Consumer medicine information

APO-Quetiapine

Quetiapine

BRAND INFORMATION

Brand name

APO-Quetiapine

Active ingredient

Quetiapine

Schedule

S4

 

Consumer medicine information (CMI) leaflet

Please read this leaflet carefully before you start using APO-Quetiapine.

What is in this leaflet

Read this leaflet carefully before taking your medicine. This leaflet answers some common questions about quetiapine. It does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

The information in this leaflet was last updated on the date listed on the last page. More recent information on this medicine may be available.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist:

  • if there is anything you do not understand in this leaflet,
  • if you are worried about taking your medicine, or
  • to obtain the most up-to-date information.

You can also download the most up to date leaflet from www.apotex.com.au.

All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you using this medicine against the benefits they expect it will have for you.

Pharmaceutical companies cannot give you medical advice or an individual diagnosis.

Keep this leaflet with your medicine. You may want to read it again.

What this medicine is used for

The name of your medicine is APO-Quetiapine tablets. It contains the active ingredient quetiapine (as quetiapine fumarate). It is used to treat:

  • the symptoms of schizophrenia, an illness which affects the way people think, feel and behave.
  • Bipolar 1 disorder, an illness in which there are sustained mood swings, either up (mania) or down (depression). During mania, patients experience episodes of overactivity, elation or irritability. During depression, patients may feel depressed or guilty, lack energy, lose their appetite and have trouble sleeping. Quetiapine may both treat and prevent bipolar disorder from recurring.

Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed for you. Your doctor may have prescribed this medicine for another reason.

This medicine is available only with a doctor's prescription.

How it works

Quetiapine belongs to a group of medicines called antipsychotics.

It helps to correct chemical imbalances in the brain.

There is no evidence that this medicine is addictive.

Use in children

Do not give quetiapine to children or adolescents unless recommended by your doctor.

The effects of quetiapine have only been studied in children aged between 10 and 17 years with bipolar and in children aged between 13 and 17 years with schizophrenia. There is not enough information on its effects in children to recommend use in other age groups or for other conditions.

Before you take this medicine

When you must not take it

Do not take this medicine if:

  • You are hypersensitive to, or have had an allergic reaction to, quetiapine or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
    Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: cough, shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or other parts of the body; rash, itching or hives on the skin; fainting; or hayfever-like symptoms.
    If you think you are having an allergic reaction, do not take any more of the medicine and contact your doctor immediately or go to the Accident and Emergency department at the nearest hospital.
  • The expiry date (EXP) printed on the pack has passed.
  • The packaging is torn, shows signs of tampering or it does not look quite right.

Before you start to take it

Before you start taking this medicine, tell your doctor if:

  1. You have allergies to:
  • any other medicines
  • any other substances, such as foods, preservatives or dyes.
  1. You have or have had any medical conditions, especially the following:
  • heart or blood vessel problems or a family history of heart or blood vessel problems, including: low blood pressure, stroke, problems with your circulation or any condition that affects blood flow to the brain, problems with the way your heart beats or a history of heart attack or prolonged QT interval.
  • problems which may lead you to developing low blood pressure, e.g. being dehydrated, low blood volume, or taking certain blood pressure medicines
  • low potassium or magnesium in your blood
  • liver problems
  • diabetes (or a family history of diabetes). Patients with diabetes or who have a higher chance of diabetes should have their blood sugar checked before and during treatment with this medicine.
  • epilepsy (seizures or fits)
  • dementia or related behavioural disorders (especially in elderly patients).
  • low white blood cell count
  • sleep apnoea, a sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing for short periods during sleep.
  • urinary retention, inability to empty the bladder
  • benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), enlarged prostrate
  • bowel obstruction or a blockage in your intestines
  • glaucoma (increased pressure in your eyes)
  • history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Depression and other mental illnesses can lead to suicide. It is important to discuss all the risks of treating depression and mental illness as well as the risks of not treating it. You should discuss all treatment choices with your doctor, not just the use of medicines. Patients (and caregivers of patients) need to monitor for any worsening of their condition and/or the emergence of thoughts of suicide or suicidal behaviour or thoughts of harming themselves and to seek medical advice immediately if these symptoms present.
  1. You are currently pregnant, or you plan to become pregnant.
    Do not take this medicine whilst pregnant until you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits involved.
    There have been some reports of side effects such as shaking, muscle stiffness, breathing difficulty and problems feeding in newborn babies whose mothers have taken quetiapine during the third trimester of pregnancy.
  2. You are currently breastfeeding, or you plan to breastfeed.
    Breast-feeding is generally not recommended when taking quetiapine. Do not take this medicine whilst breast-feeding until you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits involved.
    Quetiapine may pass into human breast milk
  3. You are planning to be in a situation where your body will be subject to extreme heat or you will be exercising strenuously, or likely to suffer from dehydration.
  4. You are having any blood or urine tests
  5. You are planning to have surgery or an anaesthetic.
  6. You are currently receiving or are planning to receive dental treatment.
  7. You are taking or are planning to take any other medicines. This includes vitamins and supplements that are available from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.

Some medicines may interact with quetiapine. These include:

  • medicines used to treat anxiety, depression, mood swings, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other mood disorders
  • lorazepam, a medicine used to help you sleep
  • certain medicines for treating epilepsy, such as phenytoin and carbamazepine
  • medicines for high blood pressure (including diuretics or fluid tablets) or heart conditions
  • some antibiotics such as rifampicin and erythromycin
  • medicines used for fungal infections such as ketoconazole
  • medicines for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • other antipsychotic medicines such as thioridazine
  • medicines used to treat Parkinson's disease
  • medicines used to treat urinary retention and benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostrate)
  • medicines that have anti-cholinergic effects
  • medicines used to treat glaucoma
  • stimulants such as amphetamines
  • glucocorticoids - steroid medicines used to treat inflammation.

These medicines may be affected by quetiapine or may affect how well it works. You may need a different dose, or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor will advise you.

Other medicines not listed above may also interact with quetiapine.

How to take this medicine

Follow carefully all directions given to you by your doctor. Their instructions may be different to the information in this leaflet.

How much to take

Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine you should take. This will depend on your condition and whether you are taking any other medicines.

Quetiapine fumarate is usually taken once or twice a day.

If you are elderly or if you have liver problems your doctor may prescribe a lower dose. Your doctor will monitor your condition and may change your dose depending on how you respond to it.

Do not stop taking your medicine or change your dosage without first checking with your doctor.

How to take it

Swallow your tablets whole with a full glass of water.

When to take it

Take this medicine at the same time each day. Taking it at the same time each day will have the best effect and will also help you remember when to take it.

It does not matter if you take it before, with or after food.

How long to take it

Continue taking your medicine for as long as your doctor tells you.

Quetiapine helps control your condition but does not cure it. Therefore, you must take it every day.

Do not stop taking it suddenly unless your doctor tells you to - even if you feel better.

Make sure you have enough to last over weekends and holidays.

If you forget to take it

If it is almost time to take your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember and then go back to taking your medicine as you would normally.

Do not take a double dose to make up for missed doses. This may increase the chance of you experiencing side effects.

If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some hints to help you remember.

If you take too much (overdose)

If you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much of this medicine, immediately telephone your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (Tel: 13 11 26 in Australia) for advice. Alternatively, go to the Accident and Emergency department at your nearest hospital.

Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. You may need urgent medical attention.

If you take too much quetiapine, you may feel drowsy, sleepy, and dizzy or have fast heart beats.

While you are taking this medicine

Things you must do

Tell your doctor that you are taking this medicine if:

  • you are about to be started on any new medicine
  • you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant (tell your doctor immediately)
  • you are breastfeeding or are planning to breast-feed
  • you are about to have any blood or urine tests
  • you are going to have surgery or an anaesthetic or are going into hospital.

Your doctor may occasionally do tests to make sure the medicine is working and to prevent side effects. Go to your doctor regularly for a check-up.

If you or someone you know is demonstrating any of the following warning signs of suicide while taking quetiapine, contact your doctor or a mental health professional immediately or go to the nearest hospital for treatment:

  • Thoughts or talk of death or suicide.
  • Thoughts or talk of self-harm or harm to others.
  • Any recent attempts of self-harm
  • Increase in aggressive behaviour, irritability or agitation.
  • Worsening of depression.

Occasionally, the symptoms of depression may include thoughts of suicide or self-harm. These symptoms may continue or get worse during the early stages of treatment until the effect of the medicine becomes apparent.

All mentions of suicide or violence must be taken seriously.

Tell any other doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you take this medicine.

Things you must not do

Do not:

  • Give this medicine to anyone else, even if their symptoms seem similar to yours.
  • Take your medicine to treat any other condition unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Stop taking your medicine suddenly, or change the dosage, without first checking with your doctor. If your doctor decides that you need to stop taking quetiapine, then he/she will reduce the dose gradually over one to two weeks.
  • Take any other medicines that cause drowsiness while you are taking quetiapine, unless recommended by a doctor.

Things to be careful of

Be careful when driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine affects you, as it may impair judgement, thinking or reactions.

If quetiapine makes you feel light-headed, dizzy or faint, be careful when getting up from a sitting or lying position. Standing up slowly, especially when you get up from bed or chairs, will help your body get used to the change in position and blood pressure. If this problem continues or gets worse, talk to your doctor.

Be careful when drinking alcohol while you are taking quetiapine. Combining your medicine and alcohol can make you more sleepy or dizzy.

Your doctor may suggest you avoid alcohol while you are being treated with this medicine.

Make sure you keep cool in hot weather and warm in cool weather. Take care also if doing strenuous exercise and be certain to maintain your fluid levels. Quetiapine may affect the way your body reacts to temperature changes.

Avoid drinking large quantities of grapefruit juice. This medicine may be affected by grapefruit juice.

Possible side effects

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking quetiapine or if you have any questions or concerns.

Do not be alarmed by the following lists of side effects. You may not experience any of them. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious but most of the time they are not.

Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:

  • weight gain, increased appetite
  • feeling weak or lethargic
  • dry mouth
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • headache
  • nausea, vomiting, indigestion, upset stomach, constipation or diarrhoea
  • swelling of your hands, feet or ankles
  • blurred vision or other sight problems
  • feeling sleepy or having trouble getting to sleep
  • abnormal dreams, nightmares
  • irritability
  • fall in blood pressure, especially on standing. This will be apparent to you as light-headedness or dizziness that passes after a few seconds or after sitting down again.

Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following.

These may be serious side effects and you may need medical attention:

  • shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and/or tightness in the chest, or chest infection.
  • low body temperature
  • difficulty in speaking
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • passing only small amounts of urine
  • fast, irregular heartbeats (palpitations)
  • sleep walking or doing other activities whilst asleep
  • symptoms of high sugar levels in the blood (including passing large amounts of urine, excessive thirst, increase in appetite with a loss of weight, feeling tired, drowsy, weak, depressed, irritable and generally unwell)
  • breast enlargement, unusual secretion of breast milk.

