Ocaliva (obeticholic acid) – Summary of product characteristics - A05AA04

Updated on site: 08-Oct-2017

Medication nameOcaliva
ATC CodeA05AA04
Substanceobeticholic acid
ManufacturerIntercept Pharma Ltd

This medicinal product is subject to additional monitoring. This will allow quick identification of new safety information. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions. See section 4.8 for how to report adverse reactions.


OCALIVA 5 mg film-coated tablets

OCALIVA 10 mg film-coated tablets


OCALIVA 5 mg film-coated tablets

Each film-coated tablet contains 5 mg of obeticholic acid.

OCALIVA 10 mg film-coated tablets

Each film-coated tablet contains 10 mg of obeticholic acid.

For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1.


Film-coated tablet (tablet)

OCALIVA 5 mg film-coated tablets

Yellow, 8 mm round tablet debossed with ‘INT’ on one side and ‘5’ on the other side.

OCALIVA 10 mg film-coated tablets

Yellow, 7.6 mm X 7.4 mm triangular tablet debossed with ‘INT’ on one side and ‘10’ on the other side.


4.1Therapeutic indications

OCALIVA is indicated for the treatment of primary biliary cholangitis (also known as primary biliary cirrhosis) in combination with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) in adults with an inadequate response to UDCA or as monotherapy in adults unable to tolerate UDCA.

4.2Posology and method of administration


The starting dose is 5 mg once daily.

Based on an assessment of tolerability after 6 months, the dose should be increased to 10 mg once daily to achieve optimal response.

No dose adjustment of concomitant UDCA is required in patients receiving obeticholic acid.

Management and dose adjustment for severe pruritus

Management strategies include the addition of bile acid binding resins or antihistamines.

For patients experiencing severe intolerability due to pruritus, one of the following should be considered:

Reducing the dosage of obeticholic acid to:

5 mg every other day, for patients intolerant to 5 mg once daily

5 mg once daily, for patients intolerant to 10 mg once daily

Temporarily interrupting obeticholic acid dosing for up to 2 weeks followed by restarting at a reduced dosage.

Continue to increase the dosage to 10 mg once daily, as tolerated, to achieve optimal response.

Consider discontinuing treatment with obeticholic acid for patients who continue to experience persistent intolerable pruritus.

Special populations Elderly (> 65 years)

Limited data exists in elderly patients. No dose adjustment is required for elderly patients (see section 5.2).

Patients with renal impairment

Limited data exists in patients with mild and moderate renal impairment and no data exists in severe renal impairment. No dose adjustment is required for patients with renal impairment (see section 5.2).

Patients with hepatic impairment

Limited data exists in patients with moderate to severe hepatic impairment. The recommended starting dosage for moderate (Child-Pugh Class B) and severe (Child-Pugh Class C) hepatic impairment is 5 mg once weekly. If an adequate reduction in alkaline phosphatase and/or total bilirubin has not been achieved after 3 months of OCALIVA 5 mg once weekly, and the patient is tolerating the medicinal product, increase the dose of OCALIVA to 5 mg twice weekly (at least three days apart between doses) and subsequently to 10 mg twice weekly (at least three days apart between doses) depending on response and tolerability. No dose adjustment is needed for mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A) (see sections 4.4 and 5.2).

Paediatric population

There is no relevant use of obeticholic acid in the paediatric population in the treatment of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC).

Method of administration

The tablet should be taken orally with or without food.

For patients taking bile acid binding resins, obeticholic acid should be administered at least 4-6 hours before or 4-6 hours after taking a bile acid binding resin, or at as great an interval as possible (see section 4.5).

4.3 Contraindications

- Hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients listed in section 6.1. - Complete biliary obstruction.

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

Liver related adverse events

Elevations in alanine amino transferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) have been observed in patients taking obeticholic acid. Clinical signs and symptoms of hepatic decompensation have also been observed. These events have occurred as early as within the first month of treatment. Liver-related adverse events have primarily been observed at doses higher than the maximum recommended dose of 10 mg once daily (see section 4.9). Patients should be monitored during treatment with OCALIVA for elevations in liver biochemical tests and for the development of liver-related adverse events. Dosage adjustments are needed for patients with moderate (Child-Pugh Class B) or severe (Child-Pugh Class C) hepatic impairment (see sections 4.2 and 5.2).

