Included as part of the "PRECAUTIONS" Section
Cytokine Release Syndrome
Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), which may be life-threatening or fatal, occurred in patients receiving BLINCYTO. The median time to onset of CRS was 2 days after the start of infusion and the median time to resolution of CRS was 5 days among cases that resolved. Manifestations of CRS include fever, headache, nausea, asthenia, hypotension, increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT), increased aspartate aminotransferase (AST), increased total bilirubin, and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). The manifestations of CRS after treatment with BLINCYTO overlap with those of infusion reactions, capillary leak syndrome (CLS), and hemophagocytic histiocytosis/macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). Using all of these terms to define CRS in clinical trials of BLINCYTO, CRS was reported in 15% of patients with relapsed or refractory ALL and in 7% of patients with MRD-positive ALL.
Monitor patients for signs or symptoms of these events. Advise outpatients on BLINCYTO to contact their healthcare professional for signs and symptoms associated with CRS. If severe CRS occurs, interrupt BLINCYTO until CRS resolves. Discontinue BLINCYTO permanently if life-threatening CRS occurs. Administer corticosteroids for severe or life-threatening CRS [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
In patients with ALL receiving BLINCYTO in clinical studies, neurological toxicities have occurred in approximately 65% of patients. Among patients that experienced a neurologic event, the median time to the first event was within the first 2 weeks of BLINCYTO treatment and the majority of events resolved. The most common (≥ 10%) manifestations of neurological toxicity were headache, and tremor; the neurological toxicity profile varied by age group [see Use In Specific Populations]. Grade 3 or higher (severe, life-threatening, or fatal) neurological toxicities following initiation of BLINCYTO administration occurred in approximately 13% of patients and included encephalopathy, convulsions, speech disorders, disturbances in consciousness, confusion and disorientation, and coordination and balance disorders. Manifestations of neurological toxicity included cranial nerve disorders. The majority of neurologic events resolved following interruption of BLINCYTO, but some resulted in treatment discontinuation.
There is limited experience with BLINCYTO in patients with active ALL in the central nervous system (CNS) or a history of neurologic events. Patients with a history or presence of clinically relevant CNS pathology were excluded from clinical studies.
Monitor patients receiving BLINCYTO for signs and symptoms of neurological toxicities. Advise outpatients on BLINCYTO to contact their healthcare professional if they develop signs or symptoms of neurological toxicities. Interrupt or discontinue BLINCYTO as recommended [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
In patients with ALL receiving BLINCYTO in clinical studies, serious infections such as sepsis, pneumonia, bacteremia, opportunistic infections, and catheter-site infections were observed in approximately 25% of patients, some of which were life-threatening or fatal. As appropriate, administer prophylactic antibiotics and employ surveillance testing during treatment with BLINCYTO. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection and treat appropriately.
Tumor Lysis Syndrome
Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS), which may be life-threatening or fatal, has been observed in patients receiving BLINCYTO. Appropriate prophylactic measures, including pretreatment nontoxic cytoreduction and on-treatment hydration, should be used for the prevention of TLS during BLINCYTO treatment. Monitor for signs or symptoms of TLS. Management of these events may require either temporary interruption or discontinuation of BLINCYTO [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Neutropenia And Febrile Neutropenia
Neutropenia and febrile neutropenia, including life-threatening cases, have been observed in patients receiving BLINCYTO. Monitor laboratory parameters (including, but not limited to, white blood cell count and absolute neutrophil count) during BLINCYTO infusion. Interrupt BLINCYTO if prolonged neutropenia occurs.
Effects On Ability To Drive And Use Machines
Due to the potential for neurologic events, including seizures, patients receiving BLINCYTO are at risk for loss of consciousness [see Neurological Toxicities]. Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous occupations or activities such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery while BLINCYTO is being administered.
Elevated Liver Enzymes
Treatment with BLINCYTO was associated with transient elevations in liver enzymes. In patients with ALL receiving BLINCYTO in clinical studies, the median time to onset of elevated liver enzymes was 3 days.
The majority of these transient elevations in liver enzymes were observed in the setting of CRS. For the events that were observed outside the setting of CRS, the median time to onset was 19 days. Grade 3 or greater elevations in liver enzymes occurred in approximately 7% of patients outside the setting of CRS and resulted in treatment discontinuation in less than 1% of patients.
