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Label Changes for:

Orfadin (nitisinone)

June 2016

Changes have been made to the WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS sections of the safety label.

Detailed View: Safety Labeling Changes Approved By FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)

June 2016


Change subsection heading of High Plasma Tyrosine Levels to Elevated Plasma Tyrosine Levels, Ocular Symptoms, Developmental Delay and Hyperkeratotic Plaques

  • Paragraph 1 should now read: ORFADIN is an inhibitor of 4-hydroxyphenyl-pyruvate dioxygenase, an enzyme in the tyrosine metabolic pathway. Therefore, treatment with ORFADIN may cause an increase in plasma tyrosine levels in patients with HT-1. Maintain concomitant reduction in dietary tyrosine and phenylalanine while on ORFADIN treatment. Do not adjust ORFADIN dosage in order to lower the plasma tyrosine concentration. Maintain plasma tyrosine levels below 500 micromol/L. Inadequate restriction of tyrosine and phenylalanine intake can lead to elevations in plasma tyrosine levels and levels greater than 500 micromol/L may lead to the following:
Leukopenia and Severe Thrombocytopenia
  • Update sentence to note change in decrease of dosage from 2mg/kg to 1mg to 1 mg/kg to 0.5 mg/kg twice daily.
Risk of Adverse Reactions Due to Glycerol Content of ORFADIN Oral Suspension (added subsection)
  • Oral doses of glycerol of 10 grams or more have been reported to cause headache, upset stomach and diarrhea. ORFADIN oral suspension contains 500 mg/mL of glycerol. Patients receiving more than 20 mL of ORFADIN oral suspension (10 grams glycerol) as a single dose are at increased risk of these adverse reactions. Consider switching patients who are unable to tolerate the oral suspension to ORFADIN capsules.


Clinical Trials Experience
  • (updated sentence) The starting dose of ORFADIN was 0.3 to 0.5 mg/kg twice daily, and the dose was increased in some patients to 1 mg/kg twice daily based on weight, biochemical, and enzyme markers.
  • (addition) The recommended dose is 0.5 mg/kg to 1 mg/kg twice daily.
  • (updated paragraph) The most serious adverse reactions reported during ORFADIN treatment were thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, porphyria, and ocular/visual complaints associated with elevated tyrosine levels. Fourteen patients experienced ocular/visual events. The duration of the symptoms varied from 5 days to 2 years. Six patients had thrombocytopenia, three of which had platelet counts 30,000/microL or lower. In 4 patients with thrombocytopenia, platelet counts gradually returned to normal (duration up to 47 days) without change in ORFADIN dose. No patients developed infections or bleeding as a result of the episodes of leukopenia and thrombocytopenia.
  • (Added paragraph) Patients with HT- 1 are at increased risk of developing porphyric crises, hepatic neoplasms, and liver failure requiring liver transplantation. These complications of HT- 1 were observed in patients treated with nitisinone for a median of 22 months during the clinical trial (liver transplantation 13%, liver failure 7%, malignant hepatic neoplasms 5%, benign hepatic neoplasms 3%, porphyria 1%).


  • Most Common Adverse Reactions: This table has been extensively updated; please refer to label.


Interaction with CYP2C9 Substrates (new subheading)
  • If ORFADIN is co-administered with drugs that are metabolized by CYP2C9, additional monitoring may be warranted because of a potential for increased systemic exposure of these drugs. The risk is dependent upon the particular 2C9 substrate and its adverse reaction profile.



Risk Summary

  • (update) Limited data on nitisinone use in pregnant women are not sufficient to inform any drug associated risk. Animal reproduction studies have been conducted for nitisinone. In these studies, nitisinone was administered to mice and rabbits during organogenesis with oral doses of nitisinone up to 20 and 8 times respectively, the recommended human dose. In mice, nitisinone caused incomplete skeletal ossification of fetal bones and decreased pup survival at doses 0.4 times the recommended human dose, and increased gestational length at doses 4 times the recommended human dose. In rabbits, nitisinone caused maternal toxicity and incomplete skeletal ossification of fetal bones at doses 1.6 times the recommended human dose.
  • (addition) The background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population are unknown. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively.

Risk Summary

  • There are no data on the presence of nitisinone in human milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. Data suggest that nitisinone is present in rat milk due to findings of ocular toxicity and lower body weight seen in drug naive nursing rat pups. The development and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for ORFADIN and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from ORFADIN or from the underlying maternal condition.


  • This section has undergone extensive changes; please refer to label.


February 2013


  • High Plasma Tyrosine Levels