Merck and Schering-Plough Resolve Previously Disclosed Investigation Under State Consumer Protection Statutes Related to VYTORIN(ezetimibe/simvastatin) and ZETIA (ezetimibe)

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. & KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 15, 2009 - Merck & Co., Inc. and Schering-Plough Corporation and the companies' cholesterol joint venture, Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, today said they have reached a civil settlement with a multistate group of attorneys general representing 35 states and the District of Columbia who investigated whether the companies violated state consumer protection laws in connection with the ENHANCE (Effect of Combination Ezetimibe and High-Dose Simvastatin vs Simvastatin Alone on the Atherosclerotic Process in Patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia) clinical trial or by their promotion and marketing of VYTORIN and ZETIA.

As part of the resolution of the multistate investigation, the companies agreed to reimburse the investigative costs of the 35 states and the District of Columbia which totaled $5.4 million. The settlement agreement does not require the companies to make any other payment, and does not require or include any admission of misconduct or liability by the companies.

In the settlement, the companies agreed to continue to comply with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act, and other laws requiring the truthful and non-misleading marketing of pharmaceutical products and made other voluntary assurances of compliance related to the promotion of VYTORIN and ZETIA.

"Today's agreement is consistent with our belief that the companies conducted the ENHANCE trial in good faith and that their promotion of VYTORIN and ZETIA was in compliance with the law," said Bruce N. Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck.

"Resolving these inquiries for an amount equal to the states' investigative costs is in the interests of all stakeholders," said Thomas J. Sabatino, executive vice president and general counsel of Schering-Plough.

In addition to the District of Columbia, the 35 states participating in the agreement are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The companies previously disclosed the multistate investigation in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Important Information about VYTORIN

VYTORIN contains simvastatin and ezetimibe. VYTORIN is indicated as adjunctive therapy to diet for the reduction of elevated total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, Apo B1, triglycerides and non-HDL cholesterol and to increase HDL cholesterol in patients with primary (heterozygous familial and non-familial) hypercholesterolemia or mixed hyperlipidemia.

VYTORIN is a prescription medicine and should not be taken by people who are hypersensitive to any of its components. VYTORIN should not be taken by anyone with active liver disease or unexplained persistent elevations of serum transaminases. Women who are of childbearing age (unless highly unlikely to conceive), are nursing or who are pregnant should not take VYTORIN. VYTORIN has not been shown to reduce heart attacks or strokes more than simvastatin alone.

Muscle pain, tenderness or weakness in people taking VYTORIN should be reported to a doctor promptly because these could be signs of a serious side effect. VYTORIN should be discontinued if myopathy is diagnosed or suspected. To help avoid serious side effects, patients should talk to their doctor about medicine or food they should avoid while taking VYTORIN. In three placebo-controlled, 12-week trials, the incidence of consecutive elevations (‰¥3 X ULN) in serum transaminases were 1.7 percent overall for patients treated with VYTORIN and 2.6 percent for patients treated with VYTORIN 10/80 mg. In controlled long-term (48-week) extensions, which included both newly-treated and previously-treated patients, the incidence of consecutive elevations (‰¥3 X ULN) in serum transaminases was 1.8 percent overall and 3.6 percent for patients treated with VYTORIN 10/80 mg. These elevations in transaminases were generally asymptomatic, not associated with cholestasis and returned to baseline after discontinuation of therapy or with continued treatment. Doctors should perform blood tests before, and periodically during treatment with VYTORIN when clinically indicated to check for liver problems. People taking VYTORIN 10/80 mg should receive an additional liver function test prior to and three months after titration and periodically during the first year.

Due to the unknown effects of increased exposure to ezetimibe (an ingredient in VYTORIN) in patients with moderate or severe hepatic insufficiency, VYTORIN is not recommended in these patients. The safety and effectiveness of VYTORIN with fibrates have not been established; therefore, co-administration with fibrates is not recommended. Caution should be exercised when initiating VYTORIN in patients treated with cyclosporine and in patients with severe renal insufficiency.

VYTORIN has been evaluated for safety in more than 3,800 patients in clinical trials and was generally well tolerated at all doses (10/10 mg, 10/20 mg, 10/40 mg, 10/80 mg). In clinical trials, the most commonly reported side effects, regardless of cause, included headache (6.8 percent), upper respiratory tract infection (3.9 percent), myalgia (3.5 percent), influenza (2.6 percent) and extremity pain (2.3 percent).

VYTORIN is available as tablets containing 10 mg of ezetimibe combined with 10, 20, 40 or 80 mg of simvastatin (VYTORIN 10/10, 10/20, 10/40 or 10/80 mg, respectively).

