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Calcium folinate is indicated - to diminish the toxicity and counteract the action of folic acid antagonists such as methotrexate in cytotoxic therapy and overdose in adults and children. In cytotoxic therapy, this procedure is commonly known as “Calcium Folinate Rescue”; - in combination with 5-fluorouracil in cytotoxic therapy.


· Known hypersensitivity to calcium folinate, or to any of the excipients. · Pernicious anaemia or other anaemias due to vitamin B12 deficiency. Regarding the use of calcium folinate with methotrexate or 5-fluorouracil during pregnancy and lactation, see section 4.6, “Pregnancy and Lactation” and the summaries of product characteristics for methotrexate- and 5-fluorouracil- containing medicinal products.

Adverse reactions:

Both therapeutic indications: Immune system disorders Very rare (<0.01%): allergic reactions, including anaphylactoid reactions and urticaria. Psychiatric disorders Rare (0.01-0.1%): insomnia, agitation and depression after high doses. Nervous system disorders Rare (0.01-0.1%): increase in the frequency of attacks in epileptics. Gastrointestinal disorders Rare (0.01-0.1%): gastrointestinal disorders after high doses. General disorders and administration site conditions Uncommon (0.1-1%): fever has been observed after administration of calcium folinate as solution for injection. Combination therapy with 5-fluorouracil: Generally, the safety profile depends on the applied regimen of 5-fluorouracil due to enhancement of the 5-fluorouracil induced toxicities: General disorders and administration site conditions Unknown frequency: Mucositis, including stomatitis and cheilitis Monthly regimen: Gastrointestinal disorders Very common (>10%): vomiting and nausea General disorders and administration site conditions Very common (>10%): (severe) mucosal toxicity. No enhancement of other 5-fluorouracil induced toxicities (e.g. neurotoxicity). Weekly regimen: Gastrointestinal disorders Very common (>10%): diarrhoea with higher grades of toxicity, and dehydration, resulting in hospital admission for treatment and even death.


When calcium folinate is given in conjunction with a folic acid antagonist (e.g. cotrimoxazole, pyrimethamine) the efficacy of the folic acid antagonist may either be reduced or completely neutralised. Calcium folinate may diminish the effect of anti-epileptic substances: phenobarbital, primidone, phenytoine and succinimides, and may increase the frequency of seizures (a decrease of plasma levels of enzymatic inductor anticonvulsant drugs may be observed because the hepatic metabolism is increased as folates are one of the cofactors). Concomitant administration of calcium folinate with 5-fluorouracil has been shown to enhance the efficacy and toxicity of 5-fluorouracil.


Calcium folinate should only be given by intramuscular or intravenous injection and must not be administered intrathecally. When folinic acid has been administered intrathecally following intrathecal overdose of methotrexate, death has been reported. General Calcium folinate should be used with methotrexate or 5-fluorouracil only under the direct supervision of a clinician experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Calcium folinate treatment may mask pernicious anaemia and other anaemias resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency. Many cytotoxic medicinal products – direct or indirect DNA synthesis inhibitors – lead to macrocytosis (hydroxycarbamide, cytarabine, mecaptopurine, thioguanine). Such macrocytosis should not be treated with folinic acid. In epileptic patients treated with phenobarbital, phenytoine, primidone, and succinimides there is a risk to increase the frequency of seizures due to a decrease of plasma concentrations of anti-epileptic drugs. Clinical monitoring, possibly monitoring of the plasma concentrations and, if necessary, dose adaptation of the anti-epileptic drug during calcium folinate administration and after discontinuation is recommended. Calcium folinate/5-fluorouracil Calcium folinate may enhance the toxicity risk of 5-fluorouracil, particularly in elderly or debilitated patients. The most common manifestations are leucopenia, mucositis, stomatitis and/or diarrhoea, which may be dose limiting. When calcium folinate and 5-fluorouracil are used in combination, the 5-fluorouracil dosage has to be reduced more in cases of toxicity than when 5-fluorouracil is used alone. Combined 5-fluorouracil/calcium folinate treatment should neither be initiated nor maintained in patients with symptoms of gastrointestinal toxicity, regardless of the severity, until all of these symptoms have completely disappeared. Because diarrhoea may be a sign of gastrointestinal toxicity, patients presenting with diarrhoea must be carefully monitored until the symptoms have disappeared completely, since a rapid clinical deterioration leading to death can occur. If diarrhoea and/or stomatitis occur, it is advisable to reduce the dose of 5-FU until symptoms have fully disappeared. Especially the elderly and patients with a low physical performance due to their illness are prone to these toxicities. Therefore, particular care should be taken when treating these patients. In elderly patients and patients who have undergone preliminary radiotherapy, it is recommended to begin with a reduced dosage of 5-fluorouracil. Calcium folinate must not be mixed with 5-fluorouracil in the same IV injection or infusion. Calcium levels should be monitored in patients receiving combined 5-fluorouracil/calcium folinate treatment and calcium supplementation should be provided if calcium levels are low. Calcium folinate/methotrexate For specific details on reduction of methotrexate toxicity refer to the SPC of methotrexate. Calcium folinate has no effect on non-haematological toxicities of methotrexate such as the nephrotoxicity resulting from methotrexate and/or metabolite precipitation in the kidney. Patients who experience delayed early methotrexate elimination are likely to develop reversible renal failure and all toxicities associated with methotrexate (please refer to the SPC for methotrexate). The presence of pre-existing or methotrexate-induced renal insufficiency is potentially associated with delayed excretion of methotrexate and may increase the need for higher doses or more prolonged use of calcium folinate. Excessive calcium folinate doses must be avoided since this might impair the antitumour activity of methotrexate, especially in CNS tumours where calcium folinate accumulates after repeated courses. Resistance to methotrexate as a result of decreased membrane transport implies also resistance to folinic acid rescue as both medicinal products share the same transport system. An accidental overdose with a folate antagonist, such as methotrexate, should be treated as a medical emergency. As the time interval between methotrexate administration and calcium folinate rescue increases, calcium folinate effectiveness in counteracting toxicity decreases. The possibility that the patient is taking other medications that interact with methotrexate (e.g., medications which may interfere with methotrexate elimination or binding to serum albumin) should always be considered when laboratory abnormalities or clinical toxicities are observed.



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