Medically reviewed by Fedorchenko Olga Valeryevna, PharmD. Last updated on 2020-03-15
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Starcad (amlodipine and atorvastatin) is indicated in patients for whom treatment with both amlodipine and atorvastatin is appropriate.
Amlodipine is indicated for the treatment of hypertension, to lower blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure reduces the risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events, primarily strokes and myocardial infarctions. These benefits have been seen in controlled trials of antihypertensive drugs from a wide variety of pharmacologic classes including amlodipine.
Control of high blood pressure should be part of comprehensive cardiovascular risk management, including, as appropriate, lipid control, diabetes management, antithrombotic therapy, smoking cessation, exercise, and limited sodium intake. Many patients will require more than one drug to achieve blood pressure goals. For specific advice on goals and management, see published guidelines, such as those of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program’s Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC).
Numerous antihypertensive drugs, from a variety of pharmacologic classes and with different mechanisms of action, have been shown in randomized controlled trials to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and it can be concluded that it is blood pressure reduction, and not some other pharmacologic property of the drugs, that is largely responsible for those benefits. The largest and most consistent cardiovascular outcome benefit has been a reduction in the risk of stroke, but reductions in myocardial infarction and cardiovascular mortality also have been seen regularly.
Elevated systolic or diastolic pressure causes increased cardiovascular risk, and the absolute risk increase per mmHg is greater at higher blood pressures, so that even modest reductions of severe hypertension can provide substantial benefit. Relative risk reduction from blood pressure reduction is similar across populations with varying absolute risk, so the absolute benefit is greater in patients who are at higher risk independent of their hypertension (for example, patients with diabetes or hyperlipidemia), and such patients would be expected to benefit from more aggressive treatment to a lower blood pressure goal.
Some antihypertensive drugs have smaller blood pressure effects (as monotherapy) in black patients, and many antihypertensive drugs have additional approved indications and effects (e.g., on angina, heart failure, or diabetic kidney disease). These considerations may guide selection of therapy.
Amlodipine may be used alone or in combination with other antihypertensive agents.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Chronic Stable Angina
Amlodipine is indicated for the symptomatic treatment of chronic stable angina. Amlodipine may be used alone or in combination with other antianginal agents.
Vasospastic Angina (Prinzmetal’s Or Variant Angina)
Amlodipine is indicated for the treatment of confirmed or suspected vasospastic angina. Amlodipine may be used as monotherapy or in combination with other antianginal agents.
Angiographically Documented CAD
In patients with recently documented CAD by angiography and without heart failure or an ejection fraction < 40%, amlodipine is indicated to reduce the risk of hospitalization for angina and to reduce the risk of a coronary revascularization procedure.
Therapy with HMG CoA-reductase inhibitors (lipid-altering agents) should be only one component of multiple risk factor intervention in individuals at significantly increased risk for atherosclerotic vascular disease from hypercholesterolemia. Drug therapy is recommended as an adjunct to diet when the response to a diet restricted in saturated fat and cholesterol and other nonpharmacologic measures alone has been inadequate. In patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) or multiple risk factors for CHD, atorvastatin can be started simultaneously with diet restriction.
Prevention Of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
In adult patients without clinically evident coronary heart disease, but with multiple risk factors for coronary heart disease such as age, smoking, hypertension, low HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), or a family history of early coronary heart disease, atorvastatin is indicated to:
- Reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (MI)
- Reduce the risk of stroke
- Reduce the risk for revascularization procedures and angina
In patients with type 2 diabetes, and without clinically evident coronary heart disease, but with multiple risk factors for coronary heart disease such as retinopathy, albuminuria, smoking, or hypertension, atorvastatin is indicated to:
- Reduce the risk of myocardial infarction
- Reduce the risk of stroke
In patients with clinically evident coronary heart disease, atorvastatin is indicated to:
- Reduce the risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction
- Reduce the risk of fatal and non-fatal stroke
- Reduce the risk for revascularization procedures
- Reduce the risk of hospitalization for congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Reduce the risk of angina
Atorvastatin is indicated:
- As an adjunct to diet to reduce elevated total cholesterol (total-C) , LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B (apo B), and triglycerides (TG) levels and to increase HDL-C in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia (heterozygous familial and nonfamilial) and mixed dyslipidemia (Fredrickson Types IIa and IIb)
- As an adjunct to diet for the treatment of patients with elevated serum TG levels (Fredrickson Type IV);
- For the treatment of patients with primary dysbetalipoproteinemia (Fredrickson Type III) who do not respond adequately to diet
- To reduce total-C and LDL-C in patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia as an adjunct to other lipid-lowering treatments (e.g., LDL apheresis) or if such treatments are unavailable
- As an adjunct to diet to reduce total-C, LDL-C, and apo B levels in boys and postmenarchal girls, 10 to 17 years of age, with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia if after an adequate trial of diet therapy the following findings are present:
- LDL-C remains ≥ 190 mg/dL or
- LDL-C remains ≥ 160 mg/dL and:
- there is a positive family history of premature CVD or
- two or more other CVD risk factors are present in the pediatric patient
Limitations Of Use
Atorvastatin has not been studied in conditions where the major lipoprotein abnormality is elevation of chylomicrons (Fredrickson Types I and V).
Dosage of Starcad must be individualized on the basis of both effectiveness and tolerance for each individual component in the treatment of hypertension/angina and hyperlipidemia. Select doses of amlodipine and atorvastatin independently.
Starcad may be substituted for its individually titrated components. Patients may be given the equivalent dose of Starcad or a dose of Starcad with increased amounts of amlodipine, atorvastatin, or both for additional antianginal effects, blood pressure lowering, or lipid-lowering effect.
Starcad may be used to provide additional therapy for patients already on one of its components. Starcad may be used to initiate treatment in patients with hyperlipidemia and either hypertension or angina.
