to be clinically relevant and dose adjustment is not required. No pharmacokinetic data are available in patients with hepatic or renal impairment. The pharmacokinetics of rituximab were assessed following two intravenous (IV) doses of 500 mg and 1000 mg on Days 1 and 15 in four studies. In all these studies, rituximab pharmacokinetics were dose proportional over the limited dose range studied. Mean Cmax for serum rituximab following first infusion ranged from 157 to 171 μg/mL for 2 x 500 mg dose and ranged from 298 to 341 μg/mL for 2 x 1000 mg dose. Following second infusion, mean Cmax ranged from 183 to 198 μg/mL for the 2 × 500 mg dose and ranged from 355 to 404 μg/mL for the 2 × 1000 mg dose. Mean terminal elimination half-life ranged from 15 to 16 days for the 2 x 500 mg dose group and 17 to 21 days for the 2 × 1000 mg dose group. Mean Cmax was 16 to 19% higher following second infusion compared to the first infusion for both doses.The pharmacokinetics of rituximab were assessed following two IV doses of 500 mg and 1000 mg upon re-treatment in the second course. Mean Cmax for serum rituximab following first infusion was 170 to 175 μg/mL for 2 x 500 mg dose and 317 to 370 μg/mL for 2 x 1000 mg dose. Cmax following second infusion, was 207 μg/mL for the 2 x 500 mg dose and ranged from 377 to 386 μg/mL for the 2 x 1000 mg dose. Mean terminal elimination half-life after the second infusion, following the second course, was 19 days for 2 x 500 mg dose and ranged from 21 to 22 days for the 2 x 1000 mg dose. PK parameters for rituximab were comparable over the two treatment courses.The pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters in the anti-TNF inadequate responder population, following the same dosage regimen (2 x 1000 mg, IV, 2 weeks apart), were similar with a mean maximum serum concentration of 369 μg/mL and a mean terminal half-life of 19.2 days.
Granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitisBased on the population pharmacokinetic analysis of data in 97 patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis who received 375 mg/m2 MabThera once weekly for four doses, the estimated median terminal elimination half-life was 23 days (range, 9 to 49 days). Rituximab mean clearance and volume of distribution were 0.313 L/day (range, 0.116 to 0.726 L/day) and 4.50 L (range 2.25 to 7.39 L) respectively. The PK parameters of rituximab in these patients appear similar to what has been observed in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
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