- 1. Name of the medicinal product
- 2. Qualitative and quantitative composition
- 3. Pharmaceutical form
- 4. Clinical particulars
- 4.1 Therapeutic indications
- 4.2 Posology and method of administration
- 4.3 Contraindications
- 4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use
- 4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction
- 4.6 Pregnancy and lactation
- 4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines
- 4.8 Undesirable effects
- 4.9 Overdose
- 5. Pharmacological properties
- 5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties
- 5.2 Pharmacokinetic properties
- 5.3 Preclinical safety data
- 6. Pharmaceutical particulars
- 6.1 List of excipients
- 6.2 Incompatibilities
- 6.3 Shelf life
- 6.4 Special precautions for storage
- 6.5 Nature and contents of container
- 6.6 Special precautions for disposal and other handling
- 7. Marketing authorisation holder
- 8. Marketing authorisation number(s)
- 9. Date of first authorisation/renewal of the authorisation
- 10. Date of revision of the text
AdultsFor acute disorders, up to 120 mg/day deflazacort may need to be given initially. Maintenance doses in most conditions are within the range 3 - 18 mg/day. The following regimens are for guidance only.Rheumatoid arthritis: The maintenance dose is usually within the range 3 - 18 mg/day. The smallest effective dose should be used and increased if necessary.Bronchial asthma: In the treatment of an acute attack, high doses of 48-72 mg/day may be needed depending on severity and gradually reduced once the attack has been controlled. For maintenance in chronic asthma, doses should be titrated to the lowest dose that controls symptoms.Other conditions: The dose of deflazacort depends on clinical need titrated to the lowest effective dose for maintenance. Starting doses may be estimated on the basis of ratio of 5mg prednisone or prednisolone to 6mg deflazacort.
Hepatic ImpairmentIn patients with hepatic impairment, blood levels of deflazacort may be increased. Therefore the dose of deflazacort should be carefully monitored and adjusted to the minimum effective dose.
Renal ImpairmentIn renally impaired patients, no special precautions other than those usually adopted in patients receiving glucocorticoid therapy are necessary.
ElderlyIn elderly patients, no special precautions other than those usually adopted in patients receiving glucocorticoid therapy are necessary. The common adverse effects of systemic corticosteroids may be associated with more serious consequences in old age (see Warnings and Precautions).
ChildrenThere has been limited exposure of children to deflazacort in clinical trials.In children, the indications for glucocorticoids are the same as for adults, but it is important that the lowest effective dosage is used. Alternate day administration may be appropriate (see Warnings and Precautions).Doses of deflazacort usually lie in the range 0.25 - 1.5 mg/kg/day. The following ranges provide general guidance:Juvenile chronic arthritis: The usual maintenance dose is between 0.25 - 1.0 mg/kg/day.Nephrotic syndrome: Initial dose of usually 1.5 mg/kg/day followed by down titration according to clinical need.Bronchial asthma: On the basis of the potency ratio, the initial dose should be between 0.25 - 1.0 mg/kg deflazacort on alternate days.
Deflazacort withdrawalIn patients who have received more than physiological doses of systemic corticosteroids (approximately 9mg per day or equivalent) for greater than 3 weeks, withdrawal should not be abrupt. How dose reduction should be carried out depends largely on whether the disease is likely to relapse as the dose of systemic corticosteroids is reduced. Clinical assessment of disease activity may be needed during withdrawal. If the disease is unlikely to relapse on withdrawal of systemic corticosteroids but there is uncertainty about HPA suppression, the dose of systemic corticosteroids may be reduced rapidly to physiological doses. Once a daily dose equivalent to 9mg deflazacort is reached, dose reduction should be slower to allow the HPA-axis to recover. Abrupt withdrawal of systemic corticosteroid treatment, which has continued up to 3 weeks is appropriate if it is considered that the disease is unlikely to relapse. Abrupt withdrawal of doses up to 48 mg daily of deflazacort, or equivalent for 3 weeks is unlikely to lead to clinically relevant HPA-axis suppression, in the majority of patients. In the following patient groups, gradual withdrawal of systemic corticosteroid therapy should be considered even after courses lasting 3 weeks or less:• Patients who have had repeated courses of systemic corticosteroids, particularly if taken for greater than 3 weeks.• When a short course has been prescribed within one year of cessation of long-term therapy (months or years).• Patients who may have reasons for adrenocortical insufficiency other than exogenous corticosteroid therapy.• Patients receiving doses of systemic corticosteroid greater than 48 mg daily of deflazacort (or equivalent),• Patients repeatedly taking doses in the evening.