The usual initial antihypertensive oral dose of amlodipine is 5 mg once daily, and the maximum dose is 10 mg once daily.
Pediatric (age > 6 years), small adult, fragile, or elderly patients, or patients with hepatic insufficiency may be started on 2.5 mg once daily and this dose may be used when adding amlodipine to other antihypertensive therapy.
Adjust dosage according to blood pressure goals. In general, wait 7 to 14 days between titration steps. Titration may proceed more rapidly, however, if clinically warranted, provided the patient is assessed frequently.
The recommended dose of amlodipine for chronic stable or vasospastic angina is 5–10 mg, with the lower dose suggested in the elderly and in patients with hepatic insufficiency. Most patients will require 10 mg for adequate effect.
Coronary Artery Disease
The recommended dose range of amlodipine for patients with CAD is 5–10 mg once daily. In clinical studies, the majority of patients required 10 mg.
The effective antihypertensive oral dose of amlodipine in pediatric patients ages 6–17 years is 2.5 mg to 5 mg once daily. Doses in excess of 5 mg daily have not been studied in pediatric patients.
Hyperlipidemia (Heterozygous Familial And Nonfamilial) And Mixed Dyslipidemia (Fredrickson Types IIa And IIb)
The recommended starting dose of atorvastatin is 10 or 20 mg once daily. Patients who require a large reduction in LDL-C (more than 45%) may be started at 40 mg once daily. The dosage range of atorvastatin is 10 to 80 mg once daily. Atorvastatin can be administered as a single dose at any time of the day, with or without food. The starting dose and maintenance doses of atorvastatin should be individualized according to patient characteristics such as goal of therapy and response (see current NCEP Guidelines). After initiation and/or upon titration of atorvastatin, lipid levels should be analyzed within 2 to 4 weeks and dosage adjusted accordingly.
Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia
The dosage range of atorvastatin in patients with homozygous FH is 10 to 80 mg daily. Atorvastatin should be used as an adjunct to other lipid-lowering treatments (e.g., LDL apheresis) in these patients or if such treatments are unavailable.
Concomitant Lipid-Lowering Therapy
Atorvastatin may be used with bile acid resins. Monitor for signs of myopathy in patients receiving the combination of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) and fibrates.
Patients With Renal Impairment
Renal disease does not affect the plasma concentrations nor LDL-C reduction of atorvastatin; thus, dosage adjustment in patients with renal dysfunction is not necessary.
Use With Cyclosporine, Clarithromycin, Itraconazole, Or Certain Protease Inhibitors
In patients taking cyclosporine or the HIV protease inhibitors (tipranavir plus ritonavir) or the hepatitis C protease inhibitor (telaprevir), avoid therapy with atorvastatin. In patients with HIV taking lopinavir plus ritonavir, use the lowest necessary dose of atorvastatin. In patients taking clarithromycin, itraconazole, or in patients with HIV taking a combination of saquinavir plus ritonavir, darunavir plus ritonavir, fosamprenavir, or fosamprenavir plus ritonavir, limit therapy with atorvastatin to 20 mg, and make appropriate clinical assessment to ensure that the lowest dose necessary of atorvastatin is employed. In patients taking the HIV protease inhibitor nelfinavir or the hepatitis C protease inhibitor boceprevir, limit therapy with atorvastatin to 40 mg, and make appropriate clinical assessment to ensure that the lowest dose necessary of atorvastatin is employed.
Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia In Pediatric Patients (10–17 Years Of Age)
The recommended starting dose of atorvastatin is 10 mg/day; the maximum recommended dose is 20 mg/day (doses greater than 20 mg have not been studied in this patient population). Doses should be individualized according to the recommended goal of therapy. Adjustments should be made at intervals of 4 weeks or more.
Active Liver Disease
Atorvastatin is contraindicated in patients with active liver disease, which may include unexplained persistent elevations in hepatic transaminase levels.
Atorvastatin is contraindicated in women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Atorvastatin may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Serum cholesterol and triglycerides increase during normal pregnancy, and cholesterol or cholesterol derivatives are essential for fetal development. Atherosclerosis is a chronic process and discontinuation of lipidlowering drugs during pregnancy should have little impact on the outcome of long-term therapy of primary hypercholesterolemia.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of atorvastatin use during pregnancy; however, in rare reports congenital anomalies were observed following intrauterine exposure to statins. In rat and rabbit animal reproduction studies, atorvastatin revealed no evidence of teratogenicity. Starcad should be administered to women of childbearing age only when such patients are highly unlikely to conceive and have been informed of the potential hazard. If the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, therapy should be discontinued immediately and the patient apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.
It is not known whether atorvastatin or amlodipine are excreted into human milk; however, a small amount of another statin does pass into breast milk. Because statins have the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, women taking Starcad should not breastfeed their infants.
Included as part of the "PRECAUTIONS" Section
Myopathy And Rhabdomyolysis
Rare cases of rhabdomyolysis with acute renal failure secondary to myoglobinuria have been reported with atorvastatin and with other drugs in this class. A history of renal impairment may be a risk factor for the development of rhabdomyolysis. Such patients merit closer monitoring for skeletal muscle effects.
Atorvastatin, like other statins, occasionally causes myopathy, defined as muscle aches or muscle weakness in conjunction with increases in creatine phosphokinase (CPK) values > 10 times upper limit of normal [ULN]. The concomitant use of higher doses of atorvastatin with certain drugs such as cyclosporine and strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., clarithromycin, itraconazole, and HIV protease inhibitors) increases the risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis.
There have been rare reports of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM), an autoimmune myopathy, associated with statin use. IMNM is characterized by: proximal muscle weakness and elevated serum creatine kinase, which persist despite discontinuation of statin treatment; muscle biopsy showing necrotizing myopathy without significant inflammation; improvement with immunosuppressive agents.
