Medically reviewed by Fedorchenko Olga Valeryevna, PharmD. Last updated on 2020-03-16
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Zarcio is indicated for the reduction in the duration of neutropenia and the incidence of febrile neutropenia in patients treated with established cytotoxic chemotherapy for malignancy (with the exception of chronic myeloid leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndromes) and for the reduction in the duration of neutropenia in patients undergoing myeloablative therapy followed by bone marrow transplantation considered to be at increased risk of prolonged severe neutropenia.
The safety and efficacy of Zarcio are similar in adults and children receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy.
Zarcio is indicated for the mobilisation of peripheral blood progenitor cells (PBPCs).
In patients, children or adults, with severe congenital, cyclic, or idiopathic neutropenia with an ANC of â‰¤ 0.5 x 109/l, and a history of severe or recurrent infections, long term administration of Zarcio is indicated to increase neutrophil counts and to reduce the incidence and duration of infection-related events.
Zarcio is indicated for the treatment of persistent neutropenia (ANC less than or equal to 1.0 x 109/l) in patients with advanced HIV infection, in order to reduce the risk of bacterial infections when other options to manage neutropenia are inappropriate.
Zarcio therapy should only be given in collaboration with an oncology centre which has experience in G-CSF treatment and haematology and has the necessary diagnostic facilities. The mobilisation and apheresis procedures should be performed in collaboration with an oncology-haematology centre with acceptable experience in this field and where the monitoring of haematopoietic progenitor cells can be correctly performed.
Established cytotoxic chemotherapy
The recommended dose of Zarcio is 0.5 MU (5 Î¼g)/kg/day. The first dose of Zarcio should be administered at least 24 hours after cytotoxic chemotherapy. In randomised clinical trials, a subcutaneous dose of 230 Î¼g/m2/day (4.0 to 8.4 Î¼g/kg/day) was used.
Daily dosing with Zarcio should continue until the expected neutrophil nadir is passed and the neutrophil count has recovered to the normal range. Following established chemotherapy for solid tumours, lymphomas, and lymphoid leukaemia, it is expected that the duration of treatment required to fulfil these criteria will be up to 14 days. Following induction and consolidation treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia the duration of treatment may be substantially longer (up to 38 days) depending on the type, dose and schedule of cytotoxic chemotherapy used.
In patients receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy, a transient increase in neutrophil counts is typically seen 1 to 2 days after initiation of Zarcio therapy. However, for a sustained therapeutic response, Zarcio therapy should not be discontinued before the expected nadir has passed and the neutrophil count has recovered to the normal range. Premature discontinuation of Zarcio therapy, prior to the time of the expected neutrophil nadir, is not recommended.
Method of administration
Zarcio may be given as a daily subcutaneous injection or as a daily intravenous infusion diluted in 5% glucose solution given over 30 minutes . The subcutaneous route is preferred in most cases. There is some evidence from a study of single dose administration that intravenous dosing may shorten the duration of effect. The clinical relevance of this finding to multiple dose administration is not clear. The choice of route should depend on the individual clinical circumstance.
In patients treated with myeloablative therapy followed by bone marrow transplantation
The recommended starting dose of Zarcio is 1.0 MU (10 Î¼g)/kg/day. The first dose of Zarcio should be administered at least 24 hours following cytotoxic chemotherapy and at least 24 hours after bone marrow infusion.
Once the neutrophil nadir has been passed, the daily dose of Zarcio should be titrated against the neutrophil response as follows:
Zarcio Dose Adjustment
> 1.0 x 109/l for 3 consecutive days
Reduce to 0.5 MU (5 Î¼g)/kg/day
Then, if ANC remains > 1.0 x 109/l for 3 more consecutive days
If the ANC decreases to < 1.0 x 109/l during the treatment period the dose of Zarcio should be re-escalated according to the above steps
ANC = absolute neutrophil count
Method of administration
Zarcio may be given as a 30 minute or 24 hour intravenous infusion or given by continuous 24 hour subcutaneous infusion. Zarcio should be diluted in 20 ml of 5% glucose solution.
For the mobilisation of PBPCs in patients undergoing myelosuppressive or myeloablative therapy followed by autologous PBPC transplantation
The recommended dose of Zarcio for PBPC mobilisation when used alone is 1.0 MU (10 Î¼g)/kg/day for 5 to 7 consecutive days. Timing of leukapheresis: one or two leukapheresis on days 5 and 6 are often sufficient. In other circumstances, additional leukapheresis may be necessary. Zarcio dosing should be maintained until the last leukapheresis.