If you experience any of the following, stop taking your medicine and contact your doctor immediately or go to the Accident and Emergency department at your nearest hospital.

These are very serious side effects and you may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation:

  • thoughts or actions regarding harming or killing oneself.
  • long lasting and painful erection
  • fainting or passing out
  • signs of frequent infections such as fever, chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers
  • bleeding or bruising more easily than normal
  • very marked drowsiness
  • reduced consciousness
  • abnormal muscle movement, including an overwhelming urge to move your legs, difficulty starting muscle movements, shaking, restlessness or muscle stiffness without pain.
  • worm-like movements of the tongue, or other uncontrolled movements of the tongue, mouth, cheeks or jaw which may progress to the arms and legs.
  • a sudden increase in body temperature, with sweating, or a fast heart beat
  • fits (seizures)
  • severe upper stomach pain, often with nausea and vomiting (particularly in patients with other risk factors such as gallstones, alcohol consumption and/or increased levels of certain fats within the blood).

Occasionally, quetiapine may be associated with changes in your liver function or blood (e.g. blood fat levels such as cholesterol or triglycerides, blood sugar levels, thyroid hormone levels, white blood cells), which may require your doctor to do certain blood tests.

Other side effects not listed above may occur in some patients.

Allergic reactions

If you think you are having an allergic reaction to quetiapine, do not take any more of this medicine and tell your doctor immediately or go to the Accident and Emergency department at your nearest hospital.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include some or all of the following:

  • cough, shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or other parts of the body
  • rash, itching or hives on the skin
  • fainting
  • hay fever-like symptoms.

Storage and disposal

Storage

Keep your medicine in its original packaging until it is time to take it.

If you take your medicine out of its original packaging it may not keep well.

Keep your medicine in a cool dry place where the temperature will stay below 25°C.

Do not store your medicine, or any other medicine, in the bathroom or near a sink. Do not leave it on a window sill or in the car. Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.

Keep this medicine where children cannot reach it. A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.

Disposal

If your doctor tells you to stop taking this medicine or it has passed its expiry date, your pharmacist can dispose of the remaining medicine safely.

Product description

What it looks like

APO-Quetiapine 25mg tablets:
Peach, round, biconvex, film coated tablet. Engraved "APO" on one side, "QUE" over "25" on the other side.
AUST R 166082

APO-Quetiapine 100mg tablets:
Yellow, round, biconvex, film coated tablet. Engraved "APO" on one side "QUE" over "100" on the other side.
AUST R 166077

APO-Quetiapine 150mg tablets:
Pale yellow, round, biconvex, film coated tablets. Engraved "APO" on one side, "QUE" over "150" on the other side.
AUST R 166061

APO-Quetiapine 200mg tablets:
White, round, biconvex, film coated tablet. Engraved "APO" on one side, "QUE" over "200" on the other side.
AUST R 166064

APO-Quetiapine 300mg tablets:
White, capsule shaped, biconvex film coated tablet. Engraved "APO" on one side, "QUE 300" on the other side.
AUST R 166059

APO-Quetiapine is available in*:

25mg, 150mg, 200mg and 300mg: blister packs of 60

100mg: blister packs of 90

300mg: blister packs of 100

* Not all strengths, pack types and/or pack sizes may be available.

Ingredients

Each tablet contains 25mg, 100mg, 150mg, 200mg or 300mg of quetiapine (as quetiapine fumarate) as the active ingredient.

It also contains the following inactive ingredients:

  • Croscarmellose sodium
  • Colloidal anhydrous silica
  • Fumaric acid
  • Ethylcellulose
  • Magnesium stearate
  • Hypromellose
  • Hyprolose
  • Macrogol 8000
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Iron oxide yellow (contained in 25mg, 100mg and 150mg tablets only)
  • Iron oxide red (contained in 25mg tablets only)

This medicine is gluten-free, lactose-free, sucrose-free, tartrazine-free and free of other azo dyes.

Sponsor

Apotex Pty Ltd
16 Giffnock Avenue
Macquarie Park NSW 2113

Apotex Pty Ltd is the licensee of the registered trademarks APO and APOTEX from the registered proprietor, Apotex Inc.

This leaflet was last updated in: October 2018.

Published by MIMS December 2018

BRAND INFORMATION

Brand name

APO-Quetiapine

Active ingredient

Quetiapine

Schedule

S4

 

1 Name of Medicine

Quetiapine fumarate.

6.7 Physicochemical Properties

Quetiapine fumarate is a weak acid (pKa 3.3, 6.8) which exhibits moderate pH dependent solubility (94.3 mg/mL to 2.37 mg/mL at pH values from 1 to 9) and lypophilicity characteristics (Log P) which vary with pH (0.45 in water, 1.37 at pH 5, 2.65 at pH 7 and 2.59 at pH 9).
Quetiapine fumarate has no chiral centres and only one morphological entity has been detected throughout development.
Quetiapine fumarate displays good solid state stability. It has an aqueous solubility of 3.29 mg/mL at 25°C and exhibits suitable tableting properties when combined with appropriate excipients.
Chemical Name: Bis[2-(2-[4- (dibenzo[b,f][1,4]-thiazepin- 11-yl) piperazin-1-yl]ethoxy)ethanol] fumarate. Molecular Formula: 2(C21H25N3O2S).C4H4O4. Molecular Weight: 883.09.

Chemical structure.


CAS number.

111974-72-2.

2 Qualitative and Quantitative Composition

Each tablet contains 25 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg or 300 mg of quetiapine fumarate.
For the full list of excipients see Section 6.1 List of Excipients.

3 Pharmaceutical Form

APO-Quetiapine tablets 25 mg.

Peach, round, biconvex, film coated tablet. Engraved "APO" on one side, "QUE" over "25" on the other side.

APO-Quetiapine tablets 100 mg.

Yellow, round, biconvex, film coated tablet. Engraved "APO" on one side, "QUE" over "100" on the other side.

APO-Quetiapine tablets 150 mg.

Pale yellow, round, biconvex, film coated tablet. Engraved "APO" on one side, "QUE" over "150" on the other side.

APO-Quetiapine tablets 200 mg.

White, round, biconvex, film coated tablet. Engraved "APO" on one side, "QUE" over "200" on the other side.

APO-Quetiapine tablets 300 mg.

White, capsule shaped, biconvex, film coated tablet. Engraved "APO" on one side, "QUE 300" on the other side.

5 Pharmacological Properties

5.1 Pharmacodynamic Properties

Mechanism of action.

Quetiapine is an atypical antipsychotic agent. Quetiapine and the human plasma metabolite, norquetiapine, interact with a broad range of neurotransmitter receptors. Quetiapine and norquetiapine exhibit affinity for brain serotonin (5HT2) and dopamine D1 and D2 receptors; this combination of receptor antagonism with a higher selectivity for 5HT2 relative to D2 receptors is believed to contribute to the clinical antipsychotic properties and low extrapyramidal side effects (EPS) liability of quetiapine compared to typical antipsychotics. Quetiapine has no affinity for the norepinephrine transporter (NET) and low affinity for the serotonin 5HT1A receptor, whereas norquetiapine has high affinity for both. Inhibition of NET and partial agonist action at 5HT1A sites by norquetiapine may contribute to quetiapine's therapeutic efficacy as an antidepressant. Quetiapine and norquetiapine have high affinity at histaminergic and adrenergic α1 receptors and moderate affinity at adrenergic α2.
Quetiapine has low or no affinity for muscarinic receptors, while norquetiapine has moderate to high affinity for several muscarinic receptor subtypes, which may explain anticholinergic (muscarinic) effects. The norquetiapine metabolite 7-hydroxy norquetiapine also has affinity for histaminergic H1 and 5HT2B and 2C receptors at clinically relevant concentrations.
Quetiapine is active in tests for antipsychotic activity, such as conditioned avoidance. It also reverses the action of dopamine agonists, measured either behaviourally or electrophysiologically, and elevates dopamine metabolite concentrations, a neurochemical index of D2 receptor blockade. The extent to which the metabolites norquetiapine and 7-hydroxy norquetiapine contribute to the pharmacological activity of quetiapine in humans is uncertain.
In preclinical tests predictive of EPS, quetiapine is unlike typical antipsychotics and has an atypical profile. Quetiapine does not produce dopamine D2 receptor supersensitivity after chronic administration. Quetiapine produces only weak catalepsy at effective dopamine D2 receptor blocking doses. Quetiapine demonstrates selectivity for the limbic system by producing depolarisation blockade of the mesolimbic but not the nigrostriatal dopamine containing neurones following chronic administration. Quetiapine exhibits minimal dystonic liability in haloperidol sensitised or drug naive Cebus monkeys after acute and chronic administration.
It has been demonstrated that quetiapine immediate release tablets are effective when given once or twice a day, although quetiapine has a pharmacokinetic half-life of approximately 7 hours. This is further supported by the data from a positron emission tomography (PET) study which identified that for quetiapine, 5HT2 and D2 receptor occupancy are maintained for up to 12 hours. The safety and efficacy of doses greater than 800 mg/day have not been evaluated.

Clinical trials.

Bipolar disorder (adults).

Maintenance treatment in combination with lithium or sodium valproate.

The efficacy of quetiapine in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder was established in two similarly designed placebo controlled trials in patients who met DSM-IV criteria for bipolar I disorder. These trials included patients whose most recent mood episode was mania (approximately 36%), depression (approximately 30%) or mixed state (approximately 34%); and patients with or without psychotic features. Patients with rapid cycling (approximately 37%) were also included.
Both trials consisted of an open label phase followed by a randomised treatment phase. In the open label phase (n = 3414), patients were required to be stabilised on quetiapine immediate release tablets (400-800 mg/day) in combination with a mood stabiliser (lithium or valproate) for at least 12 weeks prior to randomisation. In the randomisation phase, patients who were symptomatically stable for at least 12 weeks (n = 1326) either continued treatment with quetiapine (at the same dose, then adjusted as clinically indicated) in combination with a mood stabiliser or received placebo in combination with a mood stabiliser for up to 104 weeks. Approximately 40% of patients received lithium and 60% received valproate.
The primary endpoint was time to recurrence of any mood event (mania, depression or mixed state). A mood event was defined as medication initiation, hospitalisation, Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) score ≥ 20 or Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score ≥ 20 on two consecutive assessments or study discontinuation due to a mood event. Quetiapine was superior to placebo in increasing the time to recurrence of a mood event in both studies. Patients on quetiapine had a 70% less risk of experiencing a recurrence of a mood event (see Figure 1 and Table 11) compared to patients on placebo. Patients on quetiapine had a lower risk of experiencing a mood event prior to week 28 and week 52 compared to patients on placebo (see Table 12).
Maintenance treatment with quetiapine was superior to placebo in increasing the time to recurrence of a depressive or a manic event (see Table 11). Patients on quetiapine also had a lower risk of experiencing a depressive or a manic event prior to week 28 and week 52 compared to patients on placebo (see Table 12).
Efficacy was demonstrated to be independent of the nature of the most recent episode (manic, mixed or depressive), the mood stabiliser (lithium or valproate), rapid cycling course, gender, age or ethnicity.