Myopathy should be considered in any patient with diffuse myalgias, muscle tenderness or weakness, or marked elevation of CPK. Patients should be advised to report promptly unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever or if muscle signs and symptoms persist after discontinuing Starcad. Starcad therapy should be discontinued if markedly elevated CPK levels occur or myopathy is diagnosed or suspected.
The risk of myopathy during treatment with statins is increased with concurrent administration of cyclosporine, fibric acid derivatives, erythromycin, clarithromycin, the hepatitis C protease inhibitor telaprevir, combinations of HIV protease inhibitors, including saquinavir plus ritonavir, lopinavir plus ritonavir, tipranavir plus ritonavir, darunavir plus ritonavir, fosamprenavir, and fosamprenavir plus ritonavir, niacin, or azole antifungals. Physicians considering combined therapy with Starcad and fibric acid derivatives, erythromycin, clarithromycin, a combination of saquinavir plus ritonavir, lopinavir plus ritonavir, darunavir plus ritonavir, fosamprenavir, or fosamprenavir plus ritonavir, azole antifungals, or lipid-modifying doses of niacin should carefully weigh the potential benefits and risks and should carefully monitor patients for any signs or symptoms of muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly during the initial months of therapy and during any periods of upward dosage titration of either drug. Lower starting and maintenance doses of atorvastatin should be considered when taken concomitantly with the aforementioned drugs. Periodic creatine phosphokinase (CPK) determinations may be considered in such situations, but there is no assurance that such monitoring will prevent the occurrence of severe myopathy.
Prescribing recommendations for interacting agents are summarized in Table 2.
Table 2. Atorvastatin Drug Interactions Associated with Increased Risk of Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis
|Cyclosporine, HIV protease inhibitors (tipranavir plus ritonavir), hepatitis C protease inhibitor (telaprevir)||Avoid atorvastatin|
|HIV protease inhibitor (lopinavir plus ritonavir)||Use with caution and lowest dose necessary|
|Clarithromycin, itraconazole, HIV protease inhibitors (saquinavir plus ritonavir*, darunavir plus ritonavir, fosamprenavir, fosamprenavir plus ritonavir)||Do not exceed 20 mg atorvastatin daily|
|HIV protease inhibitor |
Hepatitis C protease inhibitor
|Do not exceed 40 mg atorvastatin daily|
|* Use with caution and with the lowest dose necessary (12.3)|
Cases of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, have been reported with atorvastatin co-administered with colchicine, and caution should be exercised when prescribing atorvastatin with colchicine.
Withhold or discontinue in any patient with an acute, serious condition suggestive of a myopathy or having a risk factor predisposing to the development of renal failure secondary to rhabdomyolysis (e.g., severe acute infection; hypotension; major surgery; trauma; severe metabolic, endocrine, and electrolyte disorders; and uncontrolled seizures).
Statins, like atorvastatin, and some other lipid-lowering therapies, have been associated with biochemical abnormalities of liver function. Persistent elevations (> 3 times the upper limit of normal [ULN] occurring on 2 or more occasions) in serum transaminases occurred in 0.7% of patients who received atorvastatin in clinical trials. The incidence of these abnormalities was 0.2%, 0.2%, 0.6%, and 2.3% for 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg, respectively.
One patient in clinical trials with atorvastatin developed jaundice. Increases in liver function tests (LFT) in other patients were not associated with jaundice or other clinical signs or symptoms. Upon dose reduction, drug interruption, or discontinuation, transaminase levels returned to or near pretreatment levels without sequelae. Eighteen of 30 patients with persistent LFT elevations continued treatment with a reduced dose of atorvastatin.
It is recommended that liver enzyme tests be obtained prior to initiating therapy with atorvastatin and repeated as clinically indicated. There have been rare postmarketing reports of fatal and non-fatal hepatic failure in patients taking statins, including atorvastatin. If serious liver injury with clinical symptoms and/or hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice occurs during treatment with Starcad, promptly interrupt therapy. If an alternate etiology is not found, do not restart Starcad.
Active liver disease or unexplained persistent transaminase elevations are contraindications to the use of Starcad.
Increased Angina And Myocardial Infarction
Worsening angina and acute myocardial infarction can develop after starting or increasing the dose of amlodipine, particularly in patients with severe obstructive coronary artery disease.
Symptomatic hypotension is possible with use of amlodipine, particularly in patients with severe aortic stenosis. Because of the gradual onset of action, acute hypotension is unlikely.
Increases in HbA1c and fasting serum glucose levels have been reported with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, including atorvastatin.
Statins interfere with cholesterol synthesis and theoretically might blunt adrenal and/or gonadal steroid production. Clinical studies have shown that atorvastatin does not reduce basal plasma cortisol concentration or impair adrenal reserve. The effects of statins on male fertility have not been studied in adequate numbers of patients. The effects, if any, on the pituitary-gonadal axis in premenopausal women are unknown. Avoid a statin with drugs that may decrease the levels or activity of endogenous steroid hormones such as ketoconazole, spironolactone, and cimetidine.
Brain hemorrhage was seen in a female dog treated with atorvastatin for 3 months at 120 mg/kg/day. Brain hemorrhage and optic nerve vacuolation were seen in another female dog that was sacrificed in moribund condition after 11 weeks of escalating doses up to 280 mg/kg/day. The 120 mg/kg dose resulted in a systemic exposure approximately 16 times the human plasma area-under-thecurve (AUC, 0-24 hours) based on the maximum human dose of 80 mg/day. A single tonic convulsion was seen in each of 2 male dogs (one treated at 10 mg/kg/day and one at 120 mg/kg/day) in a 2-year study. No CNS lesions have been observed in mice after chronic treatment for up to 2 years at doses up to 400 mg/kg/day or in rats at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day. These doses were 6 to 11 times (mouse) and 8 to 16 times (rat) the human AUC (0-24) based on the maximum recommended human dose of 80 mg/day.