Important Information about ZETIA

ZETIA, along with diet, is indicated for use either by itself or together with statins or fenofibrate in patients with high cholesterol to reduce LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol when the response to diet and exercise has been inadequate.

ZETIA is a prescription medication and should not be taken by people who are allergic to any of its ingredients. When ZETIA is prescribed with a statin, it should not be taken by women who are nursing or pregnant or who may become pregnant, or by anyone with active liver disease. Statins should not be taken by anyone with these conditions. If you have ever had liver problems or are pregnant or nursing, your doctor will decide if ZETIA is right for you. Your doctor may do blood tests to check your liver before you start taking ZETIA with a statin and during treatment. ZETIA has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks.

Due to the unknown effects of increased exposure to ZETIA in patients with moderate or severe hepatic insufficiency, ZETIA is not recommended in these patients. In clinical trials, there was no increased incidence of myopathy (muscle pain) or rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown) associated with ZETIA; however myopathy and rhabdomyolysis are known adverse reactions to statins and other lipid-lowering drugs. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of ZETIA in pregnant women. ZETIA should not be used in pregnant or nursing women unless the benefit outweighs the potential risks.

When ZETIA was co-administered with a statin, consecutive elevations in liver enzymes, more than three times the upper limit of normal, were slightly higher than those with the statin alone (1.3 percent vs. 0.4 percent). These elevations were generally asymptomatic and returned to baseline after discontinuation of therapy or with continued treatment. When ZETIA was co-administered with fenofibrate, consecutive elevations in liver enzymes more than three times the upper limit of normal, were 2.7%, and 4.5% in patients treated with fenofibrate alone. Caution should be exercised when initiating ZETIA in patients treated with cyclosporine, particularly in patients with severe renal insufficiency, due to increased blood levels of ZETIA.

In clinical trials, most frequent side effects for ZETIA alone vs. placebo included: back pain (4.1 percent vs. 3.9 percent), arthralgia (3.8 percent vs. 3.4 percent), and fatigue (2.2 percent vs. 1.8 percent); for ZETIA plus statin vs. statin or placebo alone: back pain (4.3 percent vs. 3.7 percent vs. 3.5 percent), abdominal pain (3.5 percent vs. 3.1 percent vs. 2.3 percent), and fatigue (2.8 percent vs. 1.4 percent vs. 1.9 percent).

About Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals

Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals is a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc. and Schering-Plough Corporation formed to develop and market in the United States new prescription medicines in cholesterol management. The collaboration includes worldwide markets (excluding Japan). VYTORIN is also marketed as INEGY® outside the U.S. ZETIA is marketed outside the U.S. as EZETROL®.

Merck Forward-looking Statement

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the risk factors and cautionary statements in Item 1A of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, and in any risk factors or cautionary statements contained in the Company's periodic reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.

Schering-Plough Disclosure Notice

The information in this press release includes certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements relating to litigation and investigations concerning VYTORIN and ZETIA® (ezetimibe) and the Merck Schering-Plough cholesterol joint venture's ENHANCE clinical trial. Forward-looking statements relate to expectations or forecasts of future events. Schering-Plough does not assume the obligation to update any forward-looking statement. Many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from Schering-Plough's forward-looking statements, including economic factors, the government investigation process, the litigation process and the regulatory process, among other uncertainties. For further details about these and other factors that may impact the forward-looking statements, see Schering-Plough's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including Part I, Item IA. “Risk Factors” in Schering-Plough's first quarter 2009 10-Q.

Prescribing information and patient product information for VYTORIN® and ZETIA® are attached.

1 Apo B is the protein compound of lipoproteins, LDL and VLDL, which carry cholesterol in the blood.

32147046T
REV 20
HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION

These highlights do not include all the information needed to use ZETIA safely and effectively. See full prescribing information for ZETIA.

ZETIA® (ezetimibe) Tablets
Initial U.S. Approval: 2002
INDICATIONS AND USAGE

ZETIA is an inhibitor of intestinal cholesterol (and related phytosterol) absorption indicated as an adjunct to diet to:

 

  • Reduce elevated total-C, LDL-C, and Apo B in patients with primary hyperlipidemia, alone or in combination with an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (statin). (1.1)
  • Reduce elevated total-C, LDL-C, Apo B, and non-HDL-C in patients with mixed hyperlipidemia in combination with fenofibrate. (1.1)
  • Reduce elevated total-C and LDL-C in patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH), in combination with atorvastatin or simvastatin. (1.2)
  • Reduce elevated sitosterol and campesterol in patients with homozygous sitosterolemia (phytosterolemia). (1.3)

