Picato adverse events prompt FDA warning




The Food and Drug Administration has issued a Drug Safety Communication warning for the potential for severe allergic reactions, shingles, and severe eye injuries from incorrect application of Picato (ingenol mebutate), a topical gel used to treat actinic keratosis.

Picato’s manufacurer, Leo Pharma Inc., will be required to change the drug’s labeling to reflect the risk for these adverse events and provide more information about safe application of Picato gel.

In the data summary accompanying the announcement, the FDA noted that some of the incorrect use of Picato gel was related either to inaccurate prescribing or dispensing. Adverse events reported were associated with incorrect application of Picato gel, which is to be used on no more than 25 cm2 of skin at a time, and for no more than 3 consecutive days.

Some of the adverse events reports describe mixing Picato with other products, occluding the skin after applying Picato gel, washing it off before the recommended 6 hours, or applying at bedtime.

Additionally, some adverse events occurred when the stronger 0.05% formulation, intended for use on the extremities and trunk, was applied to the face. Facial actinic keratoses are to be treated with the 0.015% formulation.

Adverse events described included severe allergic reactions ranging from significant contact dermatitis to anaphylaxis. Reactivation of herpes zoster was also reported; some of these cases were associated with applying Picato gel to a larger-than-recommended area, or with using an incorrect dose strength.

Another class of adverse events involved accidental transfer of Picato gel, often to the eyes. This occurred even after handwashing. In addition to eyelid swelling and irritation, cases of chemical conjunctivitis and corneal ulceration were reported. Lips, tongue, and rectum were other areas affected by accidental transfer of Picato gel.

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