The recommended dose of Zarcio for PBPC mobilisation after myelosuppressive chemotherapy is 0.5 MU (5 Î¼g)/kg/day from the first day after completion of chemotherapy until the expected neutrophil nadir is passed and the neutrophil count has recovered to the normal range. Leukapheresis should be performed during the period when the ANC rises from < 0.5 x 109/l to > 5.0 x 109/l. For patients who have not had extensive chemotherapy, one leukapheresis is often sufficient. In other circumstances, additional leukapheresis are recommended.
Method of administration
Zarcio for PBPC mobilisation when used alone:
Zarcio may be given as a 24 hour subcutaneous continuous infusion or subcutaneous injection. For infusions Zarcio should be diluted in 20 ml of 5% glucose solution.
Zarcio for PBPC mobilisation after myelosuppressive chemotherapy:
Zarcio should be given by subcutaneous injection.
For the mobilisation of PBPCs in normal donors prior to allogeneic PBPC transplantation
For PBPC mobilisation in normal donors, Zarcio should be administered at 1.0 MU (10 Î¼g)/kg/day for 4 to 5 consecutive days. Leukapheresis should be started at day 5 and continued until day 6 if needed in order to collect 4 x 106 CD34+ cells/kg recipient bodyweight.
Method of administration
Zarcio should be given by subcutaneous injection.
In patients with severe chronic neutropenia (SCN)
Congenital neutropenia: the recommended starting dose is 1.2 MU (12 Î¼g)/kg/day, as a single dose or in divided doses.
Idiopathic or cyclic neutropenia: the recommended starting dose is 0.5 MU (5 Î¼g)/kg/day as a single dose or in divided doses.
Dose adjustment: Zarcio should be administered daily by subcutaneous injection until the neutrophil count has reached and can be maintained at more than 1.5 x 109/l. When the response has been obtained the minimal effective dose to maintain this level should be established. Long term daily administration is required to maintain an adequate neutrophil count. After one to two weeks of therapy, the initial dose may be doubled or halved depending upon the patient's response. Subsequently the dose may be individually adjusted every 1 to 2 weeks to maintain the average neutrophil count between 1.5 x 109/l and 10 x 109/l. A faster schedule of dose escalation may be considered in patients presenting with severe infections. In clinical trials, 97% of patients who responded had a complete response at doses â‰¤ 24 Î¼g/kg/day. The long-term safety of Zarcio administration above 24 Î¼g/kg/day in patients with SCN has not been established.
Method of administration
Congenital, idiopathic or cyclic neutropenia: Zarcio should be given by subcutaneous injection.
In patients with HIV infection
For reversal of neutropenia:
The recommended starting dose of Zarcio is 0.1 MU (1 Î¼g)/kg/day, with titration up to a maximum of 0.4 MU (4 Î¼g)/kg/day until a normal neutrophil count is reached and can be maintained (ANC > 2.0 x 109/l). In clinical studies, > 90% of patients responded at these doses, achieving reversal of neutropenia in a median of 2 days.
In a small number of patients (< 10%), doses up to 1.0 MU (10 Î¼g)/kg/day were required to achieve reversal of neutropenia.
For maintaining normal neutrophil counts:
When reversal of neutropenia has been achieved, the minimal effective dose to maintain a normal neutrophil count should be established. Initial dose adjustment to alternate day dosing with 30 MU (300 Î¼g)/dayis recommended. Further dose adjustment may be necessary, as determined by the patient's ANC, to maintain the neutrophil count at > 2.0 x 109/l. In clinical studies, dosing with 30 MU (300 Î¼g)/day on 1 to 7 days per week was required to maintain the ANC > 2.0 x 109/l, with the median dose frequency being 3 days per week. Long term administration may be required to maintain the ANC > 2.0 x 109/l.
Method of administration
Reversal of neutropenia or maintaining normal neutrophil counts: Zarcio should be given by subcutaneous injection.
Clinical trials with Zarcio have included a small number of elderly patients but special studies have not been performed in this group and therefore specific dosage recommendations cannot be made.
Patients with renal impairment
Studies of Zarcio in patients with severe impairment of renal or hepatic function demonstrate that it exhibits a similar pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile to that seen in normal individuals. Dose adjustment is not required in these circumstances.