CNS vascular lesions, characterized by perivascular hemorrhages, edema, and mononuclear cell infiltration of perivascular spaces, have been observed in dogs treated with other statins. A chemically similar drug in this class produced optic nerve degeneration (Wallerian degeneration of retinogeniculate fibers) in clinically normal dogs in a dose-dependent fashion at a dose that produced plasma drug levels about 30 times higher than the mean drug level in humans taking the highest recommended dose.
In a post-hoc analysis of the Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL) study where atorvastatin 80 mg vs. placebo was administered in 4,731 subjects without CHD who had a stroke or TIA within the preceding 6 months, a higher incidence of hemorrhagic stroke was seen in the atorvastatin 80 mg group compared to placebo (55, 2.3% atorvastatin vs. 33, 1.4% placebo; HR: 1.68, 95% CI: 1.09, 2.59; p=0.0168). The incidence of fatal hemorrhagic stroke was similar across treatment groups (17 vs. 18 for the atorvastatin and placebo groups, respectively). The incidence of non-fatal hemorrhagic stroke was significantly higher in the atorvastatin group (38, 1.6%) as compared to the placebo group (16, 0.7%). Some baseline characteristics, including hemorrhagic and lacunar stroke on study entry, were associated with a higher incidence of hemorrhagic stroke in the atorvastatin group.
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (PATIENT INFORMATION).
Information For Patients
Because of the risk of myopathy with statins, the drug class to which atorvastatin belongs, advise patients to report unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever.
Advise patients taking atorvastatin that cholesterol is a chronic condition and they should adhere to their medication along with their National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)-recommended diet, a regular exercise program as appropriate, and periodic testing of a fasting lipid panel to determine goal attainment.
Advise patients about substances they should not take concomitantly with atorvastatin. Patients should inform other healthcare professionals prescribing a new medication that they are taking Starcad.
Advise patients starting therapy with Starcad of the risk of myopathy and to report promptly any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever or if these muscle signs or symptoms persist after discontinuing Starcad. The risk of this occurring is increased when taking certain types of medication or consuming larger quantities (> 1 liter) of grapefruit juice. They should discuss all medication, both prescription and over the counter, with their healthcare professional.
Advise patients treated with Starcad to report promptly any symptoms that may indicate liver injury, including fatigue, anorexia, right upper abdominal discomfort, dark urine, or jaundice.
Women of childbearing age should be advised to use an effective method of birth control to prevent pregnancy while using Starcad. Discuss future pregnancy plans with your patients, and discuss when to stop Starcad if they are trying to conceive. Patients should be advised that if they become pregnant, they should stop taking Starcad and call their healthcare professional.
Women who are breast-feeding should be advised to not use Starcad. Patients who have a lipid disorder and are breast-feeding should be advised to discuss the options with their healthcare professional.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Rats and mice treated with amlodipine maleate in the diet for up to two years, at concentrations calculated to provide daily dosage levels of 0.5, 1.25, and 2.5 mg amlodipine/kg/day, showed no evidence of a carcinogenic effect of the drug. For the mouse, the highest dose was, on a mg/m2 basis, similar to the maximum recommended human dose of 10 mg amlodipine/day.4 For the rat, the highest dose level was, on a mg/m2 basis, about twice the maximum recommended human dose. 4
Mutagenicity studies conducted with amlodipine maleate revealed no drug related effects at either the gene or chromosome levels.
There was no effect on the fertility of rats treated orally with amlodipine maleate (males for 64 days and females for 14 days prior to mating) at doses up to 10 mg amlodipine/kg/day (8 times the maximum recommended human dose 4 of 10 mg/day on a mg/m2 basis).
4 Based on patient weight of 50 kg.
In a 2-year carcinogenicity study with atorvastatin calcium in rats at dose levels equivalent to 10, 30, and 100 mg atorvastatin/kg/day, 2 rare tumors were found in muscle in high-dose females: in one, there was a rhabdomyosarcoma and, in another, there was a fibrosarcoma. This dose represents a plasma AUC (0-24) value of approximately 16 times the mean human plasma drug exposure after an 80 mg oral dose.
A 2-year carcinogenicity study in mice given atorvastatin calcium at dose levels equivalent to 100, 200, or 400 mg atorvastatin/kg/day resulted in a significant increase in liver adenomas in high-dose males and liver carcinomas in high-dose females. These findings occurred at plasma AUC (0–24) values of approximately 6 times the mean human plasma drug exposure after an 80 mg oral dose.
In vitro, atorvastatin was not mutagenic or clastogenic in the following tests with and without metabolic activation: the Ames test with Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli, the HGPRT forward mutation assay in Chinese hamster lung cells, and the chromosomal aberration assay in Chinese hamster lung cells. Atorvastatin was negative in the in vivo mouse micronucleus test.
There were no effects on fertility when rats were given atorvastatin calcium at doses equivalent to up to 175 mg atorvastatin/kg/day (15 times the human exposure). There was aplasia and aspermia in the epididymides of 2 of 10 rats treated with atorvastatin calcium at a dose equivalent to 100 mg atorvastatin/kg/day for 3 months (16 times the human AUC at the 80 mg dose); testis weights were significantly lower at 30 and 100 mg/kg/day and epididymal weight was lower at 100 mg/kg/day. Male rats given the equivalent of 100 mg atorvastatin/kg/day for 11 weeks prior to mating had decreased sperm motility, spermatid head concentration, and increased abnormal sperm. Atorvastatin caused no adverse effects on semen parameters, or reproductive organ histopathology in dogs given doses of atorvastatin calcium equivalent to 10, 40, or 120 mg atorvastatin/kg/day for two years.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category X
Atorvastatin is contraindicated in women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Atorvastatin may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Starcad should be administered to women of child bearing potential only when such patients are highly unlikely to conceive and have been informed of the potential hazards. If the woman becomes pregnant while taking Starcad, it should be discontinued immediately and the patient advised again as to the potential hazards to the fetus, and the lack of known clinical benefit with continued use during pregnancy.