Limitations of Use (1.4)

 

  • The effect of ZETIA on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been determined.
  • ZETIA has not been studied in Fredrickson Type I, III, IV, and V dyslipidemias.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

 

  • One 10-mg tablet once daily, with or without food. (2.1)
  • Dosing of ZETIA should occur either ‰¥2 hours before or ‰¥4 hours after administration of a bile acid sequestrant. (2.3, 7.4)

DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

 

  • Tablets: 10 mg. (3)

CONTRAINDICATIONS

 

  • Statin contraindications apply when ZETIA is used with a statin:
    • Active liver disease, which may include unexplained persistent elevations in hepatic transaminase levels. (4, 5.2)
    • Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. (4, 8.1)
    • Nursing mothers. (4, 8.3)
  • Known hypersensitivity to product components. (4, 6.2)

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

 

  • ZETIA is not recommended in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment. (5.4, 8.6, 12.3)
  • Liver enzyme abnormalities and monitoring: Persistent elevations in hepatic transaminase can occur when ZETIA is added to a statin. Therefore, when ZETIA is added to statin therapy, monitor hepatic transaminase levels before and during treatment according to the recommendations for the individual statin used. (5.2)
  • Skeletal muscle effects (e.g., myopathy and rhabdomyolysis):
    • Cases of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis have been reported in patients treated with ZETIA co-administered with a statin and with ZETIA administered alone. Risk for skeletal muscle toxicity increases with higher doses of statin, advanced age (>65), hypothyroidism, renal impairment, and depending on the statin used, concomitant use of other drugs. (5.3, 6.2)

ADVERSE REACTIONS

 

  • Common adverse reactions in clinical trials:
    • ZETIA co-administered with a statin (incidence ‰¥2% and greater than statin alone):
      • nasopharyngitis, myalgia, upper respiratory tract infection, arthralgia, and diarrhea. (6)--
    • ZETIA administered alone (incidence ‰¥2% and greater than placebo):
      • upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, arthralgia, sinusitis, and pain in extremity. (6)

To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals at 1-866-637-2501 or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

DRUG INTERACTIONS

 

  • Cyclosporine: Combination increases exposure of ZETIA and cyclosporine. Cyclosporine concentrations should be monitored in patients taking ZETIA concomitantly. (7.1, 12.3)
  • Fenofibrate: Combination increases exposure of ZETIA. If cholelithiasis is suspected in a patient receiving ZETIA and fenofibrate, gallbladder studies are indicated and alternative lipid-lowering therapy should be considered. (6.1, 7.3)
  • Fibrates: Co-administration of ZETIA with fibrates other than fenofibrate is not recommended until use in patients is adequately studied. (7.2)
  • Cholestyramine: Combination decreases exposure of ZETIA. (2.3, 7.4, 12.3)

See 17 for PATIENT COUNSELING INFORMATION and FDA-approved patient labeling.

Revised: 05/2009

FULL PRESCRIBING INFORMATION: CONTENTS*

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

1.1 Primary Hyperlipidemia

1.2 Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HoFH)

1.3 Homozygous Sitosterolemia

1.4 Limitations of Use

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 General Dosing Information

2.2 Concomitant Lipid-Lowering Therapy

2.3 Co-Administration with Bile Acid Sequestrants

2.4 Patients with Hepatic Impairment

2.5 Patients with Renal Impairment

2.6 Geriatric Patients

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Use with Statins or Fenofibrate

5.2 Liver Enzymes

5.3 Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis

5.4 Hepatic Impairment

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience

6.2 Post-Marketing Experience

7 DRUG INTERACTIONS

7.1 Cyclosporine

7.2 Fibrates

7.3 Fenofibrate

7.4 Cholestyramine

7.5 Coumarin Anticoagulants

8 USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

8.1 Pregnancy

8.3 Nursing Mothers

8.4 Pediatric Use

8.5 Geriatric Use

8.6 Hepatic Impairment

10 OVERDOSAGE

11 DESCRIPTION

12 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

12.1 Mechanism of Action

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

13 NONCLINICAL TOXICOLOGY

13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

13.2 Animal Toxicology and/or Pharmacology

14 CLINICAL STUDIES

14.1 Primary Hyperlipidemia

14.2 Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HoFH)

14.3 Homozygous Sitosterolemia (Phytosterolemia)

16 HOW SUPPLIED/STORAGE AND HANDLING

17 PATIENT COUNSELING INFORMATION

17.1 Muscle Pain

17.2 Liver Enzymes

17.3 Pregnancy

17.4 Breastfeeding

17.5 FDA-approved Patient Labeling

*Sections or subsections omitted from the full prescribing information are not listed.