Monitor alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), and total blood bilirubin prior to the start of and during BLINCYTO treatment. Interrupt BLINCYTO if the transaminases rise to greater than 5 times the upper limit of normal or if total bilirubin rises to more than 3 times the upper limit of normal.
Fatal pancreatitis has been reported in patients receiving BLINCYTO in combination with dexamethasone in clinical studies and the postmarketing setting [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Evaluate patients who develop signs and symptoms of pancreatitis. Management of pancreatitis may require either temporary interruption or discontinuation of BLINCYTO and dexamethasone [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) changes showing leukoencephalopathy have been observed in patients receiving BLINCYTO, especially in patients with prior treatment with cranial irradiation and antileukemic chemotherapy (including systemic high-dose methotrexate or intrathecal cytarabine). The clinical significance of these imaging changes is unknown.
Preparation And Administration Errors
Preparation and administration errors have occurred with BLINCYTO treatment. Follow instructions for preparation (including admixing) and administration strictly to minimize medication errors (including underdose and overdose) [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines during or following BLINCYTO therapy has not been studied. Vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended for at least 2 weeks prior to the start of BLINCYTO treatment, during treatment, and until immune recovery following last cycle of BLINCYTO.
Risk Of Serious Adverse Reactions In Pediatric Patients Due To Benzyl Alcohol Preservative
Serious and fatal adverse reactions including “gasping syndrome” can occur in neonates and infants treated with benzyl alcohol-preserved drugs, including BLINCYTO (with preservative). The “gasping syndrome” is characterized by central nervous system depression, metabolic acidosis, and gasping respirations.
When prescribing BLINCYTO (with preservative) for pediatric patients, consider the combined daily metabolic load of benzyl alcohol from all sources including BLINCYTO (with preservative) (contains 7.4 mg of benzyl alcohol per mL) and other drugs containing benzyl alcohol. The minimum amount of benzyl alcohol at which serious adverse reactions may occur is not known [see Use In Specific Populations].
Due to the addition of bacteriostatic saline, 7-day infusion bags of BLINCYTO solution contain benzyl alcohol and are not recommended for use in any patients weighing less than 22 kg [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and Use In Specific Populations].
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS)
Advise patients of the risk of CRS and infusion reactions, and to contact their healthcare professional for signs and symptoms associated with CRS or infusion reactions (pyrexia, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, chills, hypotension, rash, and wheezing) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Advise patients of the risk of neurological toxicities, and to contact their healthcare professional for signs and symptoms associated with this event (convulsions, speech disorders, and confusion) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Advise patients of the risk of infections, and to contact their healthcare professional for signs or symptoms of infection [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Inform patients of the importance of keeping the skin clean around the intravenous catheter to reduce the risk of infection.
Advise patients of the risk of pancreatitis and to contact their healthcare provider for signs or symptoms of pancreatitis, which include severe and persistent stomach pain, with or without nausea and vomiting [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Driving And Engaging In Hazardous Occupations
Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous occupations or activities such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery while BLINCYTO is being administered. Patients should be advised that they may experience neurological events [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Infusion Pump Errors
Inform patients they should not adjust the setting on the infusion pump. Any changes to pump function may result in dosing errors. If there is a problem with the infusion pump or the pump alarms, patients should contact their doctor or nurse immediately.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
No carcinogenicity or genotoxicity studies have been conducted with blinatumomab.
No studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects of blinatumomab on fertility. A murine surrogate molecule had no adverse effects on male and female reproductive organs in a 13-week repeat-dose toxicity study in mice.
Use In Specific Populations
Based on its mechanism of action, BLINCYTO may cause fetal harm, including B-cell lymphocytopenia, when administered to a pregnant woman [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. There are no data on the use of BLINCYTO in pregnant women. In animal reproduction studies, a murine surrogate molecule administered to pregnant mice crossed the placental barrier (see Data). Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus.
The background rate of major birth defects and miscarriage is unknown for the indicated population. All pregnancies have a background risk of birth defect, loss, or other adverse outcomes. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2-4% and 15-20%, respectively.