Serum cholesterol and triglycerides increase during normal pregnancy, and cholesterol products are essential for fetal development. Atherosclerosis is a chronic process, and discontinuation of lipid-lowering drugs during pregnancy should have little impact on long-term outcomes of primary hypercholesterolemia therapy.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Amlodipine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the risk to the fetus.
No evidence of teratogenicity or other embryo/fetal toxicity was found when pregnant rats and rabbits were treated orally with amlodipine maleate at doses up to 10 mg amlodipine/kg/day (respectively, 8 times 3 and 23 times 3 the maximum recommended human dose of 10 mg on a mg/m2 basis) during their respective periods of major organogenesis. However, litter size was significantly decreased (by about 50%) and the number of intrauterine deaths was significantly increased (about 5-fold) in rats receiving amlodipine maleate at a dose equivalent to 10 mg amlodipine/kg/day for 14 days before mating and throughout mating and gestation. Amlodipine maleate has been shown to prolong both the gestation period and the duration of labor in rats at this dose.
3 Based on patient weight of 50 kg.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of atorvastatin use during pregnancy. There have been rare reports of congenital anomalies following intrauterine exposure to statins. In a review of about 100 prospectively followed pregnancies in women exposed to other statins, the incidences of congenital anomalies, spontaneous abortions, and fetal deaths/stillbirths did not exceed the rate expected in the general population. However, this study was only able to exclude a three to four-fold increased risk of congenital anomalies over background incidence. In 89% of these cases, drug treatment started before pregnancy and stopped during the first trimester when pregnancy was identified.
Atorvastatin crosses the rat placenta and reaches a level in fetal liver equivalent to that of maternal plasma. Atorvastatin was not teratogenic in rats at doses up to 300 mg/kg/day or in rabbits at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day. These doses resulted in multiples of about 30 times (rat) or 20 times (rabbit) the human exposure based on surface area (mg/m2).
In a study in rats given atorvastatin calcium at doses equivalent to 20, 100, or 225 mg/kg/day, from gestation day 7 through to lactation day 21 (weaning), there was decreased pup survival at birth, neonate, weaning, and maturity in pups of mothers dosed with 225 mg/kg/day. Body weight was decreased on days 4 and 21 in pups of mothers dosed at 100 mg/kg/day; pup body weight was decreased at birth and at days 4, 21, and 91 at 225 mg/kg/day. Pup development was delayed (rotorod performance at 100 mg/kg/day and acoustic startle at 225 mg/kg/day; pinnae detachment and eye-opening at 225 mg/kg/day). These doses of atorvastatin correspond to 6 times (100 mg/kg) and 22 times (225 mg/kg) the human AUC at 80 mg/day.
Labor And Delivery
No studies have been conducted in pregnant women on the effect of Starcad, amlodipine, or atorvastatin on the mother or the fetus during labor or delivery, or on the duration of labor or delivery. Amlodipine has been shown to prolong the duration of labor in rats.
It is not known whether amlodipine is excreted in human milk. In the absence of this information, it is recommended that nursing be discontinued while Starcad is administered.
It is not known whether atorvastatin is excreted in human milk, but a small amount of another drug in this class does pass into breast milk. Nursing rat pups had plasma and liver drug levels of 50% and 40%, respectively, of that in their mother’s milk. Animal breast milk drug levels may not accurately reflect human breast milk levels. Because another drug in this class passes into human milk and because statins have a potential to cause serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, women taking Starcad should be advised not to nurse their infants.
The safety and effectiveness of Starcad have not been established in pediatric populations.
Amlodipine (2.5 to 5 mg daily) is effective in lowering blood pressure in patients 6 to 17 years. The effect of amlodipine on blood pressure in patients less than 6 years of age is not known.
Safety and effectiveness in patients 10-17 years of age with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia have been evaluated in a controlled clinical trial of 6 months’ duration in adolescent boys and postmenarchal girls. Patients treated with atorvastatin had an adverse experience profile generally similar to that of patients treated with placebo. The most common adverse experiences observed in both groups, regardless of causality assessment, were infections. Doses greater than 20 mg have not been studied in this patient population. In this limited controlled study, there was no significant effect on growth or sexual maturation in boys or on menstrual cycle length in girls. Adolescent females should be counseled on appropriate contraceptive methods while on atorvastatin therapy. Atorvastatin has not been studied in controlled clinical trials involving pre-pubertal patients or patients younger than 10 years of age.
Clinical efficacy with doses of atorvastatin up to 80 mg/day for 1 year have been evaluated in an uncontrolled study of patients with homozygous FH including 8 pediatric patients.
Safety and effectiveness of Starcad have not been established in geriatric populations.
Clinical studies of amlodipine 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. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy. Elderly patients have decreased clearance of amlodipine with a resulting increase of AUC of approximately 40–60%, and a lower initial dose may be required.
Of the 39,828 patients who received atorvastatin in clinical studies, 15,813 (40%) were ≥ 65 years old and 2,800 (7%) were ≥ 75 years old. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older adults cannot be ruled out. Advanced age (≥ 65 years) is a predisposing factor for myopathy.
Starcad is contraindicated in patients with active liver disease which may include unexplained persistent elevations in hepatic transaminase levels.