Maintenance treatment as monotherapy.

The efficacy of quetiapine in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder as monotherapy was established in a placebo controlled trial in 1172 patients who met DSM-IV criteria for bipolar I disorder. Approximately 50% of the 2438 patients initially treated with quetiapine for their index episode achieved stabilisation and were eligible for enrolment in the placebo controlled randomised phase. The most recent mood episode of patients included was mania (approximately 54%), depression (approximately 28%) or mixed state (approximately 18%). Patients with rapid cycling were also included.
The trial consisted of an open label phase followed by a randomised treatment phase. In the open label phase, patients were required to be stabilised on quetiapine immediate release tablets (300-800 mg/day) for at least 4 weeks prior to randomisation to quetiapine, placebo or lithium. In the randomisation phase, the dose of quetiapine and lithium could be adjusted as clinically indicated. Randomised treatment was intended for up to 104 weeks however the study was stopped early following a positive interim analysis.
The primary endpoint was time to relapse/recurrence of any mood event (mania, depression or mixed state). A mood event was defined as medication initiation, hospitalisation, YMRS score ≥ 20 or MADRS score ≥ 20 on two consecutive assessments or study discontinuation due to a mood event. Quetiapine was superior to placebo in increasing the time to relapse/recurrence of a mood event. Patients on quetiapine had a 71% less risk of experiencing a relapse/recurrence of a mood event (see Figure 2 and Table 13) compared to patients on placebo. Quetiapine was also superior to placebo in increasing time to relapse/recurrence of manic events and depressive events (see Table 13). Efficacy was demonstrated to be independent of the nature of the most recent episode (manic, mixed or depressed), rapid cycling course, gender, age or ethnicity.

Bipolar depression.

The safety and efficacy of quetiapine 300 mg and 600 mg once daily for the treatment of bipolar depression was established in 4 similarly designed placebo controlled clinical trials (n = 2461) over 8 weeks with 2 of these studies assessing maintenance of effect for up to 52 weeks. Patients met the DSM-IV criteria for bipolar I or II disorder, with or without rapid cycling courses. In the 8 week study period approximately 35% of patients met the criteria for bipolar II disorder.
Antidepressant activity was assessed by the change from baseline for MADRS total score (primary endpoint), at 8 weeks (day 57). In all 4 studies quetiapine doses of 300 mg/day and 600 mg/day demonstrated clinical and statistical superiority to placebo in the treatment of depression at 8 weeks (see Figure 3A). The antidepressant effect of quetiapine was superior compared to placebo as early as day 8 (week 1) and was maintained through to week 8 (see Figure 3A).
The magnitude of the antidepressant effect, was supported by the secondary outcome variables [Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) total score, the item analyses of the MADRS and HAM-D item 1 (depressed mood) score]. Response rates (defined as (≥ 50% reduction in MADRS total score) and remission rates (defined as MADRS total score of 12 or less) were superior for quetiapine compared to placebo at week 8. The Clinical Global Impression-Severity of Illness (CGI-S) and Clinical Global Impression-Improvement (CGI-I), measures of the clinicians impression of the severity of the patients overall illness and improvement from baseline, were also assessed with quetiapine superior to placebo at week 8 in all 4 studies.
Alleviation of anxiety symptoms by quetiapine in all 4 studies was confirmed by a statistically superior Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A) total score change from baseline compared to placebo.
The change from baseline for total MADRS score for quetiapine vs placebo was statistically significant for patients with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder. Efficacy was also demonstrated to be independent of cycling frequency, gender, or age.
Quality of life assessments as measured by Q-LES-Q (Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Scale) total score revealed superior improvement with quetiapine 300 mg treatment and improvement was also seen with quetiapine 600 mg compared to placebo.
Maintenance of the quetiapine effect in bipolar depression was demonstrated during the continuation phase with patients treated with quetiapine experiencing a significantly longer time to recurrence of any mood event (depression, mixed state or mania; defined as a MADRS score ≥ 20 or a YMRS score ≥ 16; initiation of an antipsychotic, antidepressant, mood stabilizer etc; hospitalization for symptoms of depression and/or mania/hypomania; discontinuation due to symptoms of depression and/or mania/hypomania), compared to placebo as shown in Figure 3B. Quetiapine patients had a lower risk of experiencing a mood event at weeks 26 and 52 compared to patients on placebo. Patients on quetiapine had a 49% less risk of experiencing a mood event compared with patients treated with placebo [HR 0.51 (95% CI 0.38, 0.69; p < 0.001)]. The risk of a mood event for quetiapine versus placebo was reduced by 41% for the 300 mg dose and by 55% for the 600 mg dose.
Quetiapine patients also had a lower risk of experiencing a depressive event at weeks 26 and 52 compared to patients on placebo. The analysis of time to a depressive event mirrored the overall mood event results with patients on quetiapine having a 57% less risk of experiencing a depressive event compared with patients treated with placebo (HR 0.43, 95% CI 0.30, 0.62, p < 0.001). The risk of a depressive event for quetiapine versus placebo was reduced by 52% for the 300 mg dose and by 61% for the 600 mg dose.
No increased risk for a manic or hypomanic event was observed. Quetiapine treatment of a depressive episode was also not associated with a switch to mania or hypomania.
Time to all cause discontinuation, including the composite mood event, was also examined with the Kaplan-Meier estimate of time to 50% all cause discontinuation being 311 days for quetiapine treatment, compared to 156 days for placebo treatment.
The maintenance of effect observed in patients treated with quetiapine was demonstrated to be independent of bipolar diagnosis (i.e. I or II), gender or age.
In the majority of studies in the acute phase statistically significant improvements over placebo were seen in reductions in suicidal thinking as measured by MADRS item 10. There was also no increased risk of suicidal behaviour or ideation associated with quetiapine treatment for bipolar depression in either the acute or continuation phase.

Acute mania.

The efficacy of quetiapine immediate release tablets in the treatment of manic episodes was established in three short-term placebo controlled trials in patients who met DSM-IV criteria for bipolar I disorder. These trials included patients with or without psychotic features and excluded patients with rapid cycling or mixed episodes.
The primary outcome variable for these trials was change from baseline to day 21 in the YMRS total score, an instrument used to assess manic symptoms. Various secondary outcomes were also assessed. The CGI-Bipolar Version reflects the clinician's impression of the severity of the patient's overall bipolar illness and improvement from baseline (CGI-BP Severity and CGI-BP Improvement). In addition, MADRS was used to assess depressive symptoms, and the Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale (PANSS) was used to assess the efficacy in psychosis, agitation and aggression. The Global Assessment Scale (GAS) was used to assess improvement in functional status.
The results of the trials follow:
In two 12 week trials (n = 300, n = 299) comparing quetiapine to placebo, quetiapine was superior to placebo in reducing manic symptoms. Of those patients with a clinical response, 87% received doses of quetiapine between 400 and 800 mg per day. The mean last week median dose of quetiapine in responders was approximately 600 mg/day.
The majority of patients who responded at day 21 maintained responses to day 84. On secondary endpoints, quetiapine was also clinically and statistically superior to placebo. Improvements were observed in CGI-BP Severity and Improvement, MADRS total score, PANSS total score, PANSS activation subscale and in the GAS score. The effectiveness of quetiapine was unaffected by age, gender, ethnicity or the presence of psychotic symptoms at baseline.
In a 3 week placebo controlled trial (n = 170) comparing quetiapine immediate release tablets to placebo in patients on a mood stabiliser (lithium or valproate), quetiapine was superior to placebo in reducing manic symptoms. Improvements were observed in CGI-BP Severity and Improvement and PANSS total score. Of those patients with a clinical response, 91% received doses of quetiapine between 400 and 800 mg per day. The mean last week median dose of quetiapine in responders was approximately 600 mg/day. In a similarly designed 6 week placebo controlled trial (n = 200) quetiapine immediate release tablets demonstrated a similar improvement in YMRS scores but did not demonstrate superiority to placebo at either day 21 or day 42, possibly due to a higher placebo effect.

Schizophrenia (adults).

The efficacy of quetiapine immediate release tablets was established in short-term controlled trials of psychotic inpatients who met DSM III-R criteria for schizophrenia. Several instruments were used for assessing psychiatric signs and symptoms in these studies, among them the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), CGI and Scale for Assessing Negative Symptoms (SANS).
The main trials were:
1. A 6 week placebo controlled trial (n = 361) involving 5 fixed doses of quetiapine (75, 150, 300, 600 and 750 mg/day on a three times a day dosing schedule).
2. A 6 week placebo controlled trial (n = 109) involving titration of quetiapine in doses up to 750 mg/day on a three times a day dosing schedule.
3. A 6 week placebo controlled (n = 286) involving titration of quetiapine in high (up to 750 mg/day on a three times a day dosing schedule) and low (up to 250 mg/day on a three times a day dosing schedule) doses.
4. A 6 week dose and dose regimen comparison trial (n = 618) involving 2 fixed doses of quetiapine fumarate (450 mg/day on both twice a day and three times a day dosing schedules and 50 mg/day on a twice a day dosing schedule).
Quetiapine has been shown to be effective in the treatment of both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. In a comparative clinical trial of 10 weeks duration, quetiapine has been shown to be as effective as risperidone, using a 40% or more decline in the baseline PANSS score as a definition of response; although statistically comparative efficacy was not demonstrated when using a 30% decline in PANSS score, the differences between treatments were modest in absolute terms and in all probability not clinically meaningful.

Children and adolescents (10 to 17 years of age).

Three clinical trials have been conducted with quetiapine immediate release tablets in children and adolescents; two short-term randomised placebo controlled trials: a 6 week trial in schizophrenia (patients aged 13-17 years) and a 3 week trial in bipolar mania (patients aged 10 to 17 years); and an open label 26 week safety and tolerability trial (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects), Clinical study experience) which also assessed efficacy measures. The safety and efficacy of quetiapine in children and adolescents have not been assessed beyond these time periods.

Acute mania (monotherapy).

The efficacy of quetiapine in the treatment of acute manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in children and adolescents (10 to 17 years of age) was demonstrated in a 3 week, double blind, placebo controlled, multicentre trial. Patients who met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for a manic episode were randomised into one of three treatment groups: quetiapine 400 mg/day, quetiapine 600 mg/day, or placebo. Approximately 45% (n = 124) of patients (n = 277) had comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with 59 (21%) of patients receiving concomitant psychostimulants (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).
Study medication was initiated at 50 mg/day and on day 2 increased to 100 mg/day. Subsequently, the dose was titrated to a target dose of 400 or 600 mg using increments of 100 mg/day, given two or three times daily. Results of the study demonstrated superior efficacy of quetiapine fumarate 400 mg/day and 600 mg/day compared with placebo (see Table 14).

Schizophrenia.