Paediatric use in the SCN and cancer settings
Sixty-five percent of the patients studied in the SCN trial program were under 18 years of age. The efficacy of treatment was clear for this age group, which included most patients with congenital neutropenia. There were no differences in the safety profiles for paediatric patients treated for SCN.
Data from clinical studies in paediatric patients indicate that the safety and efficacy of Zarcio are similar in both adults and children receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy.
The dosage recommendations in paediatric patients are the same as those in adults receiving myelosuppressive cytotoxic chemotherapy.
Special warning and precautions across indications
Hypersensitivity, including anaphylactic reactions, occurring on initial or subsequent treatment have been reported in patients treated with Zarcio. Permanently discontinue Zarcio in patients with clinically significant hypersensitivity. Do not administer Zarcio to patients with a history of hypersensitivity to filgrastim or pegfilgrastim.
Pulmonary adverse effects
Pulmonary adverse effects, in particular interstitial lung disease, have been reported after G-CSF administration. Patients with a recent history of lung infiltrates or pneumonia may be at higher risk. The onset of pulmonary signs, such as cough, fever and dyspnoea in association with radiological signs of pulmonary infiltrates and deterioration in pulmonary function may be preliminary signs of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Zarcio should be discontinued and appropriate treatment given.
Glomerulonephritis has been reported in patients receiving filgrastim and pegfilgrastim. Generally, events of glomerulonephritis resolved after dose reduction or withdrawal of filgrastim and pegfilgrastim. Urinalysis monitoring is recommended.
Capillary leak syndrome
Capillary leak syndrome, which can be life-threatening if treatment is delayed, has been reported after granulocyte colony-stimulating factor administration, and is characterised by hypotension, hypoalbuminaemia, oedema and hemoconcentration. Patients who develop symptoms of capillary leak syndrome should be closely monitored and receive standard symptomatic treatment, which may include a need for intensive care.
Splenomegaly and Splenic rupture
Generally asymptomatic cases of splenomegaly and cases of splenic rupture have been reported in patients and normal donors following administration of Zarcio. Some cases of splenic rupture were fatal. Therefore, spleen size should be carefully monitored (e.g. clinical examination, ultrasound). A diagnosis of splenic rupture should be considered in donors and/or patients reporting left upper abdominal or shoulder tip pain. Dose reductions of Zarcio have been noted to slow or stop the progression of splenic enlargement in patients with severe chronic neutropenia, and in 3% of patients a splenectomy was required.
Malignant cell growth
Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor can promote growth of myeloid cells in vitro and similar effects may be seen on some non-myeloid cells in vitro.
Myelodysplastic syndrome or Chronic myeloid leukemia
The safety and efficacy of Zarcio administration in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, or chronic myelogenous leukaemia have not been established. Zarcio is not indicated for use in these conditions. Particular care should be taken to distinguish the diagnosis of blast transformation of chronic myeloid leukaemia from acute myeloid leukaemia.
Acute myeloid leukaemia
In view of limited safety and efficacy data in patients with secondary AML, Zarcio should be administered with caution. The safety and efficacy of Zarcio administration in de novo AML patients aged < 55 years with good cytogenetics (t(8;21), t(15;17), and inv(16)) have not been established.
Thrombocytopenia has been reported in patients receiving Zarcio. Platelet counts should be monitored closely, especially during the first few weeks of Zarcio therapy. Consideration should be given to temporary discontinuation or dose reduction of Zarcio in patients with severe chronic neutropenia who develop thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 100 x 109/l).
White blood cell counts of 100 x 109/l or greater have been observed in less than 5% of cancer patients receiving Zarcio at doses above 0.3 MU/kg/day (3 Î¼g/kg/day). No undesirable effects directly attributable to this degree of leukocytosis have been reported. However, in view of the potential risks associated with severe leukocytosis, a white blood cell count should be performed at regular intervals during Zarcio therapy. If leukocyte counts exceed 50 x 109/l after the expected nadir, Zarcio should be discontinued immediately. When administered for PBPC mobilisation, Zarcio should be discontinued or its dosage should be reduced if the leukocyte counts rise to > 70 x 109/l.
As with all therapeutic proteins, there is a potential for immunogenicity. Rates of generation of antibodies against filgrastim is generally low. Binding antibodies do occur as expected with all biologics; however, they have not been associated with neutralising activity at present.
