|Drug Name:||Desipramine Hydrochloride|
|Manufacturer:||Amide Pharmaceutical, Inc.|
Suicidality and Antidepressant DrugsAntidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.
Anyone considering the use of desipramine hydrochloride or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need.
Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.
Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide.
Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior.
Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber.
Desipramine hydrochloride is not approved for use in pediatric patients.(See WARNINGS: Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk, PRECAUTIONS: Information for patients and PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric use
Desipramine hydrochloride should not be given in conjunction with, or within 2 weeks of, treatment with an MAO inhibitor drug; hyperpyretic crises, severe convulsions, and death have occurred in patients taking MAO inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants.
When desipramine hydrochloride is substituted for an MAO inhibitor, at least 2 weeks should elapse between treatments.
Desipramine hydrochloride should then be started cautiously and should be increased gradually.Desipramine hydrochloride is contraindicated in the acute recovery period following myocardial infarction.
It should not be used in those who have shown prior hypersensitivity to the drug.Cross-sensitivity between this and other dibenzazepines is a possibility.
Clinical Worsening and Suicide RiskPatients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs.
Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide.
There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment.
Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18-24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.
Short term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4400 patients.
The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients.
There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied.
There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD.
The risk differences (drug vs placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications.
These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1. Table 1 Age RangeDrug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated Increases Compared to Placebo < 1814 additional cases 18–245 additional cases Decreases Compared to Placebo 25–641 fewer case ?656 fewer cases No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months.
However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients 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 the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to health care providers.
Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers.
Prescriptions for desipramine hydrochloride should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.Screening Patients for Bipolar DisorderA major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder.
It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder.
Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown.
However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression.
It should be noted that desipramine hydrochloride is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression.GeneralExtreme caution should be used when this drug is given in the following situations:In patients with cardiovascular disease, because of the possibility of conduction defects, arrhythmias, tachycardias, strokes, and acute myocardial infarction.
In patients with a history of urinary retention or glaucoma, because of the anticholinergic properties of the drug.
In patients with thyroid disease or those taking thyroid medication, because of the possibility of cardiovascular toxicity, including arrhythmias.
In patients with a history of seizure disorder, because this drug has been shown to lower the seizure threshold.
This drug is capable of blocking the antihypertensive effect of guanethidine and similarly acting compounds.
The patient should be cautioned that this drug may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery.
In patients who may use alcohol excessively, it should be borne in mind that the potentiation may increase the danger inherent in any suicide attempt or overdosage.Use in PregnancySafe use of desipramine hydrochloride during pregnancy and lactation has not been established; therefore, if it is to be given to pregnant patients, nursing mothers, or women of childbearing potential, the possible benefits must be weighed against the possible hazards to mother and child.
Animal reproductive studies have been inconclusive.Geriatric UseClinical studies of desipramine hydrochloride did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects.
Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients.
Lower doses are recommended for elderly patients.
(See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)The ratio of 2-hydroxydesipramine to desipramine may be increased in the elderly, most likely due to decreased renal elimination with aging.This drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function.
Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function.
Desipramine hydrochloride use in the elderly has been associated with a proneness to falling as well as confusional states.(See ADVERSE REACTIONS.