The efficacy of quetiapine in the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents (13 to 17 years of age) was demonstrated in a 6 week, double blind, placebo controlled trial. Patients who met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia were randomized into one of three treatment groups: quetiapine 400 mg/day, quetiapine 800 mg/day, or placebo. Study medication was initiated at 50 mg/day and on day 2 increased to 100 mg/day. Subsequently, the dose was titrated to the a target dose of 400 or 800 mg using increments of 100 mg/day, given two or three times daily. Results of the study demonstrated superior efficacy of quetiapine 400 mg/day and 800 mg/day compared to placebo (see Table 15).

5.2 Pharmacokinetic Properties

Absorption.

Quetiapine is well absorbed and the bioavailability is not significantly affected by administration with food.

Distribution.

The elimination half-lives of quetiapine and norquetiapine are approximately 7 and 12 hours respectively. Quetiapine is approximately 83% bound to plasma proteins. Steady-state peak molar concentrations of the active metabolite norquetiapine are 35% of that observed for quetiapine.
The pharmacokinetics of quetiapine and norquetiapine are linear across the approved dosage range. The kinetics of quetiapine do not differ between women and men.

Metabolism.

Quetiapine is extensively metabolised by the liver following oral administration, with parent compound accounting for less than 5% of unchanged drug related material in the urine or faeces, following the administration of radiolabelled quetiapine. The average molar dose fraction of free quetiapine and the active human plasma metabolite norquetiapine is < 5% excreted in the urine.
In vitro investigations established that CYP3A4 is likely to be the primary enzyme responsible for cytochrome P450 mediated metabolism of quetiapine. Norquetiapine is primarily formed and eliminated via CYP3A4. CYP2D6 and CYP2C9 are also involved in quetiapine metabolism.
Quetiapine and several of its metabolites (including norquetiapine) were found to be weak to modest inhibitors of human cytochrome P450 3A4, 2C19, 2D6, 1A2 and 2C9 activities in vitro. In vitro CYP inhibition is observed only at concentrations approximately 5 to 50-fold higher than those observed at a dose range of 300 to 800 mg/day in humans. Based on these in vitro results, it is unlikely that coadministration of quetiapine with other medicines will result in clinically significant drug inhibition of cytochrome P450 mediated metabolism of the other drug. From animal studies it appears that quetiapine can induce cytochrome P450 enzymes. In a specific interaction study in psychotic patients, however, no increase in the cytochrome P450 activity was found after administration of quetiapine.
The mean clearance of quetiapine in the elderly is approximately 30 to 50% lower than that seen in adults aged 18 to 65 years.

Excretion.

Approximately 73% of the radioactivity is excreted in the urine and 21% in the faeces.

Use in renal impairment.

The mean plasma clearance of quetiapine was reduced by approximately 25% in subjects with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance less than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2), but the individual clearance values are within the range for normal subjects.

Use in hepatic impairment.

The mean plasma clearance of quetiapine was reduced by approximately 25% in subjects with hepatic impairment (stable alcoholic cirrhosis), but the individual clearance values are within the range for normal subjects. Since quetiapine is extensively metabolised by the liver, higher plasma levels are expected in the hepatically impaired population, and dosage adjustment may be needed in these patients (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration).

Use in children and adolescents (10 to 17 years of age).

At steady state the pharmacokinetics of the parent compound in children and adolescents (10-17 years of age) were similar to adults, while AUC and Cmax of the active metabolite, norquetiapine, were higher in children and adolescents than in adults, 45% and 31%, respectively. However, when adjusted for weight AUC and Cmax of the parent compound in children and adolescents were lower than in adults, 41% and 39%, respectively, while the pharmacokinetics of the metabolite, norquetiapine, was similar (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration).

5.3 Preclinical Safety Data

Acute toxicity studies.

Quetiapine has low acute toxicity. Findings in mice (median lethal dose > 500 mg/kg PO; 100 mg/kg IP), rats (median lethal dose > 500 mg/kg PO; 100 mg/kg IP) and dogs (dose limit study 10-75 mg/kg PO) were typical of neuroleptic agents and included decreased motor activity, ptosis, loss of righting reflex, prostration, fluid around the mouth and convulsions.

Repeat dose toxicity studies.

In multiple dose studies in rats, dogs and monkeys, anticipated central nervous system effects of an antipsychotic drug were observed with quetiapine (e.g. sedation at lower doses and tremor, convulsions or prostration at higher exposures).
Hyperprolactinaemia, induced through the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist activity of quetiapine or its metabolites, varied between species but was most marked in the rat, and a range of effects consequent to this were seen in the 12 month study, including mammary hyperplasia, increased pituitary weight, decreased uterine weight and enhanced growth of females.
Reversible morphological and functional effects on the liver, consistent with hepatic enzyme induction, were seen in mouse, rat and monkey.
Thyroid follicular cell hypertrophy was seen in mice, rats and monkeys. This hypertrophy was secondary to compensatory elevations of circulating thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) brought about by increased hepatic metabolism of thyroid hormones.
Pigmentation of a number of tissues, particularly the thyroid, was not associated with any morphological or functional effects.
Transient increases in heart rate were not accompanied by consistent effects on blood pressure in dogs.
Posterior triangular cataracts seen after 6 months in dogs at 100 mg/kg/day were consistent with inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis in the lens. No cataracts were observed in Cynomolgus monkeys dosed up to 225 mg/kg/day, although an increase in lens relucency was seen at the highest dose. No effects on the lens were seen in rodents. Monitoring in clinical studies did not reveal drug-related corneal opacities in man. (See Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects), Clinical study experience, Other findings observed during clinical studies).
No evidence of neutrophil reduction or agranulocytosis was seen in any of the toxicity studies, however there was evidence for reduced lymphocytes in the bone marrow of dogs and in the circulation of monkeys.

Genotoxicity.

Genetic toxicity studies with quetiapine show that it is not a mutagen or clastogen. Quetiapine showed no evidence of genotoxicity in a series of assays for gene mutation (bacteria and Chinese hamster ovary cells) and chromosomal damage (human lymphocytes and the in vivo micronucleus test).

Carcinogenicity.

In the rat study (20, 75 and 250 mg/kg/day) the incidence of mammary adenocarcinomas was increased at all doses in female rats, consequential to prolonged hyperprolactinaemia. The incidence of carcinoma of the adrenal cortex was increased in male rats at the highest dose.
In male rat (250 mg/kg/day) and mouse (250 and 750 mg/kg/day), there was an increased incidence of thyroid follicular cell benign adenomas, consistent with known rodent specific mechanisms resulting from enhanced hepatic thyroxine clearance.

4 Clinical Particulars

4.1 Therapeutic Indications

Quetiapine is indicated for:

Bipolar disorder.

Adults.

Maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder, as monotherapy or in combination with lithium or sodium valproate, for the prevention of relapse/ recurrence of manic, depressive or mixed episodes.
Treatment of depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder (see Section 4.2 Dose and Method of Administration).
Treatment of acute mania associated with bipolar I disorder as monotherapy or in combination with lithium or sodium valproate.

Children/adolescents aged 10 to 17 years.

Monotherapy treatment of acute mania associated with bipolar I disorder.

Schizophrenia (adults and adolescents aged 13 to 17 years).

Treatment of schizophrenia.

4.3 Contraindications

Quetiapine is contraindicated in patients who are hypersensitive to any component of this product.

4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use

Concomitant cardiovascular illness.

Quetiapine should be used with caution in patients with known cardiovascular disease (history of myocardial infarction or ischemic heart disease, heart failure or conduction abnormalities), cerebrovascular disease, or other conditions predisposing to hypotension (dehydration, hypovolemia and treatment with antihypertensive medications).
Quetiapine has not been evaluated or used to any appreciable extent in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable heart disease. Patients with these diagnoses were excluded from premarketing clinical studies. Because of the risk of orthostatic hypotension with quetiapine, caution should be observed in cardiac patients.

Orthostatic hypotension.

Quetiapine may induce orthostatic hypotension associated with dizziness, tachycardia and, in some patients, syncope especially during the initial dose titration period, probably reflecting its α1-adrenergic antagonist properties. Syncope has been commonly reported (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). Orthostatic hypotension, dizziness and syncope may lead to falls (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). If hypotension occurs during titration to the target dose, a return to the previous dose in the titration schedule is appropriate.

QT interval.

In clinical trials, quetiapine was not associated with a persistent increase in QTc intervals. However, in postmarketing experience there were cases reported of QT prolongation with overdose (see Section 4.9 Overdose), in patients with concomitant illness, and in patients taking medicines known to cause electrolyte imbalance or increase QT interval. As with other antipsychotics, caution should be exercised when quetiapine is prescribed in patients, including children and adolescents, with cardiovascular disease or family history of QT prolongation. Particularly in the elderly, the use of quetiapine should be avoided in combination with neuroleptics and drugs that are known to prolong QTc including class Ia antiarrhythmics (e.g. disopyramide) or class III antiarrhythmics (e.g. amiodarone, sotalol), antipsychotic medications (e.g. ziprasidone, chlorpromazine, haloperidol), antibiotics (e.g. moxifloxacin, erythromycin), or any other class of medications known to prolong the QTc interval (e.g. citalopram, pentamidine, methadone). Quetiapine should also be avoided in circumstances that may increase the risk of occurrence of torsades de pointes and/or sudden death, including (1) a history of cardiac arrhythmias such as bradycardia; (2) hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia; (3) concomitant use of other drugs that prolong the QTc interval; and (4) presence of congenital prolongation of the QT interval.

Severe cutaneous adverse reactions.

Severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCARs), including Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) and drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) are potentially life threatening adverse drug reactions that have been reported during quetiapine exposure. SCARs commonly present as a combination of the following symptoms: extensive cutaneous rash or exfoliative dermatitis, fever, lymphadenopathy and possible eosinophilia. Discontinue quetiapine if severe cutaneous adverse reactions occur.

Cardiomyopathy and myocarditis.

Cardiomyopathy and myocarditis have been reported in clinical trials and during the postmarketing experience, however, a causal relationship to quetiapine has not been established. Treatment with quetiapine should be reassessed in patients with suspected cardiomyopathy or myocarditis.

Seizures.

In controlled clinical trials there was no difference in the incidence of seizures in patients treated with quetiapine or placebo (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). As with other antipsychotics, caution is recommended when treating patients with a history of seizures or with conditions that potentially lower the seizure threshold. Conditions that lower the seizure threshold may be more prevalent in a population of 65 years or older.

Clinical worsening and suicide risk associated with psychiatric disorders.