Severe pruritus

Severe pruritus was reported in 23% of patients treated with OCALIVA 10 mg arm, 19% of patients in the OCALIVA titration arm, and 7% of patients in the placebo arms. The median time to onset of severe pruritus was 11, 158, and 75 days for patients in the OCALIVA 10 mg, OCALIVA titration, and placebo arms, respectively. Management strategies include the addition of bile acid binding resins or antihistamines, dose reduction, reduced dosing frequency, and/or temporary dose interruption (see sections 4.2 and 4.8).

4.5Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

Medicinal products that are affected by obeticholic acid


International normalised ratio (INR) is decreased following co-administration of warfarin and obeticholic acid. INR should be monitored and the dose of warfarin adjusted, if needed, to maintain the target INR range when co-administering obeticholic acid and warfarin.

Interaction with CYP1A2 substrates with narrow therapeutic index

Obeticholic acid may increase the exposure to concomitant medicinal products that are CYP1A2 substrates. Therapeutic monitoring of CYP1A2 substrates with narrow therapeutic index (e.g. theophylline and tizanidine) is recommended.

Medicinal products that affect obeticholic acid

Bile acid binding resins

Bile acid binding resins such as cholestyramine, colestipol, or colesevelam adsorb and reduce bile acid absorption and may reduce efficacy of obeticholic acid. When concomitant bile acid binding resins are administered, obeticholic acid should be taken at least 4-6 hours before or 4-6 hours after taking a bile acid binding resin, or at as great an interval as possible.

4.6Fertility, pregnancy and lactation


There are no data on the use of obeticholic acid in pregnant women. Animal studies do not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects with respect to reproductive toxicity (see section 5.3). As a precautionary measure, it is preferable to avoid the use of obeticholic acid during pregnancy.


It is unknown whether obeticholic acid is excreted in human milk. Based on animal studies and intended pharmacology, obeticholic acid is not expected to interfere with breast-feeding or the growth or development of a breast-fed child. A decision should be made whether to discontinue breast-feeding or to discontinue/abstain from obeticholic acid therapy taking into account the benefit of breast-feeding for the child and the benefit of therapy for the woman (see section 5.3).


No fertility data is available in humans. Animal studies do not indicate any direct or indirect effects on fertility or reproduction (see section 5.3).

4.7Effects on ability to drive and use machines

Obeticholic acid has no or negligible influence on the ability to drive and use machines.

4.8Undesirable effects

Summary of the safety profile

The most commonly reported adverse reactions were pruritus (63%) and fatigue (22%). Adverse reactions leading to discontinuation were 1% in the OCALIVA titration arm and 11% in the

OCALIVA 10 mg arm. The most common adverse reaction leading to discontinuation was pruritus. The majority of pruritus occurred within the first month of treatment and tended to resolve over time with continued dosing.

Tabulated list of adverse reactions

The adverse reactions reported with OCALIVA in the phase III clinical study are listed in the table below by MedDRA system organ class and by frequency. Frequencies are defined as: very common (≥ 1/10), common (≥ 1/100 to < 1/10), uncommon (≥ 1/1,000 to < 1/100), rare (≥ 1/10,000 to

< 1/1,000), very rare (< 1/10,000) and not known (cannot be estimated from the available data).

Table 1. Frequency of adverse reactions in PBC patients*

System Organ Class

Very common


Endocrine disorders


Thyroid function abnormality

Nervous system disorders



Cardiac disorders



Respiratory, thoracic and


Oropharyngeal pain

mediastinal disorders



Gastrointestinal disorders

Abdominal pain and





Skin and subcutaneous tissue Pruritus

Eczema, Rash




Musculoskeletal and



connective tissue disorders



General disorders and


Oedema peripheral, Pyrexia

administration site conditions



* Adverse reactions are defined as events occurring at a rate of greater than or equal to 5% of patients on obeticholic acid treatment arm and at an incidence greater than or equal to 1% higher than in the placebo treatment arm.

Description of selected adverse reactions


Approximately 60% of patients had a history of pruritus upon enrollment in the phase III study. Treatment-emergent pruritus generally started within the first month following the initiation of treatment.