The following serious adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the label:
Rhabdomyolysis and myopathy
Liver enzyme abnormalities
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
Starcad (amlodipine besylate/atorvastatin calcium) has been evaluated for safety in 1,092 patients in double-blind placebocontrolled studies treated for co-morbid hypertension and dyslipidemia. In general, treatment with Starcad was well tolerated. For the most part, adverse reactions have been mild or moderate in severity. In clinical trials with Starcad, no adverse reactions peculiar to this combination have been observed. Adverse reactions are similar in terms of nature, severity, and frequency to those reported previously with amlodipine and atorvastatin.
The following information is based on the clinical experience with amlodipine and atorvastatin.
Amlodipine has been evaluated for safety in more than 11,000 patients in U.S. and foreign clinical trials. In general, treatment with amlodipine was well tolerated at doses up to 10 mg daily. Most adverse reactions reported during therapy with amlodipine were of mild or moderate severity. In controlled clinical trials directly comparing amlodipine (N=1,730) at doses up to 10 mg to placebo (N=1,250), discontinuation of amlodipine because of adverse reactions was required in only about 1.5% of patients and was not significantly different from placebo (about 1%). The most commonly reported side effects more frequent than placebo are dizziness and edema. The incidence (%) of side effects that occurred in a dose-related manner are as follows:
|2.5 mg||5 mg||10 mg||Placebo|
Other adverse reactions that were not clearly dose related but were reported at an incidence greater than 1.0% in placebo-controlled clinical trials include the following:
|Amlodipine (%)||Placebo (%)|
Edema, flushing, palpitations, and somnolence appear to be more common in women than in men.
The following events occurred in < 1% but > 0.1% of patients treated with amlodipine in controlled clinical trials or under conditions of open trials or marketing experience where a causal relationship is uncertain; they are listed to alert the physician to a possible relationship:
Cardiovascular: arrhythmia (including ventricular tachycardia and atrial fibrillation), bradycardia, chest pain, peripheral ischemia, syncope, tachycardia, vasculitis.
Central and Peripheral Nervous System: hypoesthesia, neuropathy peripheral, paresthesia, tremor, vertigo.
Gastrointestinal: anorexia, constipation, dysphagia, diarrhea, flatulence, pancreatitis, vomiting, gingival hyperplasia.
General: allergic reaction, asthenia,2 back pain, hot flushes, malaise, pain, rigors, weight gain, weight decrease.
Musculoskeletal System: arthralgia, arthrosis, muscle cramps,2 myalgia.
Psychiatric: sexual dysfunction (male2 and female), insomnia, nervousness, depression, abnormal dreams, anxiety, depersonalization.
Respiratory System: dyspnea,2 epistaxis.
Skin and Appendages: angioedema, erythema multiforme, pruritus,2 rash,2 rash erythematous, rash maculopapular.
Special Senses: abnormal vision, conjunctivitis, diplopia, eye pain, tinnitus.
Urinary System: micturition frequency, micturition disorder, nocturia.
Autonomic Nervous System: dry mouth, sweating increased.
Metabolic and Nutritional: hyperglycemia, thirst.
Hemopoietic: leukopenia, purpura, thrombocytopenia.
2 These events occurred in less than 1% in placebo-controlled trials, but the incidence of these side effects was between 1% and 2% in all multiple dose studies.
Amlodipine therapy has not been associated with clinically significant changes in routine laboratory tests. No clinically relevant changes were noted in serum potassium, serum glucose, total triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, uric acid, blood urea nitrogen, or creatinine.
In the atorvastatin placebo-controlled clinical trial database of 16,066 patients (8,755 atorvastatin vs. 7,311 placebo; age range 10– 93 years, 39% women, 91% Caucasians, 3% Blacks, 2% Asians, 4% other) with a median treatment duration of 53 weeks, 9.7% of patients on atorvastatin and 9.5% of the patients on placebo discontinued because of adverse reactions regardless of causality. The five most common adverse reactions in patients treated with atorvastatin that led to treatment discontinuation and occurred at a rate greater than placebo were: myalgia (0.7%), diarrhea (0.5%), nausea (0.4%), alanine aminotransferase increase (0.4%), and hepatic enzyme increase (0.4%).
The most commonly reported adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 2% and greater than placebo) regardless of causality, in patients treated with atorvastatin in placebo-controlled trials (n=8,755) were: nasopharyngitis (8.3%), arthralgia (6.9%), diarrhea (6.8%), pain in extremity (6.0%), and urinary tract infection (5.7%).
Table 3 summarizes the frequency of clinical adverse reactions, regardless of causality, reported in ≥ 2% and at a rate greater than placebo in patients treated with atorvastatin (n=8,755), from seventeen placebo-controlled trials.
Table 3. Clinical Adverse Reactions Occurring in ≥ 2% in Patients Treated with Any Dose of Atorvastatin and at an Incidence Greater than Placebo Regardless of Causality (% of Patients)
|Adverse Reaction*||Any dose |
|10 mg |
|20 mg |
|40 mg |
|80 mg |
|Pain in extremity||6.0||8.5||3.7||9.3||3.1||5.9|
|Urinary tract infection||5.7||6.9||6.4||8.0||4.1||5.6|
|* Adverse Reaction ≥ 2% in any dose greater than placebo.|
Other adverse reactions reported in placebo-controlled studies include:
Body as a whole: malaise, pyrexia; Digestive system: abdominal discomfort, eructation, flatulence, hepatitis, cholestasis; Musculoskeletal system: musculoskeletal pain, muscle fatigue, neck pain, joint swelling; Metabolic and nutritional system: transaminases increase, liver function test abnormal, blood alkaline phosphatase increase, creatine phosphokinase increase, hyperglycemia; Nervous system: nightmare; Respiratory system: epistaxis; Skin and appendages: urticaria; Special senses: vision blurred, tinnitus; Urogenital system: white blood cells urine positive.