The risk of suicide attempt is inherent in depression and may persist until significant remission occurs. The risk must be considered in all depressed patients.
Patients with depression may experience worsening of their depressive symptoms and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behaviour (suicidality), whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. As improvement may not occur during the first few weeks or more of treatment, patients should be closely monitored for clinical worsening and suicidality, especially at the beginning of a course of treatment or at the time of dose changes, either increases or decreases. Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse or whose emergent suicidality is severe, abrupt in onset or was not part of the patient's presenting symptoms.
Patients (and caregivers of patients) should be alerted about the need to monitor for any worsening of their condition and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation/behaviour or thoughts of harming themselves and to seek medical advice immediately if these symptoms present. Patients with comorbid depression associated with other psychiatric disorders being treated with antidepressants should be similarly observed for clinical worsening and suicidality.
Pooled analysis of 24 short-term (4 to 16 weeks) placebo controlled trials of nine antidepressant medicines (SSRIs and others) in 4,400 children and adolescents with major depressant disorder (16 trials), obsessive compulsive disorder (4 trials) or other psychiatric disorders (4 trials) have revealed a greater risk of adverse events representing suicidal behaviour or thinking (suicidality) during the first few months of treatment in those receiving antidepressants. The average risk of such events in patients treated with an antidepressant was 4% compared with 2% of patients taking a placebo. There was considerable variation in risk among the antidepressants but there was a tendency towards an increase for almost all antidepressants studied. This meta-analysis did not include trials involving quetiapine.
The risk of suicidality was most consistently observed in the major depressive disorder trials but there were signals of risk arising from the trials in other psychiatric indications (obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder) as well. No suicides occurred in these trials. It is unknown whether the suicidality risk in children and adolescent patients extends to use beyond several months. The nine antidepressant medicines in the pooled analyses included five SSRIs (citalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline) and four non-SSRIs (bupropion, mirtazapine, nefazodone, venlafaxine).
Symptoms of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility (aggressiveness), impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania and mania have been reported in adults, adolescents and children being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either worsening of depression and/or emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established there is concern that such symptoms may be precursors of emerging suicidality.
Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or for any other condition (psychiatric or nonpsychiatric) should be informed about the need to monitor these patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behaviour and other symptoms described above, as well as emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to health care providers. It is particularly important that monitoring be undertaken during the initial few months of antidepressant treatment or at times of dose increase or decrease.
The possibility of a suicide attempt is inherent in schizophrenia; close supervision of high risk patients should accompany drug therapy.
Prescriptions for quetiapine should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

Venous thromboembolism.

Cases of venous thromboembolism (VTE) have been reported with antipsychotic drugs. Since patients treated with antipsychotics often present with acquired risk factors for VTE, all possible risk factors for VTE should be identified before and during treatment with quetiapine, and preventative measures undertaken.

Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS).

In placebo controlled clinical trials of adult patients with schizophrenia, bipolar mania and maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder, the incidence of EPS was no different from that of placebo across the recommended therapeutic dose range. In short-term, placebo controlled clinical trials for bipolar depression, the incidence of EPS was higher in quetiapine treated patients than in placebo treated patients (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects) for rates of EPS observed in all indications).

Class effect.

Akathisia has been reported in patients treated with quetiapine. The presentation of akathisia may be variable and comprises subjective complaints of restlessness and an overwhelming urge to move and either distress or motor phenomena such as pacing, swinging of the legs while seated, rocking from foot to foot, or both. Particular attention should be paid to the monitoring for such symptoms and signs as, left untreated, akathisia is associated with poor compliance and an increased risk of relapse.

Tardive dyskinesia.

Quetiapine should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimise the occurrence of tardive dyskinesia.
The risk of developing tardive dyskinesia and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and total cumulative dose of antipsychotic medicines administered to the patient increase. However, tardive dyskinesia can develop, although much less commonly after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses.
If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear, dose reduction or discontinuation of quetiapine should be considered. The symptoms of tardive dyskinesia can worsen or even arise after discontinuation of treatment (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome has been associated with antipsychotic treatment, including quetiapine. Clinical manifestations include hyperthermia, altered mental status, muscular rigidity, autonomic instability, and increased creatine phosphokinase. In such an event, quetiapine should be discontinued and appropriate medical treatment given.

Body temperature regulation.

Disruption of the body's ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic agents. Appropriate care is advised when prescribing quetiapine for patients who will be experiencing conditions which may contribute to an elevation in core body temperature, e.g. exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, receiving concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration.

Neutropenia and agranulocytosis.

Severe neutropenia (< 0.5 x 109/L) without infection has been uncommonly reported in short-term placebo controlled monotherapy clinical trials with quetiapine. There have been reports of agranulocytosis (severe neutropenia with infection) among all patients treated with quetiapine during clinical trials (rare) as well as postmarketing reports (including fatal cases). Most of these cases of severe neutropenia have occurred within the first two months of starting therapy with quetiapine. There was no apparent dose relationship. Possible risk factors for neutropenia include pre-existing low white cell count (WBC), a history of drug induced neutropenia and concomitant use of other medicines that have been associated with neutropenia.
There have been cases of agranulocytosis in patients without pre-existing risk factors. Neutropenia should be considered in patients presenting with infection, particularly in the absence of obvious predisposing factor(s), or in patients with unexplained fever, and should be managed as clinically appropriate.
Quetiapine should be discontinued in patients with a neutrophil count < 1.0 x 109/L. These patients should be observed for signs and symptoms of infection and neutrophil counts followed (until they exceed 1.5 x 109/L). See Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects).

Leukopenia and/or neutropenia.

As with other antipsychotics transient leukopenia and/or neutropenia have been observed in patients administered quetiapine. Possible risk factors for leukopenia and/or neutropenia include pre-existing low white cell count and history of drug induced leukopenia and/or neutropenia. Occasionally, eosinophilia has been observed (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).

Hepatic enzyme inducers.

Concomitant use of quetiapine with hepatic enzyme inducers such as carbamazepine may substantially decrease systemic exposure to quetiapine. Depending on clinical response, higher doses of quetiapine may need to be considered if quetiapine is used concomitantly with a hepatic enzyme inducer.

CYP3A4 inhibitors.

During concomitant administration of medicines which are potent CYP3A4 inhibitors (such as azole antifungals, macrolide antibiotics and protease inhibitors), plasma concentrations of quetiapine can be significantly higher than observed in patients in clinical trials. As a consequence of this, lower doses of quetiapine should be used. Special consideration should be given in elderly and debilitated patients. The risk benefit ratio needs to be considered on an individual basis in all patients (see Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions).

Hyperglycaemia and diabetes mellitus.

Hyperglycaemia, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma or death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics including quetiapine (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). Assessment of the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and glucose abnormalities is complicated by the possibility of an increased background risk of diabetes mellitus in patients with schizophrenia and the increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus in the general population. Given these confounders, the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and hyperglycaemia related adverse events is not completely understood. However, epidemiological studies suggest an increased risk of treatment emergent hyperglycaemia related adverse events in patients treated with the atypical antipsychotics. Precise risk estimates for hyperglycaemia related adverse events in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics are not available.
Patients with an established diagnosis of diabetes mellitus who are started on atypical antipsychotics should be monitored regularly for worsening of glucose control. Patients with risk factors for diabetes mellitus (e.g. obesity, family history of diabetes) who are starting treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing at the beginning of treatment and periodically during treatment. Any patient treated with atypical antipsychotics should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycaemia including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia and weakness. Patients who develop symptoms of hyperglycaemia during treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing. In some cases, hyperglycaemia has resolved when the atypical antipsychotic was discontinued; however, some patients required continuation of antidiabetic treatment despite discontinuation of the suspect drug.

Lipids.

Increases in triglycerides and cholesterol, and decreases in fasting HDL cholesterol have been observed in clinical trials with quetiapine (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). Monitoring is recommended at baseline and periodically during treatment for all patients. Lipid changes should be managed as clinically appropriate.

Metabolic factors.

In some patients, a worsening of more than one of the metabolic factors of weight, blood glucose and lipids was observed in clinical studies. All patients taking antipsychotic medications such as quetiapine should be monitored for metabolic factors at the start of treatment and at intervals during treatment in accordance with current local guidelines. The results of monitoring should be managed as clinically appropriate.

Pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis has been reported in clinical trials and during post marketing experience. Among the post marketing reports, many patients had factors which are known to be associated with pancreatitis such as increased triglycerides (see Lipids above and in Effects on laboratory tests), gallstones and alcohol consumption.

Hepatic.

Hepatic failure, including fatalities, has been reported very rarely during the post-marketing period. There have been rare reports of hepatitis in clinical studies. Rare post-marketing reports of hepatitis (with or without jaundice), in patients with or without prior history, have been received. Very rare cases of hepatic steatosis, cholestatic or mixed liver injury have also been reported in the post-marketing period.
For patients who have known or suspected abnormal hepatic function prior to starting quetiapine, standard clinical assessment, including measurement of transaminase levels is recommended. Periodic clinical reassessment with transaminase levels is recommended for such patients, as well as for patients who develop any signs and symptoms suggestive of a new onset liver disorder during quetiapine therapy (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).

Withdrawal.

Acute withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and insomnia have been described after abrupt cessation of antipsychotic medicines including quetiapine. Gradual withdrawal over a period of at least one to two weeks is advisable (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).

Dependence/tolerance.

There have been reports of quetiaptine misuse, abuse, tolerance and/or physical dependence. These cases include adult and adolescent patients using quetiapine alone of with other substances of abuse. Caution is needed when prescribing quetiapine to patients with a history of alcohol or drug abuse (e.g. development of tolerance, increases in dose, drug-seeking behaviour), particularly if they have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.

Dysphagia.

Esophageal dysmotility and aspiration have been associated with antipsychotic medicine use. Quetiapine and other antipsychotic drugs should be used cautiously in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia (e.g. elderly patients).

Sleep apnoea.

In patients who have a history of or are at risk for sleep apnoea, and are receiving concomitant central nervous system (CNS) depressants, quetiapine should be used with caution.

Anticholinergic (muscarinic) effects.

Norquetiapine, an active metabolite of quetiapine, has moderate to strong affinity for several muscarinic receptor subtypes. This contributes to adverse drug reactions reflecting anticholinergic effects when quetiapine is used at recommended doses, when used concomitantly with other medications having anticholinergic effects, and in the setting of overdose. Quetiapine should be used with caution in patients receiving medications having anticholinergic (muscarinic) effects. Quetiapine should be used with caution in patients with a current diagnosis or prior history of urinary retention, clinically significant prostatic hypertrophy, intestinal obstruction or related conditions, increased intraocular pressure or narrow angle glaucoma (see Section 5 Pharmacological Properties; Section 4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions; Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects) and Section 4.9 Overdose).

Constipation and intestinal obstruction.

Constipation represents a risk factor for intestinal obstruction. Constipation and intestinal obstruction have been reported with quetiapine (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)). This includes fatal reports in patients who are at higher risk of intestinal obstruction, including those that are receiving multiple concomitant medications that decrease intestinal motility and/or may not report symptoms of constipation.

Use in the elderly.

Increased risk of mortality in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis.

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with atypical anti- psychotics are at an increased risk of death compared to placebo. A meta-analysis of seventeen placebo controlled trials with dementia related behavioural disorders showed a risk of death in the drugtreated patients of approximately 1.6 to 1.7 times that seen in placebo-treated patients. The clinical trials included in the meta-analysis were undertaken with olanzapine, aripiprazole, risperidone, and quetiapine. Over the course of these trials averaging about 10 weeks in duration, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group. Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g. heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g. pneumonia) in nature. Quetiapine is not approved for the treatment of elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis or behavioural disorders.