Special warning and precautions associated with co-morbidities
Special precautions in sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease
Sickle cell crises, in some cases fatal, have been reported with the use of Zarcio in patients with sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease. Physicians should use caution when prescribing Zarcio in patients with sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease.
Monitoring of bone density may be indicated in patients with underlying osteoporotic bone diseases who undergo continuous therapy with Zarcio for more than 6 months.
Special precautions in cancer patients
Zarcio should not be used to increase the dose of cytotoxic chemotherapy beyond established dosage regimens.
Risks associated with increased doses of chemotherapy
Special caution should be used when treating patients with high dose chemotherapy, because improved tumour outcome has not been demonstrated and intensified doses of chemotherapeutic agents may lead to increased toxicities including cardiac, pulmonary, neurologic, and dermatologic effects (please refer to the prescribing information of the specific chemotherapy agents used).
Effect of chemotherapy on erythrocytes and thrombocytes
Treatment with Zarcio alone does not preclude thrombocytopenia and anaemia due to myelosuppressive chemotherapy. Because of the potential of receiving higher doses of chemotherapy (e.g., full doses on the prescribed schedule) the patient may be at greater risk of thrombocytopenia and anaemia. Regular monitoring of platelet count and haematocrit is recommended. Special care should be taken when administering single or combination chemotherapeutic agents which are known to cause severe thrombocytopenia.
The use of Zarcio mobilised PBPCs has been shown to reduce the depth and duration of thrombocytopenia following myelosuppressive or myeloablative chemotherapy.
Other special precautions
The effects of Zarcio in patients with substantially reduced myeloid progenitors have not been studied. Zarcio acts primarily on neutrophil precursors to exert its effect in elevating neutrophil counts. Therefore in patients with reduced precursors neutrophil response may be diminished (such as those treated with extensive radiotherapy or chemotherapy, or those with bone marrow infiltration by tumour).
Vascular disorders, including veno-occlusive disease and fluid volume disturbances, have been reported occasionally in patients undergoing high dose chemotherapy followed by transplantation.
There have been reports of GvHD and fatalities in patients receiving G-CSF after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.
Increased haematopoietic activity of the bone marrow in response to growth factor therapy has been associated with transient abnormal bone scans. This should be considered when interpreting bone-imaging results.
Special precautions in patients undergoing PBPC mobilisation
There are no prospectively randomised comparisons of the two recommended mobilisation methods (Zarcio alone, or in combination with myelosuppressive chemotherapy) within the same patient population. The degree of variation between individual patients and between laboratory assays of CD34+ cells mean that direct comparison between different studies is difficult. It is therefore difficult to recommend an optimum method. The choice of mobilisation method should be considered in relation to the overall objectives of treatment for an individual patient.
Prior exposure to cytotoxic agents
Patients who have undergone very extensive prior myelosuppressive therapy may not show sufficient mobilisation of PBPC to achieve the recommended minimum yield (> 2.0 x 106 CD34+ cells/kg) or acceleration of platelet recovery, to the same degree.
Some cytotoxic agents exhibit particular toxicities to the haematopoietic progenitor pool, and may adversely affect progenitor mobilisation. Agents such as melphalan, carmustine (BCNU), and carboplatin, when administered over prolonged periods prior to attempts at progenitor mobilisation may reduce progenitor yield. However, the administration of melphalan, carboplatin or BCNU together with Zarcio, has been shown to be effective for progenitor mobilisation. When a PBPC transplantation is envisaged it is advisable to plan the stem cell mobilisation procedure early in the treatment course of the patient. Particular attention should be paid to the number of progenitors mobilised in such patients before the administration of high-dose chemotherapy. If yields are inadequate, as measured by the criteria above, alternative forms of treatment, not requiring progenitor support should be considered.
Assessment of progenitor cell yields
In assessing the number of progenitor cells harvested in patients treated with Zarcio, particular attention should be paid to the method of quantitation. The results of flow cytometric analysis of CD34+ cell numbers vary depending on the precise methodology used and recommendations of numbers based on studies in other laboratories need to be interpreted with caution.
Statistical analysis of the relationship between the number of CD34+ cells re-infused and the rate of platelet recovery after high-dose chemotherapy indicates a complex but continuous relationship.
The recommendation of a minimum yields of > 2.0 x 106 CD34+ cells/kg is based on published experience resulting in adequate haematologic reconstitution. Yields in excess of this appear to correlate with more rapid recovery, those below with slower recovery.
