Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) delayed-release capsules, for oral use

Detailed View: Safety Labeling Changes Approved By FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)

February 2016

Summary View


Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) has occurred in patients with MS treated with TECFIDERA. PML is an opportunistic viral infection of the brain caused by the JC virus (JCV) that typically only occurs in patients who are immunocompromised, and that usually leads to death or severe disability. A fatal case of PML occurred in a patient who received TECFIDERA for 4 years while enrolled in a clinical trial. During the clinical trial, the patient experienced prolonged lymphopenia (lymphocyte counts predominantly <0.5x109/L for 3.5 years) while taking TECFIDERA [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)]. The patient had no other identified systemic medical conditions resulting in compromised immune system function and had not previously been treated with natalizumab, which has a known association with PML. The patient was also not taking any immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory medications concomitantly.
  • PML has also occurred in the postmarketing setting in the presence of lymphopenia (<0.8x109/L) persisting for more than 6 months. While the role of lymphopenia in these cases is uncertain, the majority of cases occurred in patients with lymphocyte counts <0.5x 109/L. At the first sign or symptom suggestive of PML, withhold TECFIDERA and perform an appropriate diagnostic evaluation. MRI findings may be apparent before clinical signs or symptoms. Typical symptoms associated with PML are diverse, progress over days to weeks, and include progressive weakness on one side of the body or clumsiness of limbs, disturbance of vision, and changes in thinking, memory, and orientation leading to confusion and personality changes.
  • Obtain a CBC, including lymphocyte count, before initiating treatment with TECFIDERA, 6 months after starting treatment, and then every 6 to 12 months thereafter, and as clinically indicated. Consider interruption of TECFIDERA in patients with lymphocyte counts less than 0.5 x 109/L persisting for more than six months. Given the potential for delayed recovery of lymphocyte counts, continue to obtain lymphocyte counts until their recovery if TECFIDERA is discontinued or interrupted due to lymphopenia. Consider withholding treatment from patients with serious infections until resolution. Decisions about whether or not to restart TECFIDERA should be individualized based on clinical circumstances.


December 2014

Summary View


*The following was added:

  • TECFIDERA is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to dimethyl fumarate or to any of the excipients of TECFIDERA. Reactions have included anaphylaxis and angioedema.


*Added section for Anaphylaxis and Angioedema, Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy, Lymphopenia


*registry phone number updated and website added


*Updated to reflect changes in Warnings and Precautions

Page Last Updated: 03/14/2016
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