Paediatric use (10 to 17 years of age).

Paediatric schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder are serious mental disorders, however, diagnosis can be challenging. For paediatric schizophrenia, symptom profiles can be variable, and for bipolar I disorder, patients may have variable patterns of periodicity of manic or mixed symptoms. It is recommended that medication therapy for paediatric schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder be initiated only after a thorough diagnostic evaluation has been performed and careful consideration given to the potential benefits and risks associated with medication treatment. Medication treatment for both paediatric schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder is indicated as part of a total treatment program that often includes psychological, educational and social interventions.
Efficacy and safety of quetiapine have been demonstrated for adolescents aged from 13 years with schizophrenia and for children/adolescents aged from 10 years with bipolar I disorder experiencing acute mania in two clinical trials of 6 and 3 weeks duration, respectively. Safety data was provided for up to 26 weeks in a third open label safety and tolerability trial (see Section 5.1 Pharmacodynamic Properties, Clinical trials, Paediatric use). The safety and efficacy of quetiapine in children and adolescents have not been assessed beyond these time periods.
Although not all adverse reactions that have been identified in adult patients have been observed in clinical trials with quetiapine in children and adolescent patients, the same precautions that appear above for adults should be considered for children and adolescents. As seen in adults, increases in TSH, serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and weight have been observed (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use, Effects on laboratory tests; Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).
The following events were reported more frequently in the short-term studies in children and adolescents than in studies in adults: EPS, increases in appetite and serum prolactin. Increased blood pressure has not been identified in the adult population but was seen in children and adolescents. Blood pressure should be monitored at the beginning of, and periodically during treatment in children and adolescents (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).
Long-term safety data including growth, maturation and behavioural development, beyond 26 weeks of treatment with quetiapine, are not available for children and adolescents (10 to 17 years of age).

Thyroid hormone levels.

Quetiapine treatment was associated with dose related decreases in thyroid hormone levels. In short-term placebo controlled clinical trials the incidence of potentially clinically significant shifts in thyroid hormone levels were: total T4 - 3.4% for quetiapine versus 0.6% for placebo; free T4 - 0.7% for quetiapine versus 0.1% for placebo; total T3 - 0.54% for quetiapine versus 0.0% for placebo and free T3 - 0.2% for quetiapine versus 0.0% for placebo. The incidence of shifts in TSH was 3.2% for quetiapine versus 2.7% for placebo. In short-term placebo controlled monotherapy trials, the incidence of reciprocal, potentially clinically significant shifts in T3 and TSH was 0.0% for both quetiapine and placebo and 0.1% for quetiapine versus 0.0% for placebo for shifts in T4 and TSH. As supported by the literature, these changes in thyroid hormone levels are generally not associated with clinically symptomatic hypothyroidism. The reduction in total and free T4 was maximal within the first 6 weeks of quetiapine treatment, with no further reduction during long-term treatment. In nearly all cases, cessation of quetiapine treatment was associated with a reversal of the effects on total and free T4, irrespective of the duration of treatment. See Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects).

Serum transaminase.

Asymptomatic elevations in serum transaminase (ALT, AST) or γ-GT levels have been observed in some patients administered quetiapine. These elevations were usually reversible on continued quetiapine treatment (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).

Effects on laboratory tests.

Lipids.

Increases in triglyceride levels and total cholesterol (predominantly LDL cholesterol) have been observed during treatment with quetiapine. Decreases in fasting HDL cholesterol have also been observed (see Section 4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)).

Methadone and tricyclic antidepressant enzyme immunoassays.

There have been reports of false positive results in enzyme immunoassays for methadone and tricyclic antidepressants in patients who have taken quetiapine. Confirmation of questionable immunoassay screening results by an appropriate chromatographic technique is recommended.

4.5 Interactions with Other Medicines and Other Forms of Interactions

Antipsychotics and other centrally acting medicines.

Given the primary central nervous system effects of quetiapine, it should be used with caution in combination with other centrally acting medicines and alcohol.

Thioridazine.

Thioridazine (200 mg twice a day) increased the oral clearance of quetiapine (300 mg twice a day) by 65%.

Lorazepam.

The mean oral clearance of lorazepam (2 mg, single dose) was reduced by 20% in the presence of quetiapine administered as 250 mg three times a day dosing. Dosage adjustment is not required.

Levodopa and dopamine agonists.

As it exhibits in vitro dopamine antagonism, quetiapine may antagonise the effects of levodopa and dopamine agonists.

Carbamazepine and phenytoin.

See Hepatic enzyme inducers below.

Potential interactions that have been excluded.

Antipsychotics.

The pharmacokinetics of quetiapine were not significantly altered following coadministration with the antipsychotics risperidone (3 mg twice a day) or haloperidol (7.5 mg twice a day). The pharmacokinetics of lithium were not altered when coadministered with quetiapine (250 mg three times a day). The pharmacokinetics of sodium valproate and quetiapine were not altered to a clinically relevant extent when coadministered.

Imipramine and fluoxetine.

See CYP inhibitors below.

CYP inhibitor.

CYP3A4 is the primary enzyme responsible for cytochrome P450 mediated metabolism of quetiapine (see Metabolism). CYP2D6 and CYP2C9 are also involved.

CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g. azole antifungals, macrolide antibiotics and protease inhibitors).

During concomitant administration of drugs which are potent CYP3A4 inhibitors (such as azole antifungals, macrolide antibiotics and protease inhibitors), plasma concentrations of quetiapine can be significantly higher than observed in patients in clinical trials (see Ketoconazole below). As a consequence of this lower doses of quetiapine should be used. Special consideration should be given in elderly or debilitated patients. The risk benefit ratio needs to be considered on an individual basis.
It is also not recommended to take quetiapine together with grapefruit juice.

Ketoconazole.

In a multiple dose trial in healthy volunteers to assess the pharmacokinetics of quetiapine given before and during treatment with ketoconazole, coadministration of ketoconazole (200 mg once daily for 4 days) resulted in an increase in mean Cmax and AUC of quetiapine of 335% and 522%, respectively, with a corresponding decrease in mean oral clearance of 84%. The mean half-life of quetiapine increased from 2.6 to 6.8 hours, but the mean Tmax was unchanged.

Potential interactions that have been excluded.

Cimetidine.

The pharmacokinetics of quetiapine (150 mg three times a day) were not significantly altered (20% decrease in clearance) following coadministration with cimetidine (400 mg three times a day for 4 days) a known P450 enzyme inhibitor. Dosage adjustment for quetiapine is not required when it is given with cimetidine.

Imipramine and fluoxetine.

The pharmacokinetics of quetiapine were not significantly altered following coadministration with the antidepressants imipramine (75 mg twice a day; a known CYP2D6 inhibitor) or fluoxetine (60 mg once daily; a known CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 inhibitor).

Hepatic enzyme inducers (e.g. carbamazepine and phenytoin).

Quetiapine (administration of multiple daily doses up to 750 mg/day, on a three times a day dosing schedule) did not induce the hepatic enzyme systems involved in the metabolism of antipyrine. However, concomitant use of quetiapine with hepatic enzyme inducers such as carbamazepine or phenytoin may substantially decrease systemic exposure to quetiapine (see Carbamazepine and phenytoin below). Depending on clinical response, increased doses of quetiapine may be required to maintain control of psychotic symptoms in patients coadministered quetiapine and hepatic enzyme inducers (e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin, barbiturates, rifampicin, glucocorticoids). The safety of doses above 800 mg/day has not been established in the clinical trials. Continued treatment at higher doses should only be considered as a result of careful consideration of the benefit risk assessment for an individual patient.
The dose of quetiapine may need to be reduced if phenytoin, carbamazepine or other hepatic enzyme inducers are withdrawn and replaced with a non-inducer (e.g. sodium valproate).

Carbamazepine and phenytoin.

In a multiple dose trial in patients to assess the pharmacokinetics of quetiapine given before and during treatment with carbamazepine (a known hepatic enzyme inducer), coadministration of carbamazepine significantly increased the clearance of quetiapine. This increase in clearance reduced systemic quetiapine exposure (as measured by AUC) to an average of 13% of the exposure during administration of quetiapine alone; although a greater effect was seen in some patients. As a consequence of this interaction, lower plasma concentrations can occur, and hence, in each patient, consideration for a higher dose of quetiapine, depending on clinical response, should be considered.
Coadministration of quetiapine (250 mg three times a day) and phenytoin (100 mg three times a day; another microsomal enzyme inducer) also caused increases in clearance of quetiapine by 5-fold.

Cardiovascular medicines.

Caution should be used when quetiapine is used concomitantly with medicines known to cause electrolyte imbalance or to increase QTc interval.
Because of its potential for inducing hypotension, quetiapine may enhance the effects of certain antihypertensive medicines.

Medications to manage attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The data regarding safety and efficacy of quetiapine for the treatment of bipolar mania in children and adolescents receiving psychostimulants for comorbid ADHD are limited. Therefore, concomitant use of ADHD medication and quetiapine is not recommended. If concomitant therapy is considered necessary, patients should be carefully monitored for the effect of the combination of treatments on the signs and symptoms of both ADHD and acute mania. Effects on blood pressure may be cumulative and blood pressure should be carefully monitored.

Anticholinergic (muscarinic) effects.

Caution should be exercised treating patients receiving other medications having anticholinergic (muscarinic) effects (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

4.6 Fertility, Pregnancy and Lactation

Effects on fertility.

Effects related to elevated prolactin levels (marginal reduction in male fertility and pseudopregnancy, protracted periods of diestrus, increased precoital interval and reduced pregnancy rate) were seen in rats, although these are not directly relevant to humans because of species differences in hormonal control of reproduction.
(Category C)
The safety and efficacy of quetiapine during human pregnancy have not been established.

Nonteratogenic class effect.

Neonates exposed to antipsychotic drugs including quetiapine during the third trimester of pregnancy are at risk of experiencing extrapyramidal neurological disturbances and/or withdrawal symptoms following delivery. There have been postmarket reports of agitation, hypertonia, hypotonia, tremor, somnolence, respiratory distress and feeding disorder in these neonates. These complications have varied in severity; while in some cases symptoms have been self limited, in other cases neonates have required additional medical treatment or monitoring. Quetiapine should be used during pregnancy only if the anticipated benefit outweighs the risk, and the administered dose and duration of treatment should be as low and short as possible.
Teratogenic effects were not observed following administration of quetiapine at oral doses up to 200 mg/kg in rats (less than the exposure to quetiapine at the maximum recommended clinical dose based on AUC) and 100 mg/kg in rabbits (approximately twice the maximum clinical exposure based on BSA).
There have been published reports of quetiapine excretion into human breast milk, however the degree of excretion was not consistent. In a study in lactating rats the concentration of quetiapine and/or its metabolites was higher in milk than in plasma. Women who breastfeed should therefore be advised to avoid breastfeeding while taking quetiapine.

