This information is intended for use by health professionals

1. Name of the medicinal product

Fluorouracil 50mg/ml Injection.

2. Qualitative and quantitative composition

Each 1 ml contains 50 mg of fluorouracil.

Presentations:

250 mg/5 ml

500 mg/10 ml

1 g120 ml

2.5 g/50 ml

5g/100ml

Amount fluorouracil present (as sodium salt) per vial

250 mg

500 mg

1 g

2.5 g

5 g

For excipients see 6.1

3. Pharmaceutical form

Solution for injection.

Clear, colourless or slightly yellow solution.

4. Clinical particulars
4.1 Therapeutic indications

Fluorouracil may be used alone, or in combination for its palliative action in the management of common malignancies particularly cancer of the colon and breast, either as a single agent or in combination with other cytotoxic agents.

4.2 Posology and method of administration

Selection of an appropriate dose and treatment regime will depend upon the condition of the patient, the type of carcinoma being treated and whether Fluorouracil is to be administered alone or in combination with other therapy. Initial treatment should be given in hospital and the total daily dose should not exceed 1 gram. It is customary to calculate the dose in accordance with patient's actual weight unless there is obesity, oedema or some other form of abnormal fluid retention such as ascites. In this case, ideal weight should be used as the basis for the calculation. Reduction of the dose is advisable in patients with any of the following:

1) Cachexia

2) Major surgery within preceding 30 days

3) Reduced bone marrow function

4) Impaired hepatic or renal function

Fluorouracil injection can be given by intravenous injection or, intravenous or intra-arterial infusion.

Fluorouracil injection should not be mixed directly, in the same container, with other chemotherapeutic agents or intravenous additives.

Adult Dose

The following regimen have been recommended for use as a single agent:

Initial Treatment: This may be in the form of an infusion or an injection, the former usually being preferred because of lesser toxicity.

Intravenous infusion: 15mg/kg bodyweight but not more than 1g per infusion, diluted in 500ml of 5% glucose or 0.9% NaCl injection and given by intravenous infusion at a rate of 40 drops per minute over 4 hours. Alternatively the daily dose may be infused over 30 - 60 minutes or may be given as a continuous infusion over 24 hours. The infusion may be repeated daily until there is evidence of toxicity or a total dose of 12 - 15g has been reached.

Intravenous Injection: 12mg/kg bodyweight, but not more than the recommended 1g daily dose may be given daily for 3 days and then, if there is no evidence of toxicity, 6mg/kg on alternate days for 3 further doses. An alternative regimen is 15mg/kg as a single intravenous injection once a week throughout the course.

Intra-arterial Infusion: 5/7.5mg/kg may be given by 24 hour continuous intra-arterial infusion.

Maintenance Therapy: An initial intensive course may be followed by maintenance therapy providing there are no significant toxic effects. In all instances, toxic side effects must disappear before maintenance therapy is started. If toxic symptoms appear during maintenance, therapy must be discontinued until the symptoms resolve.

The initial course of fluorouracil can be repeated after an interval of 4 to 6 weeks from the last dose or, alternatively, treatment can be continued with intravenous injections of 5-15mg/kg bodyweight at weekly intervals.

This sequence constitutes a course of therapy. Some patients have received up to 30g at a maximum rate of 1 g daily. A more recent alternative method is to give 15mg/kg IV once a week throughout the course of treatment. This obviates the need for an initial period of daily administration.

In combination with Irradiation: Irradiation combined with 5FU has been found to be useful in the treatment of certain types of metastatic lesions in the lungs and for the relief of pain caused by recurrent, inoperable growth. The standard dose of 5FU should be used.

Children

No recommendations are made regarding the use of Fluorouracil in children.

Elderly

Fluorouracil should be used in the elderly with similar considerations as in younger adult dosages, notwithstanding that incidence of concomitant medical illness is higher in the former group.

4.3 Contraindications

Fluorouracil is contraindicated in patients who have any known hypersensitivity to fluorouracil, are seriously debilitated or are suffering from bone marrow depression after radiotherapy or treatment with other antineoplastic agents, or who are suffering from a potentially serious infection.

Fluorouracil is strictly contraindicated in pregnant or breast feeding women.