Special precautions in normal donors undergoing PBPC mobilisation
Mobilisation of PBPC does not provide a direct clinical benefit to normal donors and should only be considered for the purposes of allogeneic stem cell transplantation.
PBPC mobilisation should be considered only in donors who meet normal clinical and laboratory eligibility criteria for stem cell donation with special attention to haematological values and infectious disease.
The safety and efficacy of Zarcio have not been assessed in normal donors < 16 years or > 60 years.
Transient thrombocytopenia (platelets < 100 x 109/l) following filgrastim administration and leukapheresis was observed in 35% of subjects studied. Among these, two cases of platelets < 50 x 109/l were reported and attributed to the leukapheresis procedure.
If more than one leukapheresis is required, particular attention should be paid to donors with platelets < 100 x 109/l prior to leukapheresis; in general apheresis should not be performed if platelets < 75 x 109/l.
Leukapheresis should not be performed in donors who are anticoagulated or who have known defects in haemostasis.
Donors who receive G-CSFs for PBPC mobilisation should be monitored until haematological indices return to normal.
Transient cytogenetic abnormalities have been observed in normal donors following G-CSF use. The significance of these changes is unknown. Nevertheless, a risk of promotion of a malignant myeloid clone cannot be excluded. It is recommended that the apheresis centre perform a systematic record and tracking of the stem cell donors for at least 10 years to ensure monitoring of long-term safety.
Special precautions in recipients of allogeneic PBPCs mobilised with Zarcio
Current data indicate that immunological interactions between the allogeneic PBPC graft and the recipient may be associated with an increased risk of acute and chronic GvHD when compared with bone marrow transplantation.
Special precautions in SCN patients
Zarcio should not be administered to patients with severe congenital neutropenia who develop leukaemia or have evidence of leukaemic evolution.
Blood cell counts
Other blood cell changes occur, including anaemia and transient increases in myeloid progenitors, which require close monitoring of cell counts.
Transformation to leukaemia or myelodysplastic syndrome
Special care should be taken in the diagnosis of SCNs to distinguish them from other haematopoietic disorders such as aplastic anaemia, myelodysplasia, and myeloid leukaemia. Complete blood cell counts with differential and platelet counts, and an evaluation of bone marrow morphology and karyotype should be performed prior to treatment.
There was a low frequency (approximately 3%) of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) or leukaemia in clinical trial patients with SCN treated with Zarcio. This observation has only been made in patients with congenital neutropenia. MDS and leukaemias are natural complications of the disease and are of uncertain relation to Zarcio therapy. A subset of approximately 12% of patients who had normal cytogenetic evaluations at baseline were subsequently found to have abnormalities, including monosomy 7, on routine repeat evaluation. It is currently unclear whether long-term treatment of patients with SCN will predispose patients to cytogenetic abnormalities, MDS or leukaemic transformation. It is recommended to perform morphologic and cytogenetic bone marrow examinations in patients at regular intervals (approximately every 12 months).
Other special precautions
Causes of transient neutropenia, such as viral infections should be excluded.
Haematuria was common and proteinuria occurred in a small number of patients. Regular urinalysis should be performed to monitor these events.
The safety and efficacy in neonates and patients with autoimmune neutropenia have not been established.
Special precautions in patients with HIV infection
Blood cell counts
Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) should be monitored closely, especially during the first few weeks of Zarcio therapy. Some patients may respond very rapidly and with a considerable increase in neutrophil count to the initial dose of Zarcio. It is recommended that the ANC is measured daily for the first 2-3 days of Zarcio administration. Thereafter, it is recommended that the ANC is measured at least twice per week for the first two weeks and subsequently once per week or once every other week during maintenance therapy. During intermittent dosing with 30MU (300 Î¼g)/day of Zarcio, there can be wide fluctuations in the patient's ANC over time. In order to determine a patient's trough or nadir ANC, it is recommended that blood samples are taken for ANC measurement immediately prior to any scheduled dosing with Zarcio.
Risk associated with increased doses of myelosuppressive medications
Treatment with Zarcio alone does not preclude thrombocytopenia and anaemia due to myelosuppressive medications. As a result of the potential to receive higher doses or a greater number of these medications with Zarcio therapy, the patient may be at higher risk of developing thrombocytopenia and anaemia. Regular monitoring of blood counts is recommended (see above).