4.8 Adverse Effects (Undesirable Effects)

Clinical study experience.

Schizophrenia (adults).

The treatment emergent adverse events that occurred during acute therapy (up to 6 weeks) of schizophrenia in at least 1% [rounded to the nearest percent] of patients treated with quetiapine immediate release tablets in placebo controlled phase II/III trials where the incidence in patients treated with quetiapine was greater than the incidence in placebo treated patients are listed in Table 1 regardless of causality.

Bipolar I disorder, acute mania (adults).

Adverse events that occurred during the treatment of acute mania in 5% or more of patients treated with quetiapine in either the monotherapy or adjunct therapy, placebo controlled trials and observed at a rate of at least twice that of placebo are listed in Table 2 regardless of causality.

Bipolar I disorder, maintenance (adults).

The safety results of two clinical trials show that quetiapine immediate release tablets are generally safe and well tolerated when used in combination with lithium or valproate in long-term treatment. Adverse events occurring at an incidence of 5% or more in any randomised treatment group from placebo controlled clinical trials in patients with bipolar I disorder treated with quetiapine in combination with lithium or valproate as maintenance therapy is summarised by randomised treatment and by assigned mood stabiliser for the combined studies in Table 3 regardless of causality.
Adverse events occurring at an incidence of 5% or more in any randomised treatment group from placebo controlled clinical trials in patients with bipolar I disorder treated with quetiapine as monotherapy maintenance therapy is summarised by randomised treatment in Table 4 regardless of causality.

Bipolar depression (adults).

The safety results of four placebo controlled clinical trials show that quetiapine immediate release tablets are generally safe and well tolerated when used for treatment of bipolar depression. All four studies contained an 8 week acute phase with 2 of these studies containing a continuation phase of an additional 52 weeks. Adverse events occurring at an incidence of 5% or more in any treatment group in the acute phase for the combined studies are summarised in Table 5 regardless of causality.
Adverse events occurring at an incidence of 5% or more in any treatment group in the continuation phase for the combined studies are summarised in Table 6 regardless of causality.

Other findings observed during clinical studies.

Somnolence.

Somnolence may occur, usually during the first two weeks of treatment and generally resolves with the continued administration of quetiapine. Somnolence may lead to falls.

Weight gain (adults).

In schizophrenia trials the proportions of patients meeting a weight gain criterion of ≥ 7% of body weight from baseline were compared in a pool of four 3 to 6 week placebo controlled clinical trials, revealing a statistically significantly greater incidence of weight gain for quetiapine immediate release tablets (23%) compared to placebo (6%). In mania monotherapy trials the proportions of patients meeting the same weight gain criterion were 21% compared to 7% for placebo and in mania adjunct therapy trials the proportion of patients meeting the same weight criterion were 13% compared to 4% for placebo. In bipolar depression trials, the proportions of patients meeting the same weight gain criterion were 8% compared to 2% for placebo.

Withdrawal (discontinuation symptoms).

In acute placebo controlled monotherapy clinical trials in adults which evaluated discontinuation symptoms, the aggregated incidence of discontinuation symptoms after abrupt cessation was 16.0% for quetiapine and 7.3% for placebo. The aggregated incidence of individual adverse events (e.g. insomnia, nausea, headache, diarrhoea, vomiting, dizziness and irritability) did not exceed 6.7% in any treatment group and usually resolved after 1 week post-discontinuation (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Leukopenia/neutropenia.

Possible risk factors for leukopenia and/or neutropenia include pre-existing low white cell count and history of drug induced leukopenia and/or neutropenia. Neutrophil count decreases have commonly been observed. In all short-term placebo controlled monotherapy clinical trials in adults, among patients with a baseline neutrophil count ≥ 1.5 x 109/L, the incidence of at least one occurrence of neutrophil count < 1.5 x 109/L was 1.9% in patients treated with quetiapine, compared to 1.5% in placebo treated patients. The incidence ≥ 0.5 - < 1.0 x 109/L (moderate neutropenia) was 0.2% (uncommon) in patients treated with quetiapine and 0.2% in placebo treated patients. In clinical trials conducted prior to a protocol amendment for discontinuation of patients with treatment emergent neutrophil count < 1.0 x 109/L, among patients with a baseline neutrophil count ≥ 1.5 x 109/L, the incidence of at least one occurrence of neutrophil count < 0.5 x 109/L (severe neutropenia) was 0.21% (uncommon) in patients treated with quetiapine and 0% in placebo treated patients (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Lipid changes (adults).

In schizophrenia trials, the proportions of patients with elevations to levels of cholesterol ≥ 6.2064 mmol/L and triglycerides ≥ 2.258 mmol/L were 16% and 23% for quetiapine immediate release tablets treated patients respectively compared to 7% and 16% for placebo treated patients respectively. In bipolar depression trials, the proportion of patients with cholesterol and triglycerides elevations to these levels were 9% and 14% for quetiapine immediate release tablets treated patients respectively, compared to 6% and 9% for placebo treated patients respectively.
In placebo controlled trials decreases in fasting HDL cholesterol have been observed. In short-term placebo controlled clinical trials the incidence of patients who shifted from ≥ 1.025 mmol/L to < 1.025 mmol/L was slightly higher in the quetiapine group compared to placebo (9.8% and 8.1% respectively). In long-term trials the incidence of patients who shifted from ≥ 1.025 mmol/L to < 1.025 mmol/L was 18.3% in quetiapine and 10.9% in placebo.

Increases in blood glucose levels.

In placebo controlled clinical trials in adults, the percentage of patients who had a shift to a high blood glucose level (fasting blood glucose ≥ 7 mmol/L or a nonfasting blood glucose ≥ 11.1 mmol/L on at least one occasion) was 5.1% in patients treated with quetiapine and 4.2% in placebo treated patients (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).

Decreases in haemoglobin levels.

Decreased haemoglobin to 8.07 mmol/L males, 7.45 mmol/L females on at least one occasion occurred in 11% of quetiapine patients in all trials including open label extensions. In short-term placebo controlled trials, decreased haemoglobin to 8.07 mmol/L males, 7.45 mmol/L females occurred on at least one occasion in 8.3% of quetiapine patients compared to 6.2% of placebo patients.

Extrapyramidal symptoms (adults).

The following clinical trials in adult patients included treatment with quetiapine immediate release tablets. In short-term placebo controlled clinical trials in schizophrenia and bipolar mania the aggregate incidence of EPS was similar to placebo (schizophrenia: quetiapine 7.8%, placebo 8.0%; bipolar mania: quetiapine 11.2%, placebo 11.4%). In short-term, placebo controlled clinical trials in bipolar depression the aggregate incidence of EPS from the combined data was 8.9% for quetiapine compared to 3.8% for placebo though the incidence of the individual adverse events (e.g. akathisia, extrapyramidal disorder, tremor, dyskinesia, dystonia, restlessness, muscle contractions involuntary, psychomotor hyperactivity and muscle rigidity) were generally low and did not exceed 4% in any treatment group. In long-term studies of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder the aggregated exposure adjusted incidence of treatment emergent extrapyramidal symptoms was similar between quetiapine and placebo. See Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use, Extrapyramidal symptoms and Table 7.

Irritability.

In acute placebo controlled clinical trials in patients ≥ 18 years of age, the incidence of irritability was 2.3% for quetiapine and 1.7% for placebo.

Dysphagia.

An increase in the rate of dysphagia with quetiapine vs placebo was only observed in the adult clinical trials in bipolar depression.

Other adverse drug reactions.

In addition to the above the following adverse drug reactions have also been observed in adult clinical trials (placebo controlled trials, active arm controlled trials and open label uncontrolled trials) with quetiapine.

Children and adolescents.

The incidence of common (≥ 5%) adverse events that occurred in children and adolescent (10-17 years) in two short-term treatment placebo controlled trials in schizophrenia and bipolar mania is listed below in Table 8 regardless of causality.
The adverse events ≥ 5% reported in a 26 week, open label clinical trial with quetiapine immediate release in children and adolescents with schizophrenia and bipolar mania were: somnolence (22.9%), headache (18.7%), sedation (14.2%), weight increased (13.4%), vomiting (10.8%), nausea (9.5%), dizziness (8.7%), fatigue (8.2%), insomnia (8.2%), increased appetite (7.1%), upper respiratory tract infection (6.8%), agitation (5.3%), irritability (5.0%), tachycardia (5.0%).

Comparison to adult adverse drug reactions.

The same adverse drug reactions described for adults should be considered for children and adolescents. Table 9 summarises adverse drug reactions that occur in a higher frequency category in children and adolescent patients (10-17 years of age) than in the adult population, or adverse drug reactions that have not been identified in the adult population.

Weight gain (children and adolescents).

In one 6 week, placebo controlled trial in adolescent patients (13-17 years of age) with schizophrenia, the mean increase in body weight, was 2.0 kg in the quetiapine group and -0.4 kg in the placebo group. 21% of quetiapine treated patients and 7% of placebo treated patients gained ≥ 7% of their body weight.
In one 3 week, placebo controlled trial in children and adolescent patients (10-17 years of age) with bipolar mania, the mean increase in body weight was 1.7 kg in the quetiapine group and 0.4 kg in the placebo group. 12% of quetiapine treated patients and 0% of placebo treated patients gained ≥ 7% of their body weight.
In the open label study that enrolled patients from the above two trials, 63% of patients (241/380) completed 26 weeks of therapy with quetiapine. After 26 weeks of treatment, the mean increases in body weight and BMI were 4.4 kg and 1.1 kg/m2 respectively. 45% of the patients gained ≥ 7% of their body weight, (not adjusted for normal growth). 18.3% of the patients had a clinically significant change in BMI (adjusted for growth).
In one 8 week, placebo controlled trial in children and adolescent patients (10-17 years of age) with bipolar depression, in which efficacy was not established, the mean increase in body weight was 1.4 kg in the quetiapine modified release group and 0.6 kg in the placebo group. For children and adolescents who completed the 8 weeks of quetiapine therapy 13.7% of quetiapine modified release treated patients and 6.8% of placebo treated patients gained ≥ 7% of their body weight.

Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) (children and adolescents).

In a short-term placebo controlled monotherapy trial in adolescent patients (13-17 years of age) with schizophrenia, the aggregated incidence of EPS was 12.9% for quetiapine and 5.3% for placebo, though the incidence of the individual adverse events (e.g. akathisia, tremor, extrapyramidal disorder, hypokinesia, restlessness, psychomotor hyperactivity, muscle rigidity, dyskinesia) was generally low and did not exceed 4.1% in any treatment group. In a short-term placebo controlled monotherapy trial in children and adolescent patients (10-17 years of age) with bipolar mania, the aggregated incidence of EPS was 3.6% for quetiapine and 1.1% for placebo.
In a short-term placebo controlled monotherapy trial in children and adolescent patients (10-17 years of age) with bipolar depression in which efficacy was not established, the aggregated incidence of extrapyramidal symptoms was 1.1% for quetiapine modified release and 0.0% for placebo.

