This drug should not be used by patients until there has been a complete discussion of the risks and the patient has provided written acknowledgement that the risks have been explained (see patient acknowledgement of risks section in package insert)
- Because of the risk of potentially fatal, acute fulminant liver failure, tolcapone should ordinarily be used in patients with Parkinsonï¿½s disease on l-dopa/carbidopa who are experiencing symptom fluctuations and are not responding satisfactorily to or are not appropriate candidates for other adjunctive therapies (see INDICATIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION sections).
- Because of the risk of liver injury and because tolcapone, when it is effective,provides an observable symptomatic benefit, the patient who fails to show substantial clinical benefit within 3 weeks of initiation of treatment,should be withdrawn from tolcapone.
- Tolcapone should not be initiated if the patient exhibits clinical evidence of liver disease or two SGPT/ALT or SGOT/AST values greater than the upper limit of normal.
- Patients with severe dyskinesia or dystonia should be treated with caution (see PRECAUTIONS: Rhabdomyolysis).
- Patients who develop evidence of hepatocellular injury during therapy and are withdrawn from the drug for any reason may be at increased risk for liver injury if tolcapone is reintroduced. Accordingly, such patients should not ordinarily be considered for retreatment.
Fatal Cases of Hepatotoxicity
- Cases of severe hepatocellular injury, including fulminant liver failure resulting in death, have been reported in postmarketing use.
- As of May 2005, 3 cases of fatal fulminant hepatic failure have been reported from more than 40,000 patient years of worldwide use. This incidence may be 10- to 100-fold higher than the background incidence in the general population.
- Under reporting of cases may lead to significant underestimation of the increased risk associated with the use of tolcapone. All 3 cases were reported within the first six months of initiation of treatment with tolcapone.
- Analysis of the laboratory monitoring data in over 3,400 tolcapone treated patients participating in clinical trials indicated that increases in SGPT/ALT or SGOT/AST, when present, generally occurred within the first 6 months of treatment with tolcapone.
- Patients should be advised of the need for self-monitoring for both the classical signs of liver disease (e.g. clay colored stools, jaundice) and the nonspecific ones (e.g. fatigue, loss of appetite, lethargy).
MONITORING RECOMMENDATIONS RELATED TO BLACK BOX DATA
- A prescriber who elects to use tolcapone in face of the increased risk of liver injury is strongly advised to monitor patients for evidence of emergent liver injury.
- Although a program of periodic laboratory monitoring for evidence of hepatocellular injury is recommended, it is not clear that periodic monitoring of liver enzymes will prevent the occurrence of fulminant liver failure. However, it is generally believed that early detection of drug-induced hepatic injury along with immediate withdrawal of the suspect drug enhances the likelihood for recovery. Accordingly, the following liver monitoring program is recommended.
- Before starting treatment with tolcapone,the physician should conduct appropriate tests to exclude the presence of liver disease.
- In patients determined to be appropriate candidates for treatment with tolcapone, serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (SGPT/ALT) and serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase(SGOT/AST) levels should be determined at baseline and periodically (i.e. every 2 to 4 weeks) for the first 6 months of therapy.
- After the first six months, periodic monitoring is recommended at intervals deemed clinically relevant. Although more frequent monitoring increases the chances of early detection, the precise schedule for monitoring is a matter of clinical judgement.If the dose is increased to 200 mg tid (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION section), liver enzyme monitoring should take place before increasing the dose and then be conducted every 2 to 4 weeks for the following 6 months of therapy.
- After six months, periodic monitoring is recommended at intervals deemed clinically relevant.
- Tolcapone should be discontinued if SGPT/ALT or SGOT/AST levels exceed 2 times the upper limit of normal or if clinical signs and symptoms suggest the onset of hepatic dysfunction(persistent nausea, fatigue, lethargy, anorexia, jaundice, dark urine, pruritus, and right upper quadrant tenderness).
Patient Counseling Information
Updated January 2018