FULL PRESCRIBING INFORMATION

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Therapy with lipid-altering agents should be only one component of multiple risk factor intervention in individuals at significantly increased risk for atherosclerotic vascular disease due to hypercholesterolemia. Drug therapy is indicated as an adjunct to diet when the response to a diet restricted in saturated fat and cholesterol and other nonpharmacologic measures alone has been inadequate.

1.1 Primary Hyperlipidemia

Monotherapy: ZETIA1, administered alone, is indicated as adjunctive therapy to diet for the reduction of elevated total cholesterol (total-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and apolipoprotein B (Apo B) in patients with primary (heterozygous familial and non-familial) hyperlipidemia.

Combination Therapy with HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins)

ZETIA, administered in combination with a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor (statin), is indicated as adjunctive therapy to diet for the reduction of elevated total-C, LDL-C, and Apo B in patients with primary (heterozygous familial and non-familial) hyperlipidemia.

Combination Therapy with Fenofibrate: ZETIA, administered in combination with fenofibrate, is indicated as adjunctive therapy to diet for the reduction of elevated total-C, LDL-C, Apo B, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) in adult patients with mixed hyperlipidemia.

1.2 Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (HoFH)

The combination of ZETIA and atorvastatin or simvastatin is indicated for the reduction of elevated total-C and LDL-C levels in patients with HoFH, as an adjunct to other lipid-lowering treatments (e.g., LDL apheresis) or if such treatments are unavailable.

1.3 Homozygous Sitosterolemia

ZETIA is indicated as adjunctive therapy to diet for the reduction of elevated sitosterol and campesterol levels in patients with homozygous familial sitosterolemia.

1.4 Limitations of Use

The effect of ZETIA on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been determined.

ZETIA has not been studied in Fredrickson Type I, III, IV, and V dyslipidemias.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 General Dosing Information

The recommended dose of ZETIA is 10 mg once daily.

ZETIA can be administered with or without food.

2.2 Concomitant Lipid-Lowering Therapy

ZETIA may be administered with a statin (in patients with primary hyperlipidemia) or with fenofibrate (in patients with mixed hyperlipidemia) for incremental effect. For convenience, the daily dose of ZETIA may be taken at the same time as the statin or fenofibrate, according to the dosing recommendations for the respective medications.

2.3 Co-Administration with Bile Acid Sequestrants

Dosing of ZETIA should occur either ‰¥2 hours before or ‰¥4 hours after administration of a bile acid sequestrant [see Drug Interactions (7.4)].

2.4 Patients with Hepatic Impairment

No dosage adjustment is necessary in patients with mild hepatic impairment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].

2.5 Patients with Renal Impairment

No dosage adjustment is necessary in patients with renal impairment [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

2.6 Geriatric Patients

No dosage adjustment is necessary in geriatric patients [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

10-mg tablets are white to off-white, capsule-shaped tablets debossed with "414" on one side.

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

ZETIA is contraindicated in the following conditions:

 

  • The combination of ZETIA with a statin is contraindicated in patients with active liver disease or unexplained persistent elevations in hepatic transaminase levels.
  • Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Because statins decrease cholesterol synthesis and possibly the synthesis of other biologically active substances derived from cholesterol, ZETIA in combination with a statin may cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant women. Additionally, there is no apparent benefit to therapy during pregnancy, and safety in pregnant women has not been established. If the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus and the lack of known clinical benefit with continued use during pregnancy [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)].
  • Nursing mothers. Because statins may pass into breast milk, and because statins have the potential to cause serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, women who require ZETIA treatment in combination with a statin should be advised not to nurse their infants [see Use in Specific Populations (8.3)].
  • Patients with a known hypersensitivity to any component of this product. Hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis, angioedema, rash and urticaria have been reported with ZETIA [see Adverse Reactions (6.2)].

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Use with Statins or Fenofibrate

Concurrent administration of ZETIA with a specific statin or fenofibrate should be in accordance with the product labeling for that medication.

5.2 Liver Enzymes

In controlled clinical monotherapy studies, the incidence of consecutive elevations (‰¥3 X the upper limit of normal [ULN]) in hepatic transaminase levels was similar between ZETIA (0.5%) and placebo (0.3%).

