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Treatment of Parkinson's disease
If treatment with a dopamine agonist is being considered, cabergoline is indicated as second line therapy in patients who are intolerant or fail treatment with a non-ergot compound, as monotherapy, or as adjunctive treatment to levodopa plus dopa-decarboxylase inhibitor, in the management of the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
Treatment should be initiated under specialist supervision. The benefit of continued treatment should be regularly reassessed taking into account the risk of fibrotic reactions and valvulopathy (see sections 1.3, 1.4 & 1.8).
The tablets are for oral administration.
Since the tolerability of dopaminergic agents is improved when administered with food, it is recommended that cabergoline be taken with meals.
Cabergoline is intended for chronic, long term treatment.
Adults and elderly patients
As expected for dopamine agonists, dose response for both efficacy and side effects appears to be linked to individual sensitivity. Optimization of dose should be obtained through slow initial dose titration, from starting doses of 1 mg daily. The dosage of concurrent levodopa may be gradually decreased, while the dosage of cabergoline is increased, until the optimum balance is determined. In view of the long half-life of the compound, increments of the daily dose of 0.5-1 mg should be done at weekly (initial weeks) or bi-weekly intervals, up to optimal doses.
The recommended therapeutic dosage is 2 to 3 mg/day for patients with signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Cabergoline should be given as a single daily dose.
The safety and efficacy of cabergoline has not been investigated in children as Parkinson's disease does not affect this population.
Hypersensitivity to cabergoline or to any of the excipients listed in section 6.1, or any ergot alkaloid.
History of pulmonary, pericardial and retroperitoneal fibrotic disorders.
For long-term treatment: Evidence of cardiac valvulopathy as determined by pre-treatment echocardiography. (See section 4.4).
1.4 Special warnings and precautions for use
As with other ergot derivatives, cabergoline should be given with caution to patients with severe cardiovascular disease, Raynaud's syndrome, peptic ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding, or with a history of serious, particularly psychotic, mental disorders.
Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicine.
The effects of alcohol on overall tolerability of Cabergoline are currently unknown.
Lower doses of cabergoline should be considered in patients with severe hepatic insufficiency. Compared to normal volunteers and those with lesser degrees of hepatic insufficiency, an increase in AUC has been seen in patients with severe hepatic insufficiency (Child-Pugh Class C) who received a single 1 mg dose.
Postural hypotension can occur following administration of cabergoline, particularly during the first days of administration of cabergoline. Care should be exercised when administering cabergoline concomitantly with other drugs known to lower blood pressure.
Fibrosis and Cardiac Valvulopathy and Possibly Related Clinical Phenomena:
Fibrotic and serosal inflammatory disorders such as pleuritis, pleural effusion, pleural fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis, pericarditis, pericardial effusion, cardiac valvulopathy involving one or more valves (aortic, mitral and tricuspid)or retroperitoneal fibrosis have occurred after prolonged usage of ergot derivatives with agonist activity at the serotonin 5HT2B receptor, such as cabergoline. In some cases, symptoms or manifestations of cardiac valvulopathy improved after discontinuation of cabergoline.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) has been found to be abnormally increased in association with pleural effusion/fibrosis. Chest x-ray examination is recommended in cases of unexplained ESR increases to abnormal values.
Serum creatinine measurements can also be used to help in the diagnosis of fibrotic disorder. Following diagnosis of pleural effusion/pulmonary fibrosis or valvulopathy, the discontinuance of cabergoline has been reported to result in improvement of signs and symptoms. (See section 4.3)
Valvulopathy has been associated with cumulative doses, therefore patients should be treated with the lowest effective dose. At each visit, the risk benefit profile of cabergoline treatment for the patient should be reassessed to determine the suitability of continued treatment with cabergoline.
Before initiating long-term treatment:
All patients must undergo a cardiovascular evaluation, including echocardiogram, to assess the potential presence of asymptomatic valvular disease. It is also appropriate to perform baseline investigations of erythrocyte sedimentation rate or other inflammatory markers, lung function/chest x-ray and renal function prior to initiation of therapy. In patients with valvular regurgitation, it is not known whether cabergoline treatment might worsen the underlying disease. If fibrotic valvular disease is detected, the patient should not be treated with cabergoline (See section 4.3).
During long-term treatment:
Fibrotic disorders can have an insidious onset and patients should be regularly monitored for possible manifestations of progressive fibrosis. Therefore during treatment, attention should be paid to the signs and symptoms of:
• Pleuro-pulmonary disease, such as dyspnoea, shortness of breath, persistent cough, or chest pain.
• Renal insufficiency or ureteral/abdominal vascular obstruction that may occur with pain in the loin/flank, and lower limb oedema, as well as any possible abdominal masses or tenderness that may indicate retroperitoneal fibrosis.
• Cardiac failure; cases of valvular and pericardial fibrosis have often manifested as cardiac failure. Therefore, valvular fibrosis (and constrictive pericarditis) should be excluded if such symptoms occur.