Adrenal suppressionAdrenal cortical atrophy develops during prolonged therapy and may persist for years after stopping treatment. Withdrawal of corticosteroids after prolonged therapy must therefore always be gradual to avoid acute adrenal insufficiency which could be fatal, being tapered off over weeks or months according to the dose and duration of treatment. During prolonged therapy, any intercurrent illness, trauma or surgical procedure will require a temporary increase in dosage; if corticosteroids have been stopped following prolonged therapy, they may need to be temporarily re-introduced.Patients should carry 'Steroid treatment' cards which give clear guidance on the precautions to be taken to minimise risk and which provide details of prescriber, drug, dosage and the duration of treatment.
Anti-inflammatory/immunosuppressive effects and infectionSuppression of the inflammatory response and immune function increases the susceptibility to infections and their severity. The clinical presentation may often be atypical and serious infections such as septicaemia and tuberculosis may be masked and may reach an advanced stage before being recognised.Chickenpox is of particular concern since this normally minor illness may be fatal in immunosuppressed patients. Patients (or parents of children) without a definite history of chicken pox should be advised to avoid close personal contact with chickenpox or herpes zoster and, if exposed, they should seek urgent medical attention. Passive immunisation with varicella zoster immunoglobulin (VZIG) is needed by exposed non-immune patients who are receiving systemic corticosteroids or who have used them within the previous 3 months; this should be given within 10 days of exposure to chickenpox. If a diagnosis of chickenpox is confirmed, the illness warrants specialist care and urgent treatment. Corticosteroids should not be stopped and the dose may need to be increased.Patients should be advised to take particular care to avoid exposure to measles and to seek immediate medical advice if exposure occurs. Prophylaxis with intramuscular normal immunoglobulin may be needed.Live vaccines should not be given to individuals with impaired responsiveness. The antibody response to other vaccines may be diminished. Systemic glucocorticoid treatment can cause chorioretinopathy which can lead to visual disorders including visual loss. Prolonged use of systemic glucocorticoid treatment even at low dose can cause chorioretinopathy (see section 4.8). Prolonged use of glucocorticoids may produce posterior subcapsular cataracts, glaucoma with possible damage to the optic nerves and may enhance the establishment of secondary ocular infections due to fungi or viruses.Use in active tuberculosis should be restricted to those cases of fulminating and disseminated tuberculosis in which deflazacort is used for management with appropriate antituberculosis regimen. If glucocorticoids are indicated in patients with latent tuberculosis or tuberculin reactivity, close observation is necessary as reactivation of the disease may occur. During prolonged glucocorticoid therapy, these patients should receive chemoprophylaxis.Tendonitis and tendon rupture are known class effect of glucocorticoids. The risk of such reactions may be increased by coadministration of quinolones (see section 4.8 ).
Special precautionsThe following clinical conditions require special caution and frequent patient monitoring is necessary:-• Cardiac disease or congestive heart failure (except in the presence of active rheumatic carditis), hypertension, thromboembolic disorders. Glucocorticoids can cause salt and water retention and increased excretion of potassium. Dietary salt restriction and potassium supplementation may be necessary.• Gastritis or oesophagitis, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis if there is probability of impending perforation, abscess or pyogenic infections, fresh intestinal anastomosis, active or latent peptic ulcer.• Diabetes mellitus or a family history, osteoporosis, myasthenia gravis, renal insufficiency.• Emotional instability or psychotic tendency, epilepsy.• Previous corticosteroid-induced myopathy.• Liver failure.• Hypothyroidism and cirrhosis, which may increase glucocorticoid effect.• Ocular herpes simplex because of possible corneal perforation.Patients and/or carers should be warned that potentially severe psychiatric adverse reactions may occur with systemic steroids (see section 4.8). Symptoms typically emerge within a few days or weeks of starting the treatment. Risks may be higher with high doses/systemic exposure (see also section 4.5 pharmacokinetic interactions that can increase the risk of side effects) although dose levels do not allow prediction of the onset, type, severity or duration of reactions. Most reactions recover after either dose reduction or withdrawal, although specific treatment may be necessary. Patients/carers should be encouraged to seek medical advice if worrying psychological symptoms develop, especially if depressed mood or suicidal ideation is suspected. Patients/carers should also be alert to possible psychiatric disturbances that may occur either during or immediately after dose tapering/withdrawal of systemic steroids, although such reactions have been reported infrequently.Particular care is required when considering the use of systemic corticosteroids in patients with existing or previous history of severe affective disorders in themselves or in their first degree relatives. These would include depressive or manic-depressive illness and previous steroid psychosis.Glucocorticoids are known to cause irregular menstruation and leukocytosis, care should be taken with deflazacort.
Paediatric populationCorticosteroids cause dose-related growth retardation in infancy, childhood and adolescence which may be irreversible.