In controlled clinical combination studies of ZETIA initiated concurrently with a statin, the incidence of consecutive elevations (‰¥3 X ULN) in hepatic transaminase levels was 1.3% for patients treated with ZETIA administered with statins and 0.4% for patients treated with statins alone. These elevations in transaminases were generally asymptomatic, not associated with cholestasis, and returned to baseline after discontinuation of therapy or with continued treatment. When ZETIA is co-administered with a statin, liver tests should be performed at initiation of therapy and according to the recommendations of the statin. Should an increase in ALT or AST ‰¥3 X ULN persist, consider withdrawal of ZETIA and/or the statin.

5.3 Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis

In clinical trials, there was no excess of myopathy or rhabdomyolysis associated with ZETIA compared with the relevant control arm (placebo or statin alone). However, myopathy and rhabdomyolysis are known adverse reactions to statins and other lipid-lowering drugs. In clinical trials, the incidence of creatine phosphokinase (CPK) >10 X ULN was 0.2% for ZETIA vs. 0.1% for placebo, and 0.1% for ZETIA co-administered with a statin vs. 0.4% for statins alone. Risk for skeletal muscle toxicity increases with higher doses of statin, advanced age (>65), hypothyroidism, renal impairment, and depending on the statin used, concomitant use of other drugs.

In post-marketing experience with ZETIA, cases of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis have been reported. Most patients who developed rhabdomyolysis were taking a statin prior to initiating ZETIA. However, rhabdomyolysis has been reported with ZETIA monotherapy and with the addition of ZETIA to agents known to be associated with increased risk of rhabdomyolysis, such as fibrates. ZETIA and any statin or fibrate that the patient is taking concomitantly should be immediately discontinued if myopathy is diagnosed or suspected. The presence of muscle symptoms and a CPK level >10 X the ULN indicates myopathy.

5.4 Hepatic Impairment

Due to the unknown effects of the increased exposure to ezetimibe in patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment, ZETIA is not recommended in these patients [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

6 ADVERSE REACTIONS

The following serious adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the label:

 

  • Liver enzyme abnormalities [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)]
  • Rhabdomyolysis and myopathy [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]

Monotherapy Studies: In the ZETIA controlled clinical trials database (placebo-controlled) of 2396 patients with a median treatment duration of 12 weeks (range: 0-39 weeks), 3.3% of patients on ZETIA and 2.9% of patients on placebo discontinued due to adverse reactions. The most common adverse reactions in the group of patients treated with ZETIA that led to treatment discontinuation and occurred at a rate greater than placebo were:

 

  • Arthralgia (0.3%)
  • Dizziness (0.2%)
  • Gamma-glutamyltransferase increased (0.2%)

The most commonly reported adverse reactions (incidence ‰¥2% and greater than placebo) in the ZETIA monotherapy controlled clinical trial database of 2396 patients were: upper respiratory tract infection (4.3%), diarrhea (4.1%), arthralgia (3.0%), sinusitis (2.8%), and pain in extremity (2.7%).

Statin Co-Administration Studies: In the ZETIA + statin controlled clinical trials database of 11,308 patients with a median treatment duration of 8 weeks (range: 0-112 weeks), 4.0% of patients on ZETIA + statin and 3.3% of patients on statin alone discontinued due to adverse reactions. The most common adverse reactions in the group of patients treated with ZETIA + statin that led to treatment discontinuation and occurred at a rate greater than statin alone were:

 

  • Alanine aminotransferase increased (0.6%)
  • Myalgia (0.5%)
  • Fatigue, aspartate aminotransferase increased, headache, and pain in extremity (each at 0.2%)

The most commonly reported adverse reactions (incidence ‰¥2% and greater than statin alone) in the ZETIA + statin controlled clinical trial database of 11,308 patients were: nasopharyngitis (3.7%), myalgia (3.2%), upper respiratory tract infection (2.9%), arthralgia (2.6%), and diarrhea (2.5%).

6.1 Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.

Monotherapy: In 10 double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials, 2396 patients with primary hyperlipidemia (age range: 9-86 years, 50% women, 90% Caucasians, 5% Blacks, 3% Hispanics, 2% Asians) and elevated LDL-C were treated with ZETIA 10 mg/day for a median treatment duration of 12 weeks (range: 0-39 weeks).

Adverse reactions reported in ‰¥2% of patients treated with ZETIA and at an incidence greater than placebo in placebo-controlled studies of ZETIA, regardless of causality assessment, are shown in Table 1.

TABLE 1: Clinical Adverse Reactions Occurring in ‰¥2% of Patients Treated with ZETIA and at an Incidence Greater than Placebo, Regardless of Causality

 

Body System/Organ Class Adverse Reaction

 

ZETIA 10 mg (%)

n = 2396

 

Placebo (%)

n = 1159

 

Gastrointestinal disorders    
Diarrhea 4.1 3.7
General disorders and administration site conditions    
Fatigue 2.4 1.5
Infections and infestations    
Influenza 2.0 1.5
Sinusitis 2.8 2.2
Upper respiratory tract infection 4.3 2.5
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders    
Arthralgia 3.0 2.2
Pain in extremity 2.7 2.5
The frequency of less common adverse reactions was comparable between ZETIA and placebo.

