Zispin should not be used in the treatment of children and adolescents under the age of 18 years. Suicide-related behaviours (suicide attempt and suicidal thoughts), and hostility (predominantly aggression, oppositional behaviour and anger) were more frequently observed in clinical trials among children and adolescents treated with antidepressants compared to those treated with placebo. If, based on clinical need, a decision to treat is nevertheless taken, the patient should be carefully monitored for the appearance of suicidal symptoms. In addition, long-term safety data in children and adolescents concerning growth, maturation and cognitive and behavioural development are lacking.
Suicide/suicidal thoughts or clinical worsening
Depression is associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, self harm and suicide (suicide-related events). This risk persists until significant remission occurs. As improvement may not occur during the first few weeks or more of treatment, patients should be closely monitored until such improvement occurs. It is general clinical experience that the risk of suicide may increase in the early stages of recovery.Patients with a history of suicide-related events or those exhibiting a significant degree of suicidal ideation prior to commencement of treatment are known to be at greater risk of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, and should receive careful monitoring during treatment. A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled clinical trials of antidepressants in adult patients with psychiatric disorders showed an increased risk of suicidal behaviour with antidepressants compared to placebo in patients less than 25 years old.Close supervision of patients and in particular those at high risk should accompany therapy with antidepressants especially in early treatment and following dose changes. Patients (and caregivers of patients) should be alerted about the need to monitor for any clinical worsening, suicidal behaviour or thoughts and unusual changes in behaviour and to seek medical advice immediately if these symptoms present.With regard to the chance of suicide, in particular at the beginning of treatment, only the smallest amount of Zispin orodispersible tablets should be given to the patient consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.
Bone marrow depression
Bone marrow depression, usually presenting as granulocytopenia or agranulocytosis, has been reported during treatment with Zispin. Reversible agranulocytosis has been reported as a rare occurrence in clinical studies with Zispin. In the postmarketing period with Zispin very rare cases of agranulocytosis have been reported, mostly reversible, but in some cases fatal. Fatal cases mostly concerned patients with an age above 65. The physician should be alert for symptoms like fever, sore throat, stomatitis or other signs of infection; when such symptoms occur, treatment should be stopped and blood counts taken.
Treatment should be discontinued if jaundice occurs.
Conditions which need supervision
Careful dosing as well as regular and close monitoring is necessary in patients with:- epilepsy and organic brain syndrome: Although clinical experience indicates that epileptic seizures are rare during mirtazapine treatment, as with other antidepressants, Zispin should be introduced cautiously in patients who have a history of seizures. Treatment should be discontinued in any patient who develops seizures, or where there is an increase in seizure frequency.- hepatic impairment: Following a single 15 mg oral dose of mirtazapine, the clearance of mirtazapine was approximately 35 % decreased in mild to moderate hepatically impaired patients, compared to subjects with normal hepatic function. The average plasma concentration of mirtazapine was about 55 %increased.- renal impairment: Following a single 15 mg oral dose of mirtazapine, in patients with moderate (creatinine clearance <40 ml/min) and severe (creatinine clearance ≤ 10 ml/min) renal impairment the clearance of mirtazapine was about 30 % and 50 % decreased respectively, compared to normal subjects. The average plasma concentration of mirtazapine was about 55 % and 115 % increased respectively. No significant differences were found in patients with mild renal impairment (creatinine clearance <80 ml/min) as compared to the control group.- cardiac diseases like conduction disturbances, angina pectoris and recent myocardial infarction, where normal precautions should be taken and concomitant medicines carefully administered.- low blood pressure.- diabetes mellitus: In patients with diabetes, antidepressants may alter glycaemic control. Insulin and/or oral hypoglycaemic dosage may need to be adjusted and close monitoring is recommended.Like with other antidepressants, the following should be taken into account:- Worsening of psychotic symptoms can occur when antidepressants are administered to patients with schizophrenia or other psychotic disturbances; paranoid thoughts can be intensified - When the depressive phase of bipolar disorder is being treated, it can transform into the manic phase. Patients with a history of mania/hypomania should be closely monitored. Mirtazapine should be discontinued in any patient entering a manic phase.- Although Zispin is not addictive, post-marketing experience shows that abrupt termination of treatment after long term administration may sometimes result in withdrawal symptoms. The majority of withdrawal reactions are mild and self-limiting. Among the various reported withdrawal symptoms, dizziness, agitation, anxiety, headache and nausea are the most frequently reported. Even though they have been reported as withdrawal symptoms, it should be realized that these symptoms may be related to the underlying disease. As advised in section 4.2, it is recommended to discontinue treatment with mirtazapine gradually.- Care should be taken in patients with micturition disturbances like prostate hypertrophy and in patients with acute narrow-angle glaucoma and increased intra-ocular pressure (although there is little chance of problems with Zispin because of its very weak anticholinergic activity).- Akathisia/psychomotor restlessness: The use of antidepressants have been associated with the development of akathisia, characterized by a subjectively unpleasant or distressing restlessness and need to move often accompanied by an inability to sit or stand still. This is most likely to occur within the first few weeks of treatment. In patients who develop these symptoms, increasing the dose may be detrimental.- Cases of QT prolongation, Torsades de Pointes, ventricular tachycardia, and sudden death, have been reported during the post-marketing use of mirtazapine. The majority of reports occurred in association with overdose or in patients with other risk factors for QT prolongation, including concomitant use of QTc prolonging medicines (see section 4.5 and section 4.9). Caution should be exercised when Zispin is prescribed in patients with known cardiovascular disease or family history of QT prolongation, and in concomitant use with other medicinal products thought to prolong the QTc interval.
Hyponatraemia, probably due to inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), has been reported very rarely with the use of mirtazapine. Caution should be exercised in patients at risk, such as elderly patients or patients concomitantly treated with medications known to cause hyponatraemia.
Interaction with serotonergic active substances: serotonin syndrome may occur when selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used concomitantly with other serotonergic active substances (see section 4.5). Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may be hyperthermia, rigidity, myoclonus, autonomic instability with possible rapid fluctuations of vital signs, mental status changes that include confusion, irritability and extreme agitation progressing to delirium and coma. Caution should be advised and a closer clinical monitoring is required when these active substances are combined with mirtazapine. Treatment with mirtazapine should be discontinued if such events occur and supportive symptomatic treatment initiated. From post marketing experience it appears that serotonin syndrome occurs very rarely in patients treated with Zispin alone (see section 4.8).
Older people are often more sensitive, especially with regard to the undesirable effects of antidepressants. During clinical research with Zispin, undesirable effects have not been reported more often in elderly patients than in other age groups.
Zispin contains sugar spheres, containing sucrose. Patients with rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency should not take this medicine.
Zispin contains aspartame, a source of phenylalanine. Each tablet with 15 mg, 30 mg and 45 mg mirtazapine corresponds to 2.6 mg, 5.2 mg and 7.8 mg phenylalanine, respectively. It may be harmful for patients with phenylketonuria.