Flourouracil should not be used in the management of non-malignant disease.

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

It is recommended that Fluorouracil be given only by, or under the strict supervision of a qualified physician who is conversant with the use of potent antimetabolites.

All patients should be admitted to hospital for initial treatment.

Fluorouracil is contraindicated in patients who have a poor nutritional state.

Adequate treatment with Fluorouracil is usually followed by leucopenia, the lowest white blood cell (W.B.C) count commonly being observed between the 7th and 14th day of the first course, but occasionally being delayed for as long as 20 days. The count usually returns to normal by the 30th day. Daily monitoring of platelet and W.B.C count is recommended and treatment should be stopped if platelets fall below 100,000 per mm3 or the W.B.C. count falls below 3,500 per mm3. If the total count is less than 2000mm3, and especially if there is granulocytopenia, it is recommended that the patient be placed in protective isolation in the hospital and treated with appropriate measures to prevent systemic infection.

Treatment should be stopped at the first sign of oral ulceration or if there is evidence of gastrointestinal side effects such as stomatitis, diarrhoea, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract of haemorrhage at any site, oesophagopharyngitis or intractable vomiting. Fluorouracil should be resumed only when the patient has recovered from the above signs. The ratio between effective and toxic dose is small and therapeutic response is unlikely without some degree of toxicity. Care must be taken therefore, in the selection of patients and adjustment of dosage.

Fluorouracil should be used with extreme caution in poor risk patients who have recently undergone surgery, have a history of high-dose irradiation of bone marrow-bearing areas (pelvis, spine, ribs, etc.) or prior use of another chemotherapeutic agent causing myelosuppression, have a widespread involvement of bone marrow by metastatic tumours, or those with reduced renal or liver function, jaundice or who have a poor nutritional state. Fluorouracil should also be used with caution in patients with heart disease. Isolated cases of angina, ECG abnormalities and rarely, myocardial infarction have been reported following administration of Fluorouracil. Care should be therefore be exercised in treating patients who experience chest pain during courses of treatment, or patients with a history of heart disease. Careful consideration should be given to re-administration of Fluorouracil after a documented cardiovascular reaction (arrhythmia, angina, ST segment changes) as there is a risk of sudden death. Severe toxicity and fatalities are more likely in poor risk patients, but have occasionally occurred in patients who are in relatively good condition. Any form of therapy which adds to the stress of the patient, interferes with nutritional uptake or depresses the bone marrow function, will increase the toxicity of fluorouracil. If therapy is continued careful monitoring of the patient is required.

Rarely, severe and unexpected toxic reactions (including stomatitis, diarrhoea, neutropenia and neurotoxicity) have been reported in association with fluorouracil. These reports of increased toxicity in patients who have reduced activity/deficiency of the enzyme dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), which appears to cause prolonged clearance of fluorouracil.

The most pronounced and dose-limiting toxic effects of fluorouracil are on the normal, rapidly proliferating cells of the bone marrow and the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. The immunosuppressive effect of fluorouracil may cause a higher incidence of microbial infections, delayed wound healing and bleeding of the gums.

Nucleoside analogues, e.g. Brivudin and sorivudin, which affect DPD activity may cause increased plasma concentrations and increased toxicity of fluoropyrimidines (see section 4.5). Therefore, an interval of at least 4 weeks between administration of fluorouracil and brivudin, sorivudin or analogues should be kept. In the case of accidental administration of nucleoside analogues to patients treated with fluorouracil, effective measures should be taken to reduce fluorouracil toxicity. Immediate hospitalisation is recommended. Any measure to prevent systemic infections and dehydration should be commenced.

4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

Various purines, pyrimidines, and antimetabolites have shown biochemical modulation of fluorouracil in in vitro test systems. Purines include inosine, guanosine, guanosine-5'-phosphate and deoxyinosine. Pyrimidines include thymidine, uridine and cytidine. Antimetabolites include methotrexate, tamoxifen, interferon, phosphonoacteyl-L-aspartate (PALA), allopurinol, hydroxyurea, dipyridamol and leucovorin (folinic acid). Synergistic cytotoxic interactions, such as those involving fluorouracil with leucovorin, have shown beneficial therapeutic effects, particularly in colon cancer. However, the drug combination may result in increased clinical toxicity (gastrointestinal side effects) of the fluorouracil component. Other drugs include metronidazole and cimetidine. Pretreatment with cimetidine prior to intravenous fluorouracil increased the fluorouracil area under the concentration versus time curve (AUC) by 27%. The total body clearance was reduced by 28%. This may lead to increased plasma concentrations of fluorouracil.