Relative to patients who started on 10 mg once daily in the OCALIVA 10 mg arm, patients in the OCALIVA titration arm had a lower incidence of pruritus (70% and 56% respectively) and a lower discontinuation rate due to pruritus (10% and 1%, respectively).

The percentages of patients who required interventions (i.e, dosage adjustments, treatment interruptions, or initiation of antihistamines or bile acid binding resins) were 41% in the OCALIVA 10 mg arm, 34% in the OCALIVA titration group, and 19% in the placebo group.

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the national reporting system listed in Appendix V.


The highest single dose exposure of obeticholic acid in healthy volunteers has been at the 500 mg dose. Repeated doses of 250 mg have been administered for 12 consecutive days and some subjects experienced pruritus and reversible transaminase liver elevations. In PBC patients who received OCALIVA 25 mg once daily (2.5 times the highest recommended dosage) or 50 mg once daily

(5 times the highest recommended dosage), a dose-dependent increase in the incidence of liver-related adverse reactions (e.g., ascites, primary biliary cholangitis flare, new onset jaundice), and transaminase and bilirubin elevations (up to greater than 3-times upper limit of normal [ULN]) were reported. In the case of overdose, patients should be carefully observed and supportive care administered, as appropriate.


5.1Pharmacodynamic properties

Pharmacotherapeutic group: Bile Acid Preparations, ATC code: A05AA04

Mechanism of action

Obeticholic acid is a selective and potent agonist for the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a nuclear receptor expressed at high levels in the liver and intestine. FXR is thought to be a key regulator of bile acid, inflammatory, fibrotic, and metabolic pathways. FXR activation decreases the intracellular hepatocyte concentrations of bile acids by suppressing de novo synthesis from cholesterol, as well as, by increasing transport of bile acids out of the hepatocytes. These mechanisms limit the overall size of the circulating bile acid pool while promoting choleresis, thus reducing hepatic exposure to bile acids.

Clinical efficacy and safety

A phase III, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, 12-month study (POISE) evaluated the safety and efficacy of OCALIVA in 216 patients with PBC who were taking UDCA for at least 12 months (stable dose for ≥ 3 months) or who were unable to tolerate UDCA and did not receive UDCA for ≥3 months. Patients were included in the trial if the alkaline phosphatase (ALP) was greater than or equal to 1.67 times upper limit of normal (ULN) and/or if total bilirubin was greater than 1 x ULN but less 2 x ULN. Patients were randomised (1:1:1) to receive once daily placebo, OCALIVA 10 mg, or OCALIVA titration (5 mg titrated to 10 mg at 6 months dependent on therapeutic response/tolerability). The majority (93%) of patients received treatment in combination with UDCA and a small number of patients (7%) unable to tolerate UDCA received placebo, OCALIVA (10 mg) or OCALIVA titration (5 mg to 10 mg) as monotherapy. ALP and total bilirubin were assessed as categorical variables in the primary composite endpoint, as well as continuous variables over time.

The study population was predominantly female (91%) and white (94%). The mean age was 56 years, with the majority of patients less than 65 years old. Mean baseline ALP values ranged from 316 U/L to 327 U/L. Mean baseline total bilirubin values ranged from 10 μmol/L to 12 μmol/L across treatment arms, with 92% of patients within normal range.

Treatment with OCALIVA 10 mg or OCALIVA titration (5 mg to 10 mg) resulted in clinically and statistically significant increases (p < 0.0001) relative to placebo in the number of patients achieving the primary composite endpoint at all study time points (see Table 2). Responses occurred as early as 2 weeks and were dose dependent (OCALIVA 5 mg compared with 10 mg at 6 months, p=0.0358).

Table 2. Percentage of PBC patients achieving the primary composite endpointa at month 6 and month 12 with or without UDCAb






10 mgc



(N = 73)

(N = 70)




Month 6








Responders, n (%)

37 (51)

24 (34)

5 (7)

Corresponding 95% CI

39%, 62%

23%, 45%

1%, 13%





Month 12








Responders, n (%)

35 (48)

32 (46)

7 (10)

Corresponding 95% CI

36%, 60%

34%, 58%

4%, 19%





Components of primary endpointe



ALP less than 1.67-times

40 (55)

33 (47)

12 (16)

ULN, n (%)




Decrease in ALP of at

57 (78)

54 (77)

21 (29)

least 15%, n (%)




Total bilirubin less than or




equal to 1-times ULNf, n

60 (82)