Combination with a Statin: In 28 double-blind, controlled (placebo- or active-controlled) clinical trials, 11,308 patients with primary hyperlipidemia (age range: 10-93 years, 48% women, 85% Caucasians, 7% Blacks, 4% Hispanics, 3% Asians) and elevated LDL-C were treated with ZETIA 10 mg/day concurrently with or added to on-going statin therapy for a median treatment duration of 8 weeks (range: 0-112 weeks).

The incidence of consecutive increased transaminases (‰¥3 X ULN) was higher in patients receiving ZETIA administered with statins (1.3%) than in patients treated with statins alone (0.4%) [see Warnings and Precautions (5.2)].

Clinical adverse reactions reported in ‰¥2% of patients treated with ZETIA + statin and at an incidence greater than statin, regardless of causality assessment, are shown in Table 2.

TABLE 2: Clinical Adverse Reactions Occurring in ‰¥2% of Patients Treated with ZETIA Co-Administered with a Statin and at an Incidence Greater than Statin, Regardless of Causality

 

Body System/Organ Class Adverse Reaction

 

All Statins* (%)

n = 9361

 

ZETIA + All Statins* (%)

n = 11,308

 

Gastrointestinal disorders    
Diarrhea 2.2 2.5
General disorders and administration site conditions    
Fatigue 1.6 2.0
Infections and infestations    
Influenza 2.1 2.2
Nasopharyngitis 3.3 3.7
Upper respiratory tract infection 2.8 2.9
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders    
Arthralgia 2.4 2.6
Back pain 2.3 2.4
Myalgia 2.7 3.2
Pain in extremity 1.9 2.1
* All Statins = all doses of all statins

Combination with Fenofibrate: This clinical study involving 625 patients with mixed dyslipidemia (age range: 20-76 years, 44% women, 79% Caucasians, 0.1% Blacks, 11% Hispanics, 5% Asians) treated for up to 12 weeks and 576 patients treated for up to an additional 48 weeks evaluated co-administration of ZETIA and fenofibrate. This study was not designed to compare treatment groups for infrequent events. Incidence rates (95% CI) for clinically important elevations (‰¥3 X ULN, consecutive) in hepatic transaminase levels were 4.5% (1.9, 8.8) and 2.7% (1.2, 5.4) for fenofibrate monotherapy (n=188) and ZETIA co-administered with fenofibrate (n=183), respectively, adjusted for treatment exposure. Corresponding incidence rates for cholecystectomy were 0.6% (95% CI: 0.0%, 3.1%) and 1.7% (95% CI: 0.6%, 4.0%) for fenofibrate monotherapy and ZETIA co-administered with fenofibrate, respectively [see Drug Interactions (7.3)]. The numbers of patients exposed to co-administration therapy as well as fenofibrate and ezetimibe monotherapy were inadequate to assess gallbladder disease risk. There were no CPK elevations >10 X ULN in any of the treatment groups.

6.2 Post-Marketing Experience

Because the reactions below are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is generally not possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

The following additional adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of ZETIA:

Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis, angioedema, rash, and urticaria; erythema multiforme; arthralgia; myalgia; elevated creatine phosphokinase; myopathy/rhabdomyolysis [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]; elevations in liver transaminases; hepatitis; abdominal pain; thrombocytopenia; pancreatitis; nausea; dizziness; paresthesia; depression; headache; cholelithiasis; cholecystitis.

7 DRUG INTERACTIONS

[See Clinical Pharmacology (12.3).]

7.1 Cyclosporine

Caution should be exercised when using ZETIA and cyclosporine concomitantly due to increased exposure to both ezetimibe and cyclosporine. Cyclosporine concentrations should be monitored in patients receiving ZETIA and cyclosporine.

The degree of increase in ezetimibe exposure may be greater in patients with severe renal insufficiency. In patients treated with cyclosporine, the potential effects of the increased exposure to ezetimibe from concomitant use should be carefully weighed against the benefits of alterations in lipid levels provided by ezetimibe.

7.2 Fibrates

The efficacy and safety of co-administration of ezetimibe with fibrates other than fenofibrate have not been studied.