Treating to New Targets Study (TNT)
In TNT involving 10,001 subjects (age range 29–78 years, 19% women; 94.1% Caucasians, 2.9% Blacks, 1.0% Asians, 2.0% other) with clinically evident CHD treated with atorvastatin 10 mg daily (n=5,006) or atorvastatin 80 mg daily (n=4,995), serious adverse reactions and discontinuations because of adverse reactions increased with dose. Persistent transaminase elevations (≥ 3 x ULN twice within 4–10 days) occurred in 62 (1.3%) individuals with atorvastatin 80 mg and in nine (0.2%) individuals with atorvastatin 10 mg. Elevations of CK (≥ 10 x ULN) were low overall, but were higher in the high-dose atorvastatin treatment group (13, 0.3%) compared to the low-dose atorvastatin group (6, 0.1%).
Stroke Prevention by Aggressive Reduction in Cholesterol Levels (SPARCL)
In SPARCL involving 4,731 subjects (age range 21–92 years, 40% women; 93.3% Caucasians, 3.0% Blacks, 0.6% Asians, 3.1% other) without clinically evident CHD but with a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) within the previous 6 months treated with atorvastatin 80 mg (n=2,365) or placebo (n=2,366) for a median follow-up of 4.9 years, there was a higher incidence of persistent hepatic transaminase elevations (≥ 3 x ULN twice within 4–10 days) in the atorvastatin group (0.9%) compared to placebo (0.1%). Elevations of CK (>10 x ULN) were rare, but were higher in the atorvastatin group (0.1%) compared to placebo (0.0%). Diabetes was reported as an adverse reaction in 144 subjects (6.1%) in the atorvastatin group and 89 subjects (3.8%) in the placebo group.
In a post-hoc analysis, atorvastatin 80 mg reduced the incidence of ischemic stroke (218/2365, 9.2% vs. 274/2366, 11.6%) and increased the incidence of hemorrhagic stroke (55/2365, 2.3% vs. 33/2366, 1.4%) compared to placebo. The incidence of fatal hemorrhagic stroke was similar between groups (17 atorvastatin vs. 18 placebo). The incidence of non-fatal hemorrhagic strokes was significantly greater in the atorvastatin group (38 non-fatal hemorrhagic strokes) as compared to the placebo group (16 nonfatal hemorrhagic strokes). Subjects who entered the study with a hemorrhagic stroke appeared to be at increased risk for hemorrhagic stroke [7 (16%) atorvastatin vs. 2 (4%) placebo].
There were no significant differences between the treatment groups for all-cause mortality: 216 (9.1%) in the atorvastatin 80 mg/day group vs. 211 (8.9%) in the placebo group. The proportions of subjects who experienced cardiovascular death were numerically smaller in the atorvastatin 80 mg group (3.3%) than in the placebo group (4.1%). The proportions of subjects who experienced non-cardiovascular death were numerically larger in the atorvastatin 80 mg group (5.0%) than in the placebo group (4.0%).
In a 26-week controlled study in boys and postmenarchal girls (n=140, 31% female; 92% Caucasians, 1.6% Blacks, 1.6% Asians, 4.8% other), the safety and tolerability profile of atorvastatin 10 to 20 mg daily was generally similar to that of placebo.
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval of amlodipine and atorvastatin. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
The following postmarketing event has been reported infrequently where a causal relationship is uncertain: gynecomastia. In postmarketing experience, jaundice and hepatic enzyme elevations (mostly consistent with cholestasis or hepatitis), in some cases severe enough to require hospitalization, have been reported in association with use of amlodipine.
Postmarketing reporting has also revealed a possible association between extrapyramidal disorder and amlodipine.
Amlodipine has been used safely in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, well-compensated congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and abnormal lipid profiles.
Adverse reactions associated with atorvastatin therapy reported since market introduction that are not listed above, regardless of causality assessment, include the following: anaphylaxis, angioneurotic edema, bullous rashes (including erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis), rhabdomyolysis, myositis, fatigue, tendon rupture, fatal and non-fatal hepatic failure, dizziness, depression, peripheral neuropathy, and pancreatitis and interstitial lung disease.
There have been rare reports of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy associated with statin use.
There have been rare postmarketing reports of cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion) associated with statin use. These cognitive issues have been reported for all statins. The reports are generally nonserious, and reversible upon statin discontinuation, with variable times to symptom onset (1 day to years) and symptom resolution (median of 3 weeks).
There is no information on overdosage with Starcad in humans.
Overdosage might be expected to cause excessive peripheral vasodilation with marked hypotension and possibly a reflex tachycardia. In humans, experience with intentional overdosage of amlodipine is limited.
Single oral doses of amlodipine maleate equivalent to 40 mg amlodipine/kg and 100 mg amlodipine/kg in mice and rats, respectively, caused deaths. Single oral amlodipine maleate doses equivalent to 4 or more mg amlodipine/kg or higher in dogs (11 or more times the maximum recommended human dose on a mg/m2 basis) caused a marked peripheral vasodilation and hypotension.
If overdose should occur with amlodipine, initiate active cardiac and respiratory monitoring. Perform frequent blood pressure measurements. Should hypotension occur, provide cardiovascular support including elevation of the extremities and administration of fluids. If hypotension remains unresponsive to these conservative measures, consider administration of vasopressors (such as phenylephrine) with specific attention to circulating volume and urine output. As amlodipine is highly protein bound, hemodialysis is not likely to be of benefit.
There is no specific treatment for atorvastatin overdosage. In the event of an overdose, the patient should be treated symptomatically, and supportive measures instituted as required. Because of extensive drug binding to plasma proteins, hemodialysis is not expected to significantly enhance atorvastatin clearance.