Marked elevations of prothrombin time and INR have been reported in a few patients stabilised on warfarin therapy following initiation of fluorouracil regimes.

A clinically significant interaction between the antiviral sorivudine and fluorouracil prodrugs, resulting from inhibition of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase by sorivudine or chemically related analogues. Caution should be taken when using fluorouracil in conjunction with medications which may affect dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase activity.

Combination therapy with fluorouracil and levamisole has been associated with multifocal inflammatory leukoencephalopathy (MILE). Symptoms may include memory loss, confusion, paraesthesia, lethargy, muscle weakness, speech disturbances, coma and seizures. The cerebrospinal fluid may show mild pleiocytosis, and computed tomography and magnetic resonance scans may show lesions in the white matter suggestive of demyelination. If this syndrome occurs, treatment should be discontinued immediately. The condition is at least partially reversible if fluorouracil and levamisole are discontinued, and corticosteroids given. The use of levamisole and fluorouracil is no longer recommended by NH&MRC 'Clinical Practice guidelines: The prevention, early detection and management of colorectal cancer'. This combination regimen has been superseded by fluorouracil and leucovorin.

Increased phenytoin plasma concentrations have been reported during concomitant use of phenytoin with capecitabine or its metabolite fluorouracil. Formal interaction studies between phenytoin and capecitabine have not been conducted, but the mechanism of interaction is presumed to be inhibition of CYP2C9 isoenzyme system by capecitabine. Serum levels of phenytoin sustained above the optimal range may produce encephalopathy, or confusional states (delirium psychosis), or rarely irreversible cerebellar dysfunction. Therefore, patients taking phenytoin concomitantly with capecitabine or fluorouracil should be regularly monitored for increased phenytoin plasma levels.

Vaccination with a live vaccine should be avoided in patients receiving 5-fluorouracil due to the potential for serious or fatal infections. Contact should be avoided with people who have recently been treated with polio virus vaccine.

Patients with leukaemia who are in remission should not receive vaccines containing weakened viruses until three months has elapsed since their last chemotherapy session. Furthermore, immunisation with orally administered vaccines containing the poliomyelitis virus must be postponed for those persons coming into direct contact with the patient, particularly family members.

4.6. Fertility, pregnancy and lactation

Fluorouracil is strictly contraindicated in pregnant and breast-feeding women.

Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant and use an effective method of contraception during treatment with Fluorouracil and up to 6 months afterwards (see section 4.4). If the drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking the drug, the patient should be fully informed of the potential hazard to the foetus and genetic counselling is recommended. Fluorouracil should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the foetus.

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women, however, fatal defects and miscarriages have been reported.

Men treated with Fluorouracil are advised not to father a child during and for up to 6 months following cessation of treatment (see section 4.4). Advice on conservation of sperm should be sought prior to treatment because of the possibility of irreversible infertility due to therapy with Fluorouracil.

Since it is not known whether Fluorouracil passes into breast milk, breast-feeding must be discontinued if the mother is treated with Fluorouracil.

4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines

No studies on the effects on the ability to drive and use machinery have been performed.

Fluorouracil may induce side effects such as nausea and vomiting. It can also produce adverse events of the nervous system and visual changes which could interfere with driving or the usage of heavy machinery..

4.8 Undesirable effects

Frequencies are defined using the following convention:

Very common (≥1/10),

Common (≥ 1/100 to < 1/10),

Uncommon (≥ 1/1000 to < 1/100),

Rare (≥ 1/10000 to < 1/1000),

Very rare (< 1/10000),

Not known (cannot be estimated from the available data).

Blood and lymphatic system disorders:

Very common: Myelosuppression (leucopenia, pancytopenia and thrombocytopenia); agranulocytosis, anaemia

Immune system disorders:

Rare: Hypersensitivity reactions, generalised anaphylactic and allergic reactions.