62 (89)

57 (78)





aPercentage of subjects achieving a response, defined as an ALP less than 1.67-times the ULN, total bilirubin within the normal range, and an ALP decrease of at least 15%. Missing values were considered a non-response. The Fisher’s exact test was used to calculate the 95% Confidence Intervals (Cis).

bIn the trial there were 16 patients (7%) who were intolerant and did not receive concomitant UDCA: 6 patients (8%) in the OCALIVA 10 mg arm, 5 patients (7%) in the OCALIVA titration arm, and 5 patients (7%) in the placebo arm.

cPatients were randomized (1:1:1) to receive OCALIVA 10 mg once daily for the entire 12 months of the trial, or OCALIVA titration (5 mg once daily for the initial 6 months, with the option to increase to 10 mg once daily for the last 6 months, if the patient was tolerating OCALIVA but had ALP 1.67-times the ULN or greater, and/or total bilirubin above the ULN, or less than 15% ALP reduction) or placebo.

dOCALIVA titration and OCALIVA 10 mg versus placebo. P-values are obtained using the

Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel General Association test stratified by intolerance to UDCA and pretreatment ALP greater than 3-times ULN and/or AST greater than 2-times ULN and/or total bilirubin greater than ULN.

eResponse rates were calculated based on the observed case analysis (i.e., [n=observed responder]/[N=Intention to Treat (ITT) population]); percentage of patients with Month 12 values are 86%, 91% and 96% for the OCALIVA 10 mg, OCALIVA titration and placebo arms, respectively.

fThe mean baseline total bilirubin value was 0.65 mg/dL, and was within the normal range (i.e., less than or equal to the ULN) in 92% of the enrolled patients.

Mean reduction in ALP

Mean reductions in ALP were observed as early as Week 2 and were maintained through Month 12 for patients who were maintained on the same dosage throughout 12 months. For patients in the OCALIVA titration arm whose OCALIVA dosage was increased from 5 mg once daily to 10 mg once daily, additional reductions in ALP were observed at Month 12 in the majority of patients.

Mean reduction in gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)

The mean (95% CI) reduction in GGT was 178 (137, 219) U/L in the OCALIVA 10 mg arm, 138 (102, 174) U/L in the OCALIVA titration arm, and 8 (-48, 32) U/L in the placebo arm.


Fifty-one PBC patients with baseline ALP 1.67-times ULN or greater and/or total bilirubin greater than ULN were evaluated for a biochemical response to OCALIVA as monotherapy (24 patients

received OCALIVA 10 mg once daily and 27 patients received placebo) in a pooled analysis of data from the phase III randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled 12 month study (POISE) and from a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3- month study. At month 3, 9 (38%)

OCALIVA-treated patients achieved a response to the composite endpoint, compared to 1 (4%) placebo-treated patient. The mean (95% CI) reduction in ALP in OCALIVA-treated patients was 246 (165, 327) U/L compared to an increase of 17 (-7, 42) U/L in the placebo-treated patients.

Paediatric population

The European Medicines Agency has waived the obligation to submit the results of studies with obeticholic acid in all subsets of the paediatric population in PBC (see section 4.2 for information on paediatric use).

This medicinal product has been authorised under a so-called ‘conditional approval’ scheme. This means that further evidence on this medicinal product is awaited. The European Medicines Agency will review any new information which may become available at least every year and this SmPC will be updated as necessary.

5.2Pharmacokinetic properties


Obeticholic acid is absorbed with peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) occurring at a median time (tmax) of approximately 2 hours. Co-administration with food does not alter the extent of absorption of obeticholic acid.


Human plasma protein binding of obeticholic acid and its conjugates is greater than 99%. The volume of distribution of obeticholic acid is 618 L. The volume of distributions of glyco- and tauro-obeticholic acid has not been determined.


Obeticholic acid is conjugated with glycine or taurine in the liver and secreted into bile. These glycine and taurine conjugates of obeticholic acid are absorbed in the small intestine leading to enterohepatic recirculation. The conjugates can be deconjugated in the ileum and colon by intestinal microbiota, leading to the conversion to obeticholic acid that can be reabsorbed or excreted in faeces, the principal route of elimination.