Fetal/Neonatal Adverse Reactions
Due to the potential for B-cell lymphocytopenia in infants following exposure to BLINCYTO in utero, the infant’s B lymphocytes should be monitored before the initiation of live virus vaccination [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with blinatumomab. In embryo-fetal developmental toxicity studies, a murine surrogate molecule was administered intravenously to pregnant mice during the period of organogenesis. The surrogate molecule crossed the placental barrier and did not cause embryo-fetal toxicity or teratogenicity. The expected depletions of B and T cells were observed in the pregnant mice, but hematological effects were not assessed in fetuses.
There is no information regarding the presence of blinatumomab in human milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed infants from BLINCYTO, including B-cell lymphocytopenia, advise patients not to breastfeed during treatment with BLINCYTO and for at least 48 hours after the last dose.
Females And Males Of Reproductive Potential
Verify the pregnancy status of females of reproductive potential prior to initiating BLINCYTO treatment.
BLINCYTO may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman [see Pregnancy]. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with BLINCYTO and for at least 48 hours after the last dose.
The safety and efficacy of BLINCYTO have been established in pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL. Use of BLINCYTO is supported by a single-arm trial in pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL. This study included pediatric patients in the following age groups: 10 infants (1 month up to less than 2 years), 40 children (2 years up to less than 12 years), and 20 adolescents (12 years to less than 18 years). No differences in efficacy were observed between the different age subgroups. The efficacy has also been established based on extrapolation from adequate and well-controlled studies in adults with MRD-positive B-cell precursor ALL.
In general, the adverse reactions in BLINCYTO-treated pediatric patients were similar in type to those seen in adult patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Adverse reactions that were observed more frequently (≥ 10% difference) in the pediatric population compared to the adult population were pyrexia (80% vs. 61%), hypertension (26% vs. 8%), anemia (41% vs. 24%), infusion-related reaction (49% vs. 34%), thrombocytopenia (34% vs. 21%), leukopenia (24% vs. 11%), and weight increased (17% vs. 6%).
In pediatric patients less than 2 years old (infants), the incidence of neurologic toxicities was not significantly different than for the other age groups, but its manifestations were different; the only event terms reported were agitation, headache, insomnia, somnolence, and irritability. Infants also had an increased incidence of hypokalemia (50%) compared to other pediatric age cohorts (15-20%) or adults (17%).
The steady-state concentrations of blinatumomab were comparable in adult and pediatric patients at the equivalent dose levels based on BSA-based regimens.
Benzyl Alcohol Toxicity In Pediatric Patients
Serious adverse reactions including fatal reactions and the “gasping syndrome” occurred in premature neonates and infants in the neonatal intensive care unit who received drugs containing benzyl alcohol as a preservative. In these cases, benzyl alcohol dosages of 99 to 234 mg/kg/day produced high levels of benzyl alcohol and its metabolites in the blood and urine (blood levels of benzyl alcohol were 0.61 to 1.378 mmol/L). Additional adverse reactions included gradual neurological deterioration, seizures, intracranial hemorrhage, hematologic abnormalities, skin breakdown, hepatic and renal failure, hypotension, bradycardia, and cardiovascular collapse. Preterm, low-birth weight infants may be more likely to develop these reactions because they may be less able to metabolize benzyl alcohol.
When prescribing BLINCYTO (with preservative) in pediatric patients, consider the combined daily metabolic load of benzyl alcohol from all sources including BLINCYTO (with preservative) (contains 7.4 mg of benzyl alcohol per mL) and other drugs containing benzyl alcohol. The minimum amount of benzyl alcohol at which serious adverse reactions may occur is not known [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Due to the addition of bacteriostatic saline, 7-day infusion bags of BLINCYTO solution contain benzyl alcohol and are not recommended for use in patients weighing less than 22 kg. Prepare BLINCYTO solution for infusion with preservative-free saline in 24-hour or 48-hour infusion bags for patients weighing less than 22 kg [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Of the total number of patients with ALL treated in clinical studies of BLINCYTO, approximately 12% were 65 and over, while 2% were 75 and older. No overall differences in safety or 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. However, elderly patients experienced a higher rate of serious infections and neurological toxicities, including cognitive disorder, encephalopathy, and confusion [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].