Psychiatric disorders:

Uncommon: Euphoria.

Rare:, a reversible confusional state may occur.

Very rare: Disorientation.

Eye disorders:

Systemic fluorouracil treatment has been associated with various types of ocular toxicity.

Uncommon: Incidences of excessive lacrimation, dacryostenosis, visual changes and photophobia.

Vascular disorders:

Rare: Cerebral, intestinal and peripheral ischemia, Raynaud's syndrome, thromboembolism, thrombophlebitis

Uncommon: Hypotension

Gastrointestinal disorders:

Very common: Diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting are observed quite commonly during therapy and may be treated symptomatically. An anti-emetic may be given for nausea and vomiting. Additionally, events of anorexia, stomatitis (symptoms include soreness, erythema or ulceration of the oral cavity or dysphagia); proctitis, oesophagitis

Uncommon: gastrointestinal ulcerations and bleeding (may result in therapy being discontinued).

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders:

Very common: Alopecia may be seen in a substantial number of cases, particularly females, but is reversible.

Palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia syndrome has been reported as an unusual complication of high dose bolus or protracted continuous therapy for 5-fluorouracil. The syndrome begins with dysaesthesia of the palms and soles that progress to pain and tenderness. There is associated symmetrical swelling and erythema of the hand and foot.

Uncommon: Other side effects include dermatitis, pigmentation, changes in nails, (e.g. diffuse superficial blue pigmentation, hyperpigmentation, nail dystrophy, pain and thickening of the nail bed, paronychia) dry skin, fissure erosion, erythema, pruritic maculopapular rash, exanthema, photosensitivity, hyperpigmentation of the skin, streaky hyperpigmentation or depigmentation near the veins.

General disorders and administration site conditions:

Very common: Malaise, weakness

Not known: Fever, vein discolouration proximal to injection sites

Cardiac disorders:

Very common: ECG changes

Common: angina pectoris-like chest pain

Uncommon: , ,arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, myocardial ishchaemia dilative cardiomyopathy

Very rare: Cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death

Special attention is advisable in treating patients with a history of heart disease or those who develop chest pain during treatment.

Nervous system disorders:

Uncommon:Nystagmus, headache, dizziness, symptoms of Parkinson's disease, pyramidal signs, and somnolence.

Very rare: Cases of leucoencephalopathy have also been reported. With symptoms including ataxia, acute cerebellar syndrome, dysarthria, myasthenia, aphasia, convulsion or coma in patients receiving high doses of 5-fluorouracil and in patients with dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency, kidney failure.

Not known: Peripheral neuropathy may occur

4.9 Overdose

The symptoms and signs of overdosage are qualitatively similar to the adverse reactions and should be managed as indicated under "Special Warnings and Precautions" and "Undesirable Effects".

Patients in which an overdose of fluorouracil is detected should be closely monitored for at least 4 weeks.

5. Pharmacological properties
5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties

Fluorouracil is an analogue of uracil, a component of ribonucleic acid. The drug is believed to function as an antimetabolite. After intracellular conversion to the active deoxynucleotide, it interferes with the synthesis of DNA by blocking the conversion of deoxyuridylic acid to thymidylic acid by the cellular enzyme thymidylate synthetase. Flourouracil may also interfere with RNA synthesis.

5.2 Pharmacokinetic properties

After intravenous administration, Flourouracil is distributed through the body water and disappears from the blood within 3 hours. It is preferentially taken up by actively dividing tissues and tumours after conversion to its nucleotide. Fluorouracil ready enters the C.S.F and brain tissue.

Following IV administration, the plasma elimination half-life averages about 16 minutes and is dose dependant. Following a single intravenous dose of Fluorouracil approximately 15% of the dose is excreted unchanged in the urine within 6 hours; over 90% of this is excreted in the first hour. The remainder is mostly metabolised in the liver by the usual body mechanisms for uracil.

5.3 Preclinical safety data

Preclinical information has not been included because the toxicity profile of fluorouracil has been established after many years of clinical use. Please refer to section 4.