After daily administration of obeticholic acid, there was accumulation of the glycine and taurine conjugates of obeticholic acid which have in vitro pharmacological activities similar to the parent drug. The metabolite-to -parent ratios of the glycine and taurine conjugates of obeticholic acid were 13.8 and 12.3, respectively, after daily administration. An additional third obeticholic acid metabolite, 3-glucuronide is formed but is considered to have minimal pharmacologic activity.


After administration of radiolabeled obeticholic acid, greater than 87% is excreted in faeces. Urinary excretion is less than 3%.

Dose/Time proportionality

Following multiple-dose administration of 5, 10, and 25 mg once daily for 14 days, systemic exposures of obeticholic acid increase dose proportionally. Exposures of glyco- and tauro-obeticholic acid, and total obeticholic acid increase more than proportionally with dose.

Special populations


There are limited pharmacokinetic data in elderly patients (≥ 65 years). Population pharmacokinetic analysis, developed using data from patients up to 65 years old, indicated that age is not expected to significantly influence obeticholic acid clearance from the circulation.

Paediatric population

No pharmacokinetic studies were performed with obeticholic acid in patients less than 18 years of age.


Population pharmacokinetic analysis indicated that gender does not influence obeticholic acid pharmacokinetics.


Population pharmacokinetic analysis indicated that race is not expected to influence obeticholic acid pharmacokinetics.

Renal impairment

Obeticholic acid has minimal renal elimination with less than 3% of the dose recovered in urine. Based on population pharmacokinetic analysis, renal function did not have a meaningful effect on the pharmacokinetics of obeticholic acid.

Hepatic impairment

Obeticholic acid is metabolised in the liver and intestines. The systemic exposure of obeticholic acid, its active conjugates, and endogenous bile acids is increased in patients with moderate and severe hepatic impairment when compared to healthy controls. Therefore, a modified dose regimen for patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment is recommended to achieve plasma exposure levels similar to patients with no hepatic impairment (see section 4.2).

The impact of mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A) on the pharmacokinetics of obeticholic acid was negligible, therefore, no dose adjustment is necessary for patients with mild hepatic impairment.

In subjects with mild, moderate and severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A, B, and C, respectively), mean AUC of total obeticholic acid, the sum of obeticholic acid and its two active conjugates, increased by 1.13-, 4- and 17-fold, respectively, compared to subjects with normal hepatic function following single-dose administration of 10 mg obeticholic acid.

5.3Preclinical safety data

Non-clinical data reveal no special hazard for humans based on conventional studies of safety pharmacology, repeated dose toxicity, genotoxicity, carcinogenic potential, and toxicity to fertility, reproduction and development.

Oral administration of obeticholic acid above the NOAEL to mice, rats, and dogs in pivotal, repeat dose toxicity studies resulted primarily in effects on the hepatobiliary system. These included increased liver weights, alterations in serum chemistry parameters (ALT, AST, LDH, ALP, GGT, and/or bilirubin), and macroscopic/microscopic alterations. All changes were reversible with discontinued dosing, and are consistent with and predict the dose-limiting toxicity in humans (systemic exposure at NOAEL was up to 24-fold higher than that seen at the maximum recommended human dose). In a pre- and post-natal toxicity study in rats, the tauro-conjugate of obeticholic acid was found in pups nursing from dams dosed with obeticholic acid


6.1List of excipients

Tablet core

Microcrystalline cellulose (E460)

Sodium starch glycolate (Type A)

Magnesium stearate


Poly(vinyl alcohol), partially hydrolysed (E1203)

Titanium dioxide (E171)

Macrogol 3350 (E1521)

Talc (E553b)

Iron oxide yellow (E172)


Not applicable.

6.3Shelf life

3 years

6.4Special precautions for storage

This medicinal product does not require any special storage conditions.

6.5Nature and contents of container

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles with a child resistant polypropylene closure and an aluminium foil induction seal.

Pack size: 30 or 100 film-coated tablets.

Not all pack sizes may be marketed.

6.6Special precautions for disposal

Any unused medicinal product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance with local requirements.


Intercept Pharma Ltd.

2 Pancras Square

London, N1C 4AG

United Kingdom







Date of first authorisation: 12/2016


Detailed information on this medicinal product is available on the website of the European Medicines Agency http://www.ema.europa.eu<, and on the website of {name of MS Agency (link)}>.


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