Fibrates may increase cholesterol excretion into the bile, leading to cholelithiasis. In a preclinical study in dogs, ezetimibe increased cholesterol in the gallbladder bile [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.2)]. Co-administration of ZETIA with fibrates other than fenofibrate is not recommended until use in patients is adequately studied.

7.3 Fenofibrate

If cholelithiasis is suspected in a patient receiving ZETIA and fenofibrate, gallbladder studies are indicated and alternative lipid-lowering therapy should be considered [see Adverse Reactions (6.1) and the product labeling for fenofibrate].

7.4 Cholestyramine

Concomitant cholestyramine administration decreased the mean area under the curve (AUC) of total ezetimibe approximately 55%. The incremental LDL-C reduction due to adding ezetimibe to cholestyramine may be reduced by this interaction.

7.5 Coumarin Anticoagulants

If ezetimibe is added to warfarin, a coumarin anticoagulant, the International Normalized Ratio (INR) should be appropriately monitored.

8 USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category C: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of ezetimibe in pregnant women. Ezetimibe should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the risk to the fetus.

In oral (gavage) embryo-fetal development studies of ezetimibe conducted in rats and rabbits during organogenesis, there was no evidence of embryolethal effects at the doses tested (250, 500, 1000 mg/kg/day). In rats, increased incidences of common fetal skeletal findings (extra pair of thoracic ribs, unossified cervical vertebral centra, shortened ribs) were observed at 1000 mg/kg/day (~10 X the human exposure at 10 mg daily based on AUC0-24hr for total ezetimibe). In rabbits treated with ezetimibe, an increased incidence of extra thoracic ribs was observed at 1000 mg/kg/day (150 X the human exposure at 10 mg daily based on AUC0-24hr for total ezetimibe). Ezetimibe crossed the placenta when pregnant rats and rabbits were given multiple oral doses.

Multiple-dose studies of ezetimibe given in combination with statins in rats and rabbits during organogenesis result in higher ezetimibe and statin exposures. Reproductive findings occur at lower doses in combination therapy compared to monotherapy.

All statins are contraindicated in pregnant and nursing women. When ZETIA is administered with a statin in a woman of childbearing potential, refer to the pregnancy category and product labeling for the statin [see Contraindications (4)].

8.3 Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether ezetimibe is excreted into human breast milk. In rat studies, exposure to total ezetimibe in nursing pups was up to half of that observed in maternal plasma. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when ZETIA is administered to a nursing woman. ZETIA should not be used in nursing mothers unless the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the infant.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The effects of ZETIA co-administered with simvastatin (n=126) compared to simvastatin monotherapy (n=122) have been evaluated in adolescent boys and girls with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH). In a multicenter, double-blind, controlled study followed by an open-label phase, 142 boys and 106 postmenarchal girls, 10 to 17 years of age (mean age 14.2 years, 43% females, 82% Caucasians, 4% Asian, 2% Blacks, 13% multi-racial) with HeFH were randomized to receive either ZETIA co-administered with simvastatin or simvastatin monotherapy. Inclusion in the study required 1) a baseline LDL-C level between 160 and 400 mg/dL and 2) a medical history and clinical presentation consistent with HeFH. The mean baseline LDL-C value was 225 mg/dL (range: 161-351 mg/dL) in the ZETIA co-administered with simvastatin group compared to 219 mg/dL (range: 149-336 mg/dL) in the simvastatin monotherapy group. The patients received co-administered ZETIA and simvastatin (10 mg, 20 mg, or 40 mg) or simvastatin monotherapy (10 mg, 20 mg, or 40 mg) for 6 weeks, co-administered ZETIA and 40 mg simvastatin or 40 mg simvastatin monotherapy for the next 27 weeks, and open-label co-administered ZETIA and simvastatin (10 mg, 20 mg, or 40 mg) for 20 weeks thereafter.

The results of the study at Week 6 are summarized in Table 3. Results at Week 33 were consistent with those at Week 6.

TABLE 3: Mean Percent Difference at Week 6 Between the Pooled ZETIA Co-Administered with Simvastatin Group and the Pooled Simvastatin Monotherapy Group in Adolescent Patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia

 

  Total-C LDL-C Apo B Non-HDL-C TG* HDL-C
Mean percent difference between treatment groups -12% -15% -12% -14% -2% +0.1%
95% Confidence Interval (-15%, -9%) (-18%, -12%) (-15%, -9%) (-17%, -11%) (-9%, +4%) (-3%, +3%)
* For triglycerides, median % change from baseline

From the start of the trial to the end of Week 33, discontinuations due to an adverse reaction occurred in 7 (6%) patients in the ZETIA co-administered with simvastatin group and in 2 (2%) patients in the simvastatin monotherapy group.