6. Pharmaceutical particulars
6.1 List of excipients

Sodium Hydroxide

Water for Injections

6.2 Incompatibilities

Fluorouracil is incompatible with Carboplatin, Cisplatin, Cytarabine, Diazepam, Doxorubicin, other Anthracyclines and possibly Methotrexate.

Formulated solutions are alkaline and it is recommended that admixture with acidic drugs or preparations should be avoided.

6.3 Shelf life

Before use: 18 months for 2.5 g/50 ml and 1 g/20 ml Onco-Vial® presentation,

24 months for all other presentations.

In use: Chemical and physical in-use stability has been demonstrated for 5 days at 20-21°C.

From a microbiological point of view, the product should be used immediately. If not used immediately, in-use storage times and conditions prior to use are the responsibility of the user and would normally not be longer than 24 hours at 2-8°C, unless dilution has taken place in controlled and validated aseptic conditions.

6.4 Special precautions for storage

Do not store above 25°C. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Keep container in the outer carton

The pH of fluorouracil injection is 8.9 and the drug has maximal stability over the pH range 8.6 to 9.0.

If a precipitate has formed as a result of exposure to low temperatures, redissolve by heating to 60°C accompanied by vigorous shaking. Allow to cool to body temperature prior to use.

The product should be discarded if it appears brown or dark yellow in solution.

6.5 Nature and contents of container

Type 1 clear glass vial (CGV) with rubber closures

Type 1 clear Onco-Tain® with rubber closures

Type 1 glass, Onco•Vial® with rubber closures

CGV and Onco-Tain®:

250 mg/5 ml: Pack Size 5.

500 mg/10 ml: Pack Size 5.

1 g/20 ml: Pack Size 5

2.5 g/50 ml: Pack Size 10's

5 g/100 ml: Pack Size singles

Onco-Vial®:

500 mg/10 ml: Pack Size singles

1 g/20 ml: Pack Size singles

2.5 g/50 ml: Pack Size singles

6.6 Special precautions for disposal and other handling

Cytotoxic Handling Guidelines

Should be administered only by or under the direct supervision of a qualified physician who is experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Fluorouracil Injection should only be prepared for administration by professionals who have been trained in the safe use of the preparation. Preparation should only be carried out in an aseptic cabinet or suite dedicated for the assembly of cytotoxics.

In the event of spillage, operators should put on gloves, face mask, eye protection and disposable apron and mop up the spilled material with a absorbent material kept in the area for that purpose. The area should then be cleaned and all contaminated material transferred to a cytotoxic spillage bag or bin and sealed for incineration.

Contamination

Fluorouracil is an irritant, contact with skin and mucous membranes should be avoided.

In the event of contact with the skin or eyes, the affected area should be washed with copious amounts of water or normal saline. A bland cream may be used to treat the transient stinging of the skin. Medical advice should be sought if the eyes are affected or if the preparation is inhaled or ingested.

Please refer to company for COSHH hazard datasheets.

Preparation Guidelines

a) Chemotherapeutic agents should be prepared for administration only by professionals who have been trained in the safe use of the preparation.

b) Operations such as reconstitution of powder and transfer to syringes should be carried out only under aseptic conditions in a suite or cabinet dedicated for the assembly of cytotoxics.

c) The personnel carrying out these procedures should be adequately protected with clothing, gloves and eye shield.

d) Pregnant personnel are advised not to handle chemotherapeutic agents.

Disposal

Syringes, Onco•Vials® and adaptors containing remaining solution, absorbent materials, and any other contaminated material should be placed in a thick plastic bag or other impervious container and incinerated at 700°C.

Diluents

Fluorouracil Injection may be diluted with Glucose 5% Injection or Sodium Chloride 0.9% Injection or Water for Injections immediately before parenteral use.

Directions for use of the Onco•Vial®

Onco•Vial® should be used with an appropriate Mayne administration device.

7. Marketing authorisation holder

Hospira UK Limited

Horizon

Honey Lane

Hurley

Maidenhead

SL6 6RJ

UK

8. Marketing authorisation number(s)

PL 04515/0088

9. Date of first authorisation/renewal of the authorisation

19 July 2004

10. Date of revision of the text

January 2017

Ref: gxFU 1_1