Clinical diagnostic monitoring for development of fibrotic disorders, as appropriate, is essential. Following treatment initiation, the first echocardiogram must occur within 3-6 months, thereafter, the frequency of echocardiographic monitoring should be determined by appropriate individual clinical assessment with particular emphasis on the above-mentioned signs and symptoms, but must occur at least every 6 to 12 months.
Cabergoline should be discontinued if an echocardiogram reveals new or worsened valvular regurgitation, valvular restriction, valve leaflet thickening or fibrotic valvular disease (see section 4.3).
The need for other clinical monitoring (e.g. physical examination including, cardiac auscultation, X-ray, CT scan) should be determined on an individual basis.
Additional appropriate investigations such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and serum creatinine measurements should be performed if necessary to support a diagnosis of a fibrotic disorder.
Somnolence/Sudden Sleep Onset:
Cabergoline has been associated with somnolence and episodes of sudden sleep onset in patients with Parkinson's disease. Sudden onset of sleep during activities, in some cases without awareness or warning signs, has been reported. Patients must be informed of this and advised to exercise caution while driving or operating machines during treatment with cabergoline. Patients who have experienced somnolence and/or an episode of sudden sleep onset must refrain from driving or operating machines. A reduction of dosage or termination of therapy may be considered. (See section 4.7).
Impulse control disorders:
Patients should be regularly monitored for the development of impulse control disorders. Patients and carers should be made aware that behavioural symptoms of impulse control disorders including pathological gambling, increased libido, hypersexuality, compulsive spending or buying, binge eating and compulsive eating can occur in patients treated with dopamine agonists including Cabaser. Dose reduction/tapered discontinuation should be considered if such symptoms develop.
1.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction
The concomitant use of antiparkinson non-dopamine agonists (e.g. selegiline, amantadine, biperiden, trihexyphenidyl) was allowed in clinical studies for patients receiving cabergoline. In studies where the pharmacokinetic interactions of cabergoline with L-dopa or selegiline were evaluated, no interactions were observed.
No information is available about interaction between cabergoline and other ergot alkaloids: therefore the concomitant use of these medications during long term treatment with cabergoline is not recommended.
Since cabergoline exerts its therapeutic effect by direct stimulation of dopamine receptors, it should not be concurrently administered with drugs which have dopamine antagonist activity (such as phenothiazines, butyrophenones, thioxanthenes, metoclopramide) since these might reduce the therapeutic effect of cabergoline.
As with other ergot derivatives, cabergoline should not be used in association with macrolide antibiotics (e.g. erythromycin) due to increased the systemic bioavailability.
1.6. Fertility, pregnancy and lactation
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies from the use of cabergoline in pregnant women. Animal studies have not demonstrated teratogenic effects, but reduced fertility and embryo-toxicity were observed in association with pharmacodynamic activity (see section 5.3).
In a twelve year observational study on pregnancy outcomes following cabergoline therapy, information is available on 256 pregnancies. Seventeen of these 256 pregnancies (6.6%) eventuated in major congenital malformations or abortion. Information is available on 23/258 infants who had a total of 27 neonatal abnormalities, both major and minor. Musculoskeletal malformations were the most common neonatal abnormality (10), followed by cardio-pulmonary abnormalities (5). There is no information on perinatal disorders or long-term development of infants exposed to intra-uterine cabergoline. Based on recent published literature, the prevalence of major congenital malformations in the general population has been reported to be 6.9% or greater. Rates of congenital abnormality vary between different populations. It is not possible to accurately determine if there is an increased risk as no control group was included.
It is recommended that contraception is used whilst on treatment with cabergoline.
Cabergoline should only be used during pregnancy if clearly indicated and after an accurate benefit/risk evaluation.
Due to the long half-life of the drug and limited data on in utero exposure, women planning to become pregnant should discontinue cabergoline one month before intended conception. If conception occurs during therapy, treatment should be discontinued as soon as pregnancy is confirmed to limit foetal exposure to the drug.
In rats, cabergoline and/or its metabolites are excreted in milk. No information is available on excretion in breast milk in humans; however, lactation is expected to be inhibited/suppressed by cabergoline, in view of its dopamine agonist properties. Mothers should be advised not to breast-feed while being treated with cabergoline.
Patients should be careful when performing actions which require fast and accurate reaction during treatment initiation.
Patients being treated with cabergoline and presenting with somnolence and/or sudden sleep onset episodes must be informed to refrain from driving or engaging in activities where impaired alertness may put themselves or others at risk of serious injury or death (e.g. operating machines) until such episodes and somnolence have resolved (see section 4.4).
1.8 Undesirable effects
The following undesirable effects have been observed and reported during treatment with cabergoline with the following frequencies: Very common (≥1/10); common (≥1/100 to <1/10); uncommon (≥1/1,000 to ≤1/100); rare (≥1/10,000 to ≤1/1,000); very rare (≤1/10,000), not known (cannot be estimated from the available data).
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