Infections and malignancies causing myelosuppression
Neutropenia may be due to bone marrow infiltrating opportunistic infections such as Mycobacterium avium complex or malignancies such as lymphoma. In patients with known bone marrow infiltrating infections or malignancy, consider appropriate therapy for treatment of the underlying condition, in addition to administration of Zarcio for treatment of neutropenia. The effects of Zarcio on neutropenia due to bone marrow infiltrating infection or malignancy have not been well established.
Zarcio contains sorbitol (E420). Patients with rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance should not take this medicine.
Zarcio contains less than 1 mmol (23 mg) sodium per 0.3 mg/ml, i.e. essentially sodium free.
In order to improve the traceability of granulocyte-colony stimulating factors (G-CSFs), the trade name of the administered product should be clearly recorded in the patient file.
Zarcio may have a minor influence on the ability to drive and use machines. Dizziness may occur following the administration of Zarcio.
a. Summary of the safety profile
The most serious adverse reactions that may occur during Zarcio treatment include: anaphylactic reaction, serious pulmonary adverse events (including interstitial pneumonia and ARDS), capillary leak syndrome, severe splenomegaly/splenic rupture, transformation to myelodysplastic syndrome or leukaemia in SCN patients, GvHD in patients receiving allogeneic bone marrow transfer or peripheral blood cell progenitor cell transplant and sickle cell crisis in patients with sickle cell disease.
The most commonly reported adverse reactions are pyrexia, musculoskeletal pain (which includes bone pain, back pain, arthralgia, myalgia, pain in extremity, musculoskeletal pain, musculoskeletal chest pain, neck pain), anaemia, vomiting, and nausea. In clinical trials in cancer patients musculoskeletal pain was mild or moderate in 10%, and severe in 3% of patients.
b. Tabulated summary of adverse reactions
The data in the tables below describe adverse reactions reported from clinical trials and spontaneous reporting. Within each frequency grouping, undesirable effects are presented in order of decreasing seriousness.
MedDRA system organ class
(> 1/100 to < 1/10)
(> 1/1000 to < 1/100)
(> 1/10,000 to < 1/1000)
Infections and infestations
Upper respiratory tract infection
Urinary tract infection
Blood and lymphatic system disorders
Sickle cell anaemia with crisis
Immune system disorders
Graft versus Host Diseaseb
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
Blood lactate dehydrogenase increased
Blood uric acid increased
Blood glucose decreased
Pseudogouta (Chondrocalcinosis Pyrophosphate)
Fluid volume disturbances
Nervous system disorders
Capillary leak syndromea
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
Oropharyngeal paina, e
Acute respiratory distress syndromea
Interstitial lung diseasea
Blood alkaline phosphatase increased
Aspartate aminotransferase increased
Gamma-glutamyl transferase increased
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
Sweets syndrome (acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis)
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders
Bone density decreased
Exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis
Renal and urinary disorders
General disorders and administration site conditions
Injection site reaction
Injury, poisoning and procedural complications
a See section c (Description of selected adverse reactions)
b There have been reports of GvHD and fatalities in patients after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (see section c)
c Includes bone pain, back pain, arthralgia, myalgia, pain in extremity, musculoskeletal pain, musculoskeletal chest pain, neck pain
d Cases were observed in the post-marketing setting in patients undergoing bone marrow transplant or PBPC mobilization
e Adverse events with higher incidence in Zarcio patients compared to placebo and associated with the sequelae of the underlying malignancy or cytotoxic chemotherapy
c. Description of selected adverse reactions
Hypersensitivity-type reactions including anaphylaxis, rash, urticaria, angioedema, dyspnoea and hypotension occurring on initial or subsequent treatment have been reported in clinical studies and in post marketing experience. Overall, reports were more common after IV administration. In some cases, symptoms have recurred with rechallenge, suggesting a causal relationship. Zarcio should be permanently discontinued in patients who experience a serious allergic reaction.
Pulmonary adverse events
In clinical studies and the post-marketing setting pulmonary adverse effects including interstitial lung disease, pulmonary oedema, and lung infiltration have been reported in some cases with an outcome of respiratory failure or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which may be fatal.
Splenomegaly and Splenic rupture
Cases of splenomegaly and splenic rupture have been reported following administration of filgrastim. Some cases of splenic rupture were fatal.
Capillary leak syndrome
Cases of capillary leak syndrome have been reported with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor use. These have generally occurred in patients with advanced malignant diseases, sepsis, taking multiple chemotherapy medications or undergoing apheresis.
