Lack of Benefit on Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Symptomatic Chronic Stable Angina Pectoris: Ivabradine is indicated only for symptomatic treatment of chronic stable angina pectoris because ivabradine has no benefits on cardiovascular outcomes (e.g. myocardial infarction or cardiovascular death) (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions).
Measurement of Heart Rate: Given that the heart rate may fluctuate considerably over time, serial heart rate measurements, ECG or ambulatory 24-hour monitoring should be considered when determining resting heart rate before initiation of ivabradine treatment and in patients on treatment with ivabradine when titration is considered. This also applies to patients with a low heart rate, in particular when heart rate decreases below 50 bpm, or after dose reduction (see Dosage & Administration).
Cardiac Arrhythmias: Ivabradine is not effective in the treatment or prevention of cardiac arrhythmias and likely loses its efficacy when a tachyarrhythmia occurs (eg. ventricular or supraventricular tachycardia). Ivabradine is therefore not recommended in patients with atrial fibrillation or other cardiac arrhythmias that interfere with sinus node function.
In patients treated with ivabradine the risk of developing atrial fibrillation is increased (see Adverse Reactions). Atrial fibrillation has been more common in patients using concomitantly amiodarone or potent class I anti-arrhythmics. It is recommended to regularly clinically monitor ivabradine treated patients for the occurrence of atrial fibrillation (sustained or paroxysmal), which should also include ECG monitoring if clinically indicated (e.g. in case of exacerbated angina, palpitations, irregular pulse). Patients should be informed of signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation and be advised to contact their physician if these occur.
If atrial fibrillation develops during treatment, the balance of benefits and risks of continued ivabradine treatment should be carefully reconsidered.
Chronic heart failure patients with intraventricular conduction defects (bundle branch block left, bundle branch block right) and ventricular dyssynchrony should be monitored closely.
Use in Patients with AV-Block of 2nd Degree: Ivabradine is not recommended in patients with AV-block of 2nd degree.
Use in Patients with a Low Heart Rate: Ivabradine must not be initiated in patients with a pre-treatment resting heart rate below 70 beats per minute (see Contraindications). If, during treatment, resting heart rate decreases persistently below 50 bpm or the patient experiences symptoms related to bradycardia such as dizziness, fatigue or hypotension, the dose must be titrated downward or treatment discontinued if heart rate below 50 bpm or symptoms of bradycardia persist (see Dosage & Administration).
Combination with Calcium Channel Blockers: Concomitant use of ivabradine with heart rate reducing calcium channel blockers such as verapamil or diltiazem is contraindicated (see Contraindications and Interactions). No safety issue has been raised on the combination of ivabradine with nitrates and dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine. Additional efficacy of ivabradine in combination with dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers has not been established (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions).
Chronic Heart Failure: Heart failure must be stable before considering ivabradine treatment. Ivabradine should be used with caution in heart failure patients with NYHA functional classification IV due to limited amount of data in this population.
Stroke: The use of ivabradine is not recommended immediately after a stroke since no data is available in these situations.
Visual Function: Ivabradine influences on retinal function (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions). To date, there is no evidence of a toxic effect of ivabradine on the retina, but the effects of long-term ivabradine treatment beyond one year on retinal function are currently not known. Cessation of treatment should be considered if any unexpected deterioration in visual function occurs. Caution should be exercised in patients with retinitis pigmentosa.
Precautions for Use: Patients with Hypotension: Limited data are available in patients with mild to moderate hypotension, and ivabradine should therefore be used with caution in these patients. Ivabradine is contra-indicated in patients with severe hypotension (blood pressure <90/50 mmHg) (see Contraindications).
Atrial Fibrillation - Cardiac Arrhythmias: There is no evidence of risk of (excessive) bradycardia on return to sinus rhythm when pharmacological cardioversion is initiated in patients treated with ivabradine. However, in the absence of extensive data, non urgent DC-cardioversion should be considered 24 hours after the last dose of ivabradine.
Use in Patients with Congenital QT Syndrome or Treated with QT Prolonging Medicinal Products: The use of ivabradine in patients with congenital QT syndrome or treated with QT prolonging medicinal products should be avoided (see Interactions). If the combination appears necessary, close cardiac monitoring is needed.
Heart rate reduction, as caused by ivabradine, may exacerbate QT prolongation, which may give rise to severe arrhythmias, in particular Torsade de pointes.
Hypertensive Patients Requiring Blood Pressure Treatment Modifications: In the SHIFT trial more patients experienced episodes of increased blood pressure while treated with ivabradine (7.1%) compared to patients treated with placebo (6.1%). These episodes occurred most frequently shortly after blood pressure treatment was modified, were transient, and did not affect the treatment effect of ivabradine. When treatment modifications are made in chronic heart failure patients treated with ivabradine blood pressure should be monitored at an appropriate interval (see Adverse Reactions).
Excipients: Since tablets contain lactose, patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicinal product.
Effects on the Ability to Drive and Use Machines: A specific study to assess the possible influence of ivabradine on driving performance has been performed in healthy volunteers where no alteration of the driving performance was evidenced. However, in post-marketing experience, cases of impaired driving ability due to visual symptoms have been reported. Ivabradine may cause transient luminous phenomena consisting mainly of phosphenes (see Adverse Reactions). The possible occurrence of such luminous phenomena should be taken into account when driving or using machines in situations where sudden variations in light intensity may occur, especially when driving at night.
Ivabradine has no influence on the ability to use machines.
Fertility: Studies in rats have shown no effect on fertility in males and females (see Pharmacology: Toxicology: Preclinical Safety Data under Actions).