Suicide/suicidal thoughts or clinical worsening (all ages).

In short-term placebo controlled clinical trials across all indications and ages, the incidence of suicide related events was 0.8% for both quetiapine (76/9327) and placebo (37/4845).
In these trials of patients with schizophrenia the incidence of suicide related events was 1.4% (3/212) for quetiapine and 1.6% (1/62) for placebo in patients 18-24 years of age, 0.8% (13/1663) for quetiapine and 1.1% (5/463) for placebo in patients ≥ 25 years of age, and 1.4% (2/147) for quetiapine and 1.3% (1/75) for placebo in patients < 18 years of age. There has been one trial conducted in patients 10-17 years of age in which efficacy was not established. The incidence of suicide related events was 1.0% (1/92) for quetiapine and 0% (0/100) for placebo. In this study there were two additional events in two patients that occurred during an extended post-treatment follow-up phase of the study; one of these patients was on quetiapine at the time of the event (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).
In these trials of patients with bipolar mania the incidence of suicide related events was 0% for both quetiapine (0/60) and placebo (0/58) in patients 18-24 years of age, 1.2% for both quetiapine (6/496) and placebo (6/503) in patients ≥ 25 years of age, and 1.0% (2/193) for quetiapine and 0% (0/90) for placebo in patients < 18 years of age.
In these trials of patients with bipolar depression the incidence of suicide related events was 3.0% (7/233) for quetiapine and 0% (0/120) for placebo in patients 18-24 and 1.8% for both quetiapine (19/1616) and placebo (11/622) in patients ≥ 25 years of age.

Cataracts/lens opacities.

In a clinical trial to evaluate the cataractogenic potential of quetiapine immediate release tablets (200-800 mg/day) versus risperidone (2-8 mg/day) in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, the percentage of patients with increased lens opacity grade was not higher in quetiapine compared with risperidone for patients with at least 21 months of exposure. See Section 5.3 Preclinical Safety Data.

Postmarketing experience.

In addition to the above, the following postmarketing adverse drug reactions have been observed with quetiapine. See Table 10.
Very rare cases of cataract have been reported in the postmarketing data, but no causal link between these reports and quetiapine has been established.
There have been rare postmarketing reports of pancreatitis. Among the postmarketing reports, many patients had factors which are known to be associated with pancreatitis such as increased triglycerides (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use, Lipids and Effects on laboratory tests), gallstones and alcohol consumption.
Very rare cases of exacerbation of pre-existing diabetes have been reported.
Hepatic failure, including fatalities, has been reported very rarely during the post-marketing period. Rare post-marketing reports of hepatitis (with or without jaundice), in patients with or without prior history, have been received. Very rare cases of hepatic steatosis, cholestatic or mixed liver injury have also been reported in the post-marketing period (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use).
Other adverse events reported since market introduction, which were temporally related to quetiapine therapy, but not necessarily causally related, include cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), hyponatraemia, cerebrovascular accident, and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) / toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN).

Reporting suspected adverse effects.

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after registration 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 at http://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems and contact Apotex Medical Information Enquiries/Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting on 1800 195 055.

4.2 Dose and Method of Administration

APO-Quetiapine tablets are intended for oral administration.

Dosage.

Chronic antipsychotic treatment should generally be reserved for patients who appear to suffer from a chronic illness that (1) is known to respond to antipsychotic drugs, and (2) for whom alternative equally effective but potentially less harmful treatments are not available or appropriate. In patients who do require chronic treatment, the smallest dose and the shortest duration of treatment producing a satisfactory response should be sought. The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.
Quetiapine can be administered with or without food.

Adults.

Bipolar disorder.

Maintenance treatment.

Quetiapine should be administered twice daily.
Patients who have responded to quetiapine for acute treatment of bipolar disorder should continue therapy at the same dose. It is generally recommended that responding patients be continued beyond the acute response, but at the lowest possible dose needed to maintain remission.
For prevention of relapse/recurrence of manic, depressive and mixed episodes in bipolar disorder, the usual effective dose is within the range of 300 to 800 mg/day (see Section 5.1 Pharmacodynamic Properties, Clinical trials).
The dose of quetiapine can be readjusted depending on the clinical response and tolerability of the individual patient. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the need for maintenance treatment.

Bipolar depression.

When treating depressive episodes in bipolar disorder, treatment should be initiated either by the treating psychiatrist or by the general practitioner after consultation with the psychiatrist.
Quetiapine should be administered once daily at bedtime.
Quetiapine should be titrated as follows: 50 mg (day 1), 100 mg (day 2), 200 mg (day 3) and 300 mg (day 4). The dose may be adjusted up to 600 mg/day in increments of 100 mg/day depending on the clinical response and tolerability of the individual patient.

Acute mania.

Quetiapine should be administered twice daily. The total daily dose for the first four days of therapy is 100 mg (day 1), 200 mg (day 2), 300 mg (day 3) and 400 mg (day 4), alone or in combination with a mood stabiliser. Further dosage adjustments up to 800 mg/day by day 6 should be in increments of no greater than 200 mg/day.
The dose may be adjusted depending on clinical response and tolerability of the individual patient, within the range of 200 to 800 mg/day. The usual effective dose is in the range of 400 to 800 mg/day.

Schizophrenia.

Quetiapine should be administered twice daily. The total daily dose for the first four days of therapy is 50 mg (day 1), 100 mg (day 2), 200 mg (day 3) and 300 mg (day 4).
From day 4 onwards, the dose should be titrated to the usual effective dose of 300 to 450 mg/day. Depending on the clinical response and tolerability of the individual patient, the dose may be adjusted within the range 150 to 750 mg/day.

Elderly.

As with other antipsychotics, quetiapine should be used with caution in the elderly, especially during the initial dosing period. The rate of dose titration may need to be slower, and the daily therapeutic dose lower, than that used in younger patients, depending on the clinical response and tolerability of the individual patient. The mean plasma clearance of quetiapine was reduced by 30% to 50% in elderly subjects when compared with younger patients.

Children and adolescents.

The safety and efficacy of quetiapine immediate release tablets have been evaluated in children and adolescents 10 to 17 years of age with bipolar mania (as monotherapy), and 13 to 17 years of age with schizophrenia.
Quetiapine should be administered twice daily. However, quetiapine may be administered three times daily based on response and tolerability.

Acute mania, monotherapy (10 to 17 years of age).

The total daily dose for the first five days of therapy is 50 mg (day 1), 100 mg (day 2), 200 mg (day 3), 300 mg (day 4) and 400 mg (day 5). After day 5, the dose should be adjusted within the effective dose range of 400 to 600 mg/day depending upon the clinical response and tolerability of the patient. Patients should be administered the lowest effective dose. Dosage adjustments should be in increments of no greater than 100 mg/day.

Schizophrenia (13 to 17 years of age).

The total daily dose for the first five days of therapy is 50 mg (day 1), 100 mg (day 2), 200 mg (day 3), 300 mg (day 4) and 400 mg (day 5). After day 5, the dose should be adjusted within the effective dose range of 400 to 800 mg/day depending upon the clinical response and tolerability of the patient. Patients should be administered the lowest effective dose. Dosage adjustments should be in increments of no greater than 100 mg/day.

Renal impairment.

Dosage adjustment is not necessary.

Hepatic impairment.

Quetiapine is extensively metabolised by the liver. Therefore, quetiapine fumarate should be used with caution in patients with known hepatic impairment, especially during the initial dosing period. Patients with hepatic impairment should be started on 25 mg/day. The dose should be increased in increments of 25 to 50 mg/day to an effective dose, depending on the clinical response and tolerability of the individual patient.

4.7 Effects on Ability to Drive and Use Machines

Somnolence has been very commonly reported in patients treated with quetiapine. Given its primary central nervous system effects, quetiapine has the potential to impair judgment, thinking or motor skills. Patients likely to drive or operate other machines should therefore be cautioned appropriately.

4.9 Overdose

Symptoms.

In clinical trials, experience with quetiapine in overdosage is limited. Estimated doses of quetiapine up to 30 g have been taken, without fatal consequences, and with patients recovering without sequelae, however, death has been reported in a clinical trial following an overdose of 13.6 g of quetiapine alone.
In postmarketing experience, there have been very rare reports of overdose of quetiapine alone resulting in death or coma.
In postmarketing experience there were cases reported of QT prolongation with overdose.
Patients with pre-existing severe cardiovascular disease may be at an increased risk of the effects of overdose (see Section 4.4 Special Warnings and Precautions for Use, Concomitant cardiovascular illness).
In general, reported signs and symptoms were those resulting from an exaggeration of the drug's known pharmacological effects, i.e. drowsiness and sedation, tachycardia, hypotension and anticholinergic effects.

Treatment.

There is no specific antidote to quetiapine. In cases of severe signs, the possibility of multiple drug involvement should be considered, and intensive care procedures are recommended, including establishing and maintaining a patent airway, ensuring adequate oxygenation and ventilation, and monitoring and support of the cardiovascular system. Whilst the prevention of absorption in overdose has not been investigated, administration of activated charcoal together with a laxative should be considered.
In case of quetiapine overdose, refractory hypotension should be treated with appropriate measures such as intravenous fluids and/or sympathomimetic agents (adrenaline and dopamine should be avoided, since β-stimulation may worsen hypotension in the setting of quetiapine induced α-blockade).
Close medical supervision and monitoring should be continued until the patient recovers.
For information on the management of overdose, contact the Poisons Information Centre on 131126 (Australia).

7 Medicine Schedule (Poisons Standard)

S4.

6 Pharmaceutical Particulars

6.1 List of Excipients

Croscarmellose sodium, colloidal anhydrous silica, fumaric acid, ethylcellulose, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, hyprolose, macrogol 8000, titanium dioxide, iron oxide yellow (contained in 25 mg, 100 mg and 150 mg tablets only), iron oxide red (25 mg tablets only).

6.2 Incompatibilities

Incompatibilities were either not assessed or not identified as part of the registration of this medicine.

6.3 Shelf Life

In Australia, information on the shelf life can be found on the public summary of the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). The expiry date can be found on the packaging.

6.4 Special Precautions for Storage

Store below 25°C.

6.5 Nature and Contents of Container

APO-Quetiapine tablets 25 mg.

Blister: pack of 60 tablets AUST R 166082.

APO-Quetiapine tablets 100 mg.

Blister: pack of 90 tablets AUST R 166077.

APO-Quetiapine tablets 150 mg.

Blister: pack of 60 tablets AUST R 166061.

APO-Quetiapine tablets 200 mg.

Blister: pack of 60 tablets AUST R 166064.

APO-Quetiapine tablets 300 mg.

Blister: pack of 60 and 100 tablets AUST R 166059.
Not all strengths and/or pack sizes may be available.

6.6 Special Precautions for Disposal

In Australia, any unused medicine or waste material should be disposed of by taking to your local pharmacy.

Summary Table of Changes