Cutaneous vasculitis has been reported in patients treated with Zarcio. The mechanism of vasculitis in patients receiving Zarcio is unknown. During long term use cutaneous vasculitis has been reported in 2% of SCN patients.
Leukocytosis (WBC > 50 x 109/l) was observed in 41% of normal donors and transient thrombocytopenia (platelets < 100 x 109/l) following filgrastim and leukapheresis was observed in 35% of donors.
Cases of Sweets syndrome (acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis) have been reported in patients treated with Zarcio.
Pseudogout (chondrocalcinosis pyrophosphate)
Pseudogout (chondrocalcinosis pyrophosphate) has been reported in patients with cancer treated with Zarcio.
There have been reports of GvHD and fatalities in patients receiving G-CSF after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.
d. Paediatric population
Data from clinical studies in paediatric patients indicate that the safety and efficacy of Zarcio are similar in both adults and children receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy suggesting no age-related differences in the pharmacokinetics of filgrastim. The only consistently reported adverse event was musculoskeletal painâ€š which is no different from the experience in the adult population.
There is insufficient data to further evaluate Zarcio use in paediatric subjects.
e. Other special populations
No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between subjects over 65 years of age compared to younger adult (>18 years of age) subjects receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy and clinical experience has not identified differences in the responses between elderly and younger adult patients. There is insufficient data to evaluate Zarcio use in geriatric subjects for other approved Zarcio indications.
Paediatric SCN patients
Cases of decreased bone density and osteoporosis have been reported in paediatric patients with severe chronic neutropenia receiving chronic treatment with Zarcio.
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the national reporting system.
Yellow Card Scheme
Website: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store
The effects of Zarcio overdosage have not been established. Discontinuation of Zarcio therapy usually results in a 50% decrease in circulating neutrophils within 1 to 2 days, with a return to normal levels in 1 to 7 days.
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Cytokines, ATC Code: L03AA02
Human G-CSF is a glycoprotein which regulates the production and release of functional neutrophils from the bone marrow. Zarcio containing r-metHuG-CSF (filgrastim) causes marked increases in peripheral blood neutrophil counts within twenty-four hours, with minor increases in monocytes. In some SCN patients filgrastim can also induce a minor increase in the number of circulating eosinophils and basophils relative to baseline; some of these patients may present with eosinophilia or basophilia already prior to treatment. Elevations of neutrophil counts are dose-dependent at recommended doses. Neutrophils produced in response to filgrastim show normal or enhanced function as demonstrated by tests of chemotactic and phagocytic function. Following termination of filgrastim therapy, circulating neutrophil counts decrease by 50% within 1 to 2 days, and to normal levels within 1 to 7 days.
Use of filgrastim in patients undergoing cytotoxic chemotherapy leads to significant reductions in the incidence, severity and duration of neutropenia and febrile neutropenia. Treatment with filgrastim significantly reduces the durations of febrile neutropenia, antibiotic use and hospitalisation after induction chemotherapy for acute myelogenous leukaemia or myeloablative therapy followed by bone marrow transplantation. The incidence of fever and documented infections were not reduced in either setting. The duration of fever was not reduced in patients undergoing myeloablative therapy followed by bone marrow transplantation.
Use of filgrastim, either alone, or after chemotherapy, mobilises haematopoietic progenitor cells into the peripheral blood. These autologous PBPCs may be harvested and infused after high-dose cytotoxic therapy, either in place of, or in addition to bone marrow transplantation. Infusion of PBPC accelerates haematopoietic recovery reducing the duration of risk for haemorrhagic complications and the need for platelet transfusions.
Recipients of allogeneic PBPCs mobilised with Zarcio experienced significantly more rapid haematological recovery, leading to a significant decrease in time to unsupported platelet recovery when compared with allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.
One retrospective European study evaluating the use of GCSF after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation in patients with acute leukaemias suggested an increase in the risk of GvHD, treatment related mortality (TRM) and mortality when GCSF was administered. In a separate retrospective International study in patients with acute and chronic myelogenous leukaemias, no effect on the risk of GvHD, TRM and mortality was seen. A meta-analysis of allogeneic transplant studies, including the results of nine prospective randomized trials, 8 retrospective studies and 1 case-controlled study, did not detect an effect on the risks of acute GvHD, chronic GvHD or early treatment-related mortality.