Following administration of therapeutic doses to patients with hypertension, amlodipine produces vasodilation resulting in a reduction of supine and standing blood pressures. These decreases in blood pressure are not accompanied by a significant change in heart rate or plasma catecholamine levels with chronic dosing. Although the acute intravenous administration of amlodipine decreases arterial blood pressure and increases heart rate in hemodynamic studies of patients with chronic stable angina, chronic oral administration of amlodipine in clinical trials did not lead to clinically significant changes in heart rate or blood pressures in normotensive patients with angina.
With chronic once daily oral administration, antihypertensive effectiveness is maintained for at least 24 hours. Plasma concentrations correlate with effect in both young and elderly patients. The magnitude of reduction in blood pressure with amlodipine is also correlated with the height of pretreatment elevation; thus, individuals with moderate hypertension (diastolic pressure 105–114 mmHg) had about a 50% greater response than patients with mild hypertension (diastolic pressure 90– 104 mmHg). Normotensive subjects experienced no clinically significant change in blood pressures (+1/–2 mmHg).
In hypertensive patients with normal renal function, therapeutic doses of amlodipine resulted in a decrease in renal vascular resistance and an increase in glomerular filtration rate and effective renal plasma flow without change in filtration fraction or proteinuria.
As with other calcium channel blockers, hemodynamic measurements of cardiac function at rest and during exercise (or pacing) in patients with normal ventricular function treated with amlodipine have generally demonstrated a small increase in cardiac index without significant influence on dP/dt or on left ventricular end diastolic pressure or volume. In hemodynamic studies, amlodipine has not been associated with a negative inotropic effect when administered in the therapeutic dose range to intact animals and man, even when co-administered with beta-blockers to man. Similar findings, however, have been observed in normal or well-compensated patients with heart failure with agents possessing significant negative inotropic effects.
Amlodipine does not change sinoatrial nodal function or atrioventricular conduction in intact animals or man. In patients with chronic stable angina, intravenous administration of 10 mg did not significantly alter A-H and H-V conduction and sinus node recovery time after pacing. Similar results were obtained in patients receiving amlodipine and concomitant beta-blockers. In clinical studies in which amlodipine was administered in combination with beta-blockers to patients with either hypertension or angina, no adverse effects on electrocardiographic parameters were observed. In clinical trials with angina patients alone, amlodipine therapy did not alter electrocardiographic intervals or produce higher degrees of AV blocks.
Atorvastatin, as well as some of its metabolites, are pharmacologically active in humans. The liver is the primary site of action and the principal site of cholesterol synthesis and LDL clearance. Drug dosage, rather than systemic drug concentration, correlates better with LDL-C reduction. Individualization of drug dosage should be based on therapeutic response.
When amlodipine and sildenafil were used in combination, each agent independently exerted its own blood pressure lowering effect.
After oral administration of therapeutic doses of amlodipine alone, absorption produces peak plasma concentrations between 6 and 12 hours. Absolute bioavailability has been estimated to be between 64% and 90%.
After oral administration alone, atorvastatin is rapidly absorbed; maximum plasma concentrations occur within 1 to 2 hours. Extent of absorption increases in proportion to atorvastatin dose. The absolute bioavailability of atorvastatin (parent drug) is approximately 14% and the systemic availability of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitory activity is approximately 30%. The low systemic availability is attributed to presystemic clearance in gastrointestinal mucosa and/or hepatic first-pass metabolism. Plasma atorvastatin concentrations are lower (approximately 30% for Cmax and AUC) following evening drug administration compared with morning. However, LDL-C reduction is the same regardless of the time of day of drug administration.
Following oral administration of Starcad, peak plasma concentrations of amlodipine and atorvastatin are seen at 6 to 12 hours and 1 to 2 hours post dosing, respectively. The rate and extent of absorption (bioavailability) of amlodipine and atorvastatin from Starcad are not significantly different from the bioavailability of amlodipine and atorvastatin administered separately (see above).
The bioavailability of amlodipine from Starcad was not affected by food. Food decreases the rate and extent of absorption of atorvastatin from Starcad by approximately 32% and 11%, respectively, as it does with atorvastatin when given alone. LDL-C reduction is similar whether atorvastatin is given with or without food.
Ex vivo studies have shown that approximately 93% of the circulating amlodipine drug is bound to plasma proteins in hypertensive patients. Steady-state plasma levels of amlodipine are reached after 7 to 8 days of consecutive daily dosing.
Mean volume of distribution of atorvastatin is approximately 381 liters. Atorvastatin is ≥98% bound to plasma proteins. A blood/plasma ratio of approximately 0.25 indicates poor drug penetration into red blood cells. Based on observations in rats, atorvastatin calcium is likely to be secreted in human milk.
Amlodipine is extensively (about 90%) converted to inactive metabolites via hepatic metabolism.
Atorvastatin is extensively metabolized to ortho- and parahydroxylated derivatives and various beta-oxidation products. In vitro inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase by ortho- and parahydroxylated metabolites is equivalent to that of atorvastatin. Approximately 70% of circulating inhibitory activity for HMG-CoA reductase is attributed to active metabolites.
In vitro studies suggest the importance of atorvastatin metabolism by cytochrome P4503A4, consistent with increased plasma concentrations of atorvastatin in humans following co-administration with erythromycin, a known inhibitor of this isozyme. In animals, the ortho-hydroxy metabolite undergoes further glucuronidation.
Elimination from the plasma is biphasic with a terminal elimination half-life of about 30-50 hours. Ten percent of the parent amlodipine compound and 60% of the metabolites of amlodipine are excreted in the urine.
Atorvastatin and its metabolites are eliminated primarily in bile following hepatic and/or extra-hepatic metabolism; however, the drug does not appear to undergo enterohepatic recirculation. Mean plasma elimination half-life of atorvastatin in humans is approximately 14 hours, but the half-life of inhibitory activity for HMG-CoA reductase is 20 to 30 hours because of the contribution of active metabolites. Less than 2% of a dose of atorvastatin is recovered in urine following oral administration.