During the trial, hepatic transaminase elevations (two consecutive measurements for ALT and/or AST ‰¥3 X ULN) occurred in 4 (3%) individuals in the ZETIA co-administered with simvastatin group and in 2 (2%) individuals in the simvastatin monotherapy group. Elevations of CPK (‰¥10 X ULN) occurred in 2 (2%) individuals in the ZETIA co-administered with simvastatin group and in zero individuals in the simvastatin monotherapy group.

In this limited controlled study, there was no significant effect on growth or sexual maturation in the adolescent boys or girls, or on menstrual cycle length in girls.

Co-administration of ZETIA with simvastatin at doses greater than 40 mg/day has not been studied in adolescents. Also, ZETIA has not been studied in patients younger than 10 years of age or in pre-menarchal girls.

Based on total ezetimibe (ezetimibe + ezetimibe-glucuronide), there are no pharmacokinetic differences between adolescents and adults. Pharmacokinetic data in the pediatric population <10 years of age are not available.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Monotherapy Studies: Of the 2396 patients who received ZETIA in clinical studies, 669 (28%) were 65 and older, and 111 (5%) were 75 and older.

Statin Co-Administration Studies: Of the 11,308 patients who received ZETIA + statin in clinical studies, 3587 (32%) were 65 and older, and 924 (8%) were 75 and older.

No overall differences in safety and effectiveness were observed between these patients and younger patients, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

8.6 Hepatic Impairment

ZETIA is not recommended in patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

ZETIA given concomitantly with a statin is contraindicated in patients with active liver disease or unexplained persistent elevations of hepatic transaminase levels [see Contraindications (4), Warnings and Precautions (5.2), and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

10 OVERDOSAGE

In clinical studies, administration of ezetimibe, 50 mg/day to 15 healthy subjects for up to 14 days, or 40 mg/day to 18 patients with primary hyperlipidemia for up to 56 days, was generally well-tolerated.

A few cases of overdosage with ZETIA have been reported; most have not been associated with adverse experiences. Reported adverse experiences have not been serious. In the event of an overdose, symptomatic and supportive measures should be employed.

11 DESCRIPTION

ZETIA (ezetimibe) is in a class of lipid-lowering compounds that selectively inhibits the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and related phytosterols. The chemical name of ezetimibe is 1-(4-fluorophenyl)-3(R)-[3-(4-fluorophenyl)-3(S)-hydroxypropyl]-4(S)-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-azetidinone. The empirical formula is C24H21F2NO3. Its molecular weight is 409.4 and its structural formula is:

[GRAPHIC OMITTED]

Ezetimibe is a white, crystalline powder that is freely to very soluble in ethanol, methanol, and acetone and practically insoluble in water. Ezetimibe has a melting point of about 163°C and is stable at ambient temperature. ZETIA is available as a tablet for oral administration containing 10 mg of ezetimibe and the following inactive ingredients: croscarmellose sodium NF, lactose monohydrate NF, magnesium stearate NF, microcrystalline cellulose NF, povidone USP, and sodium lauryl sulfate NF.

12 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

12.1 Mechanism of Action

Ezetimibe reduces blood cholesterol by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol by the small intestine. In a 2-week clinical study in 18 hypercholesterolemic patients, ZETIA inhibited intestinal cholesterol absorption by 54%, compared with placebo. ZETIA had no clinically meaningful effect on the plasma concentrations of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E (in a study of 113 patients), and did not impair adrenocortical steroid hormone production (in a study of 118 patients).

The cholesterol content of the liver is derived predominantly from 3 sources. The liver can synthesize cholesterol, take up cholesterol from the blood from circulating lipoproteins, or take up cholesterol absorbed by the small intestine. Intestinal cholesterol is derived primarily from cholesterol secreted in the bile and from dietary cholesterol.

Ezetimibe has a mechanism of action that differs from those of other classes of cholesterol-reducing compounds (statins, bile acid sequestrants [resins], fibric acid derivatives, and plant stanols). The molecular target of ezetimibe has been shown to be the sterol transporter, Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1), which is involved in the intestinal uptake of cholesterol and phytosterols.

Ezetimibe does not inhibit cholesterol synthesis in the liver, or increase bile acid excretion. Instead, ezetimibe localizes at the brush border of the small intestine and inhibits the absorption of cholesterol, leading to a decrease in the delivery of intestinal cholesterol to the liver. This causes a reduction of hepatic cholesterol stores and an increase in clearance of cholesterol from the blood; this distinct mechanism is complementary to that of statins and of fenofibrate [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Clinical stud

Posted: July 2009


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