Use in ElderlyThe common adverse effects of systemic corticosteroids may be associated with more serious consequences in old age, especially osteoporosis, hypertension, hypokalaemia, diabetes, susceptibility to infection and thinning of the skin. Close clinical supervision is required to avoid life-threatening reactions.Since complications of glucocorticoid therapy are dependent on dose and duration of therapy, the lowest possible dose must be given and a risk/benefit decision must be made as to whether intermittent therapy should be used.
PregnancyThe ability of corticosteroids to cross the placenta varies between individual drugs, however, deflazacort does cross the placenta.Administration of corticosteroids to pregnant animals can cause abnormalities of foetal development including cleft palate, intra-uterine growth retardation and effects on brain growth and development. There is no evidence that corticosteroids result in an increased incidence of congenital abnormalities, such as cleft palate/lip in man. However, when administered for prolonged periods or repeatedly during pregnancy, corticosteroids may increase the risk of intra-uterine growth retardation. Hypoadrenalism may, in theory, occur in the neonate following prenatal exposure to corticosteroids but usually resolves spontaneously following birth and is rarely clinically important. As with all drugs, corticosteroids should only be prescribed when the benefits to the mother and child outweigh the risks. When corticosteroids are essential however, patients with normal pregnancies may be treated as though they were in the non-gravid state.
LactationCorticosteroids are excreted in breast milk, although no data are available for deflazacort. Doses of up to 50 mg daily of deflazacort are unlikely to cause systemic effects in the infant. Infants of mothers taking higher doses than this may have a degree of adrenal suppression but the benefits of breast feeding are likely to outweigh any theoretical risk.
Endocrine disordersUncommon: Suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, amenorrhoea, Cushingoid facies.Not known: Growth suppression in infancy, childhood and adolescence.
Metabolism and nutrition disordersCommon: Weight gain.Uncommon: impaired carbohydrate tolerance with increased requirement for anti-diabetic therapy, sodium and water retention with hypertension, potassium loss and hypokalaemic alkalosis when coadministered with beta 2-agonist and xanthines.Not known: Negative protein and calcium balance, increased appetite.
Infections and InfestationsUncommon: Increased susceptibility and severity of infections with suppression of clinical symptoms and signs, opportunistic infections, recurrence of dormant tuberculosis (see section 4.4).Not known: candidiasis.
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disordersUncommon: Osteoporosis, vertebral and long bone fractures.Rare: Muscle wasting Not known: avascular osteonecrosis, tendonitis and tendon rupture when coadministered with quinolones (see section 4.4), myopathy (acute myopathy may be precipitated by non-depolarising muscle relaxants see section 4.5), negative nitrogen balance.
Reproductive system and breast disordersNot known: Menstrual irregularity
Cardiac disordersNot known: Heart failure
Nervous system disordersUncommon: Headache, vertigo. Not known: restlessness, Increased intra-cranial pressure with papilloedema in children (pseudotumour cerebri), usually after treatment withdrawal, aggravation of epilepsy.
Psychiatric disordersA wide range of psychiatric reactions including affective disorders such as:Uncommon: depressed and labile mood.Not known: irritable, euphoric, suicidal thoughts. Psychotic reactions including:Not known: mania, delusions, hallucinations, aggravation of schizophreniaOther reactions including:Uncommon: behavioural disturbances Not known: anxiety, sleep disturbances, and cognitive dysfunction including confusion and amnesia have been reported.Reactions are common and may occur in both adults and children. In adults, the frequency of severe reactions has been estimated to be 5-6%. Psychological effects have been reported on withdrawal of corticosteroids; the frequency is unknown.
Eye disordersNot known: Increased intra-ocular pressure, glaucoma, papilloedema, posterior subcapsular cataracts especially in children, chorioretinopathy (see section 4.4), corneal or scleral thinning, exacerbation of ophthalmic viral or fungal diseases.
Gastrointestinal disordersUncommon: Dyspepsia, peptic ulceration, haemorrhage, nausea. Not known: perforation of peptic ulcer, acute pancreatitis (especially in children), candidiasis.
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disordersUncommon: hirsutism, striae, acne,Rare: bruisingNot known: Skin atrophy, telangiectasia.
General disorders and administration site conditionsUncommon: Oedema.Not known: impaired healing.
Immune system disordersUncommon: Hypersensitivity including anaphylaxis has been reported.
Blood and lymphatic system disordersNot known: Leukocytosis
Vascular disordersNot known: Thromboembolism in particular in patients with underlying conditions associated with increased thrombotic tendency, rare incidence of benign intracranial hypertension
Withdrawal symptoms and signsNot known: Too rapid a reduction of corticosteroid dosage following prolonged treatment can lead to acute adrenal insufficiency, hypotension and death (see section 4.4).A 'withdrawal syndrome' may also occur including fever, myalgia, arthralgia, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, painful itchy skin nodules and loss of weight. This may occur in patients even without evidence of adrenal insufficiency.
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 via Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard
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