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12 Dec 2014

US FDA issues warning on Pfizer’s Geodon

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The US Food and Drug Administration is warning that the antipsychotic drug ziprasidone (marketed under the brand name Geodon by pharma giant Pfizer, and its generics is associated with a rare but serious skin reaction that can progress to affect other parts of the body.

A new warning has been added to the Geodon drug label to describe the serious condition known as drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS). Patients who have a fever with a rash and/or swollen lymph glands should seek urgent medical care. Health care professionals should immediately stop treatment with ziprasidone if DRESS is suspected. Last year, 2.5 million prescriptions for oral formulations of ziprasidone were dispensed, the agency said.

Ziprasidone is an antipsychotic drug used to treat the serious mental health disorders schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder. Ziprasidone helps restore certain natural substances in the brain and can decrease hallucinations, delusions, other psychotic symptoms, and mania. To work properly, ziprasidone should be taken every day as prescribed. Patients should not stop taking their medicine or change their dose without first talking to their health care professional.

DRESS may start as a rash that can spread to all parts of the body. It can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and inflammation of organs such as the liver, kidney, lungs, heart, or pancreas. DRESS also causes a higher-than-normal number of a particular type of white blood cell called eosinophils in the blood. DRESS can lead to death, although no fatalities have been reported with the use of ziprasidone.

Ziprasidone (marketed as Geodon, Zeldox by Pfizer and Zipwell by Actavis) was the fifth atypical antipsychotic to gain approval (February 2001) in the United States. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of schizophrenia, and acute mania and mixed states associated with bipolar disorder. Its intramuscular injection form is approved for acute agitation in schizophrenic patients for whom treatment with just ziprasidone is appropriate. Ziprasidone is also used off-label for depression, bipolar maintenance, mood disorders, anxiety, aggression, dementia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The oral form of ziprasidone is the hydrochloride salt, ziprasidone hydrochloride. The intramuscular form, on the other hand, is the mesylate salt, ziprasidone mesylate trihydrate, and is provided as a lyophilized powder.

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