Relative Risk (95% CI) of GvHD and TRM
Following Treatment with GCSF after Bone Marrow Transplantation
Period of Study
Acute Grade II-IV GvHD
European Retrospective Study (2004)
International Retrospective Study (2006)
aAnalysis includes studies involving BM transplant during this period; some studies used GM-CSF
bAnalysis includes patients receiving BM transplant during this period
Use of filgrastim for the mobilisation of PBPCs in normal donors prior to allogeneic PBPC transplantation
In normal donors, a 10 Î¼g/kg/day dose administered subcutaneously for 4 to 5 consecutive days allows a collection of > 4 x 106 CD34+ cells/kg recipient body weight in the majority of the donors after two leukaphereses.
Use of filgrastim in patients, children or adults, with SCN (severe congenital, cyclic, and idiopathic neutropenia) induces a sustained increase in absolute neutrophil counts in peripheral blood and a reduction of infection and related events.
Use of filgrastim in patients with HIV infection maintains normal neutrophil counts to allow scheduled dosing of antiviral and/or other myelosuppressive medication. There is no evidence that patients with HIV infection treated with filgrastim show an increase in HIV replication.
As with other haematopoietic growth factors, G-CSF has shown in vitro stimulating properties on human endothelial cells.
Clearance of filgrastim has been shown to follow first-order pharmacokinetics after both subcutaneous and intravenous administration. The serum elimination half-life of filgrastim is approximately 3.5 hours, with a clearance rate of approximately 0.6 ml/min/kg. Continuous infusion with Zarcio over a period of up to 28 days, in patients recovering from autologous bone-marrow transplantation, resulted in no evidence of drug accumulation and comparable elimination half-lives. There is a positive linear correlation between the dose and the serum concentration of filgrastim, whether administered intravenously or subcutaneously. Following subcutaneous administration of recommended doses, serum concentrations were maintained above 10 ng/ml for 8 to 16 hours. The volume of distribution in blood is approximately 150 ml/kg.
Filgrastim was studied in repeated dose toxicity studies up to 1 year in duration which revealed changes attributable to the expected pharmacological actions including increases in leukocytes, myeloid hyperplasia in bone marrow, extramedullary granulopoiesis and splenic enlargement. These changes all reversed after discontinuation of treatment.
Effects of filgrastim on prenatal development have been studied in rats and rabbits. Intravenous (80 Î¼g/kg/day) administration of filgrastim to rabbits during the period of organogenesis was maternally toxic and increased spontaneous abortion, post-implantation loss, and decreased mean live litter size and fetal weight were observed.
Based on reported data for another filgrastim product similar to Zarcio, comparable findings plus increased fetal malformations were observed at 100 Î¼g/kg/day, a maternally toxic dose which corresponded to a systemic exposure of approximately 50-90 times the exposures observed in patients treated with the clinical dose of 5 Î¼g/kg/day. The no observed adverse effect level for embryo-fetal toxicity in this study was 10 Î¼g/kg/day, which corresponded to a systemic exposure of approximately 3-5 times the exposures observed in patients treated with the clinical dose.
In pregnant rats, no maternal or fetal toxicity was observed at doses up to 575 Î¼g/kg/day. Offspring of rats administered filgrastim during the peri-natal and lactation periods, exhibited a delay in external differentiation and growth retardation (>20 Âµg/kg/day) and slightly reduced survival rate (100 Âµg/kg/day).
Filgrastim had no observed effect on the fertility of male or female rats.
Zarcio should not be diluted with saline solutions.
Diluted filgrastim may be adsorbed to glass and plastic materials.
This medicinal product must not be mixed with other products except those mentioned in 6.6.
If required, Zarcio may be diluted in 5% glucose.
Dilution to a final concentration less than 0.2 MU (2 Î¼g) per ml is not recommended at any time.
The solution should be visually inspected prior to use. Only clear solutions without particles should be used.
For patients treated with filgrastim diluted to concentrations below 1.5 MU (15 Î¼g) per ml, human serum albumin (HSA) should be added to a final concentration of 2 mg/ml.
Example: In a final injection volume of 20 ml, total doses of filgrastim less than 30 MU (300 Î¼g) should be given with 0.2 ml of 20% human albumin solution Ph. Eur. added.
Zarcio contains no preservative. In view of the possible risk of microbial contamination, Zarcio vials are for single use only.
When diluted in 5% glucose solution, Zarcio is compatible with glass and a variety of plastics including PVC, polyolefin (a co-polymer of polypropylene and polyethylene) and polypropylene.
Any unused medicinal product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance with local requirements.