Category: Approvals

Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) Approved

FDA approves new drug to treat multiple sclerosis

On March 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) to treat adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). This is the first drug approved by the FDA for PPMS. Ocrevus is an intravenous infusion given by a health care professional.

“Multiple sclerosis can have a profound impact on a person’s life,” said Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This therapy not only provides another treatment option for those with relapsing MS, but for the first time provides an approved therapy for those with primary progressive MS.”

MS is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It is among the most common causes of neurological disability in young adults and occurs more frequently in women than men. For most people with MS, episodes of worsening function (relapses) are initially followed by recovery periods (remissions). Over time, recovery may be incomplete, leading to progressive decline in function and increased disability. Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40.

PPMS is characterized by steadily worsening function from the onset of symptoms, often without early relapses or remissions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 15 percent of patients with MS have PPMS.

The efficacy of Ocrevus for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS was shown in two clinical trials in 1,656 participants treated for 96 weeks. Both studies compared Ocrevus to another MS drug, Rebif (interferon beta-1a). In both studies, the patients receiving Ocrevus had reduced relapse rates and reduced worsening of disability compared to Rebif.

In a study of PPMS in 732 participants treated for at least 120 weeks, those receiving Ocrevus showed a longer time to the worsening of disability compared to placebo.

Ocrevus should not be used in patients with hepatitis B infection or a history of life-threatening infusion-related reactions to Ocrevus. Ocrevus must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that describes important information about the drug’s uses and risks. Ocrevus can cause infusion-related reactions, which can be serious. These reactions include, but are not limited to, itchy skin, rash, hives, skin redness, flushing, low blood pressure, fever, tiredness, dizziness, headache, throat irritation, shortness of breath, swelling of the throat, nausea, and fast heartbeat. Additionally, Ocrevus may increase the risk for malignancies, particularly breast cancer. Delay Ocrevus treatment for patients with active infections. Vaccination with live or live attenuated vaccines is not recommended in patients receiving Ocrevus.

In addition to the infusion-related reactions, the most common side effect of Ocrevus seen in the clinical trials for relapsing forms of MS was upper respiratory tract infection. The most common side effects in the study of PPMS were upper respiratory tract infection, skin infection, and lower respiratory tract infection.

The FDA granted this application breakthrough therapy designation, fast track designation, and priority review.

The FDA granted approval of Ocrevus to Genentech, Inc.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The Agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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Dupixent (dupilumab) Approved

FDA approves new eczema drug Dupixent

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Dupixent (dupilumab) injection to treat adults with moderate-to-severe eczema (atopic dermatitis). Dupixent is intended for patients whose eczema is not controlled adequately by topical therapies, or those for whom topical therapies are not advisable. Dupixent can be used with or without topical corticosteroids.

“FDA’s approval of Dupixent demonstrates our commitment to approving new and innovative therapies for patients with skin disease,” said Julie Beitz, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Eczema can cause significant skin irritation and discomfort for patients, so it is important to have a variety of treatment options available to patients, including those patients whose disease is not controlled by topical therapies.”

Atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, is often referred to as “eczema,” which is a general term for several types of inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema; onset typically begins in childhood and can last through adulthood. The cause of atopic dermatitis is a combination of genetic, immune and environmental factors. In atopic dermatitis, the skin develops red, scaly and crusted bumps, which are extremely itchy. Scratching leads to swelling, cracking, “weeping” clear fluid, and finally, coarsening and thickening of the skin.

Dupixent is administered as an injection under the skin. Dupixent’s active ingredient is an antibody (dupilumab) that binds to a protein [interleukin-4 (IL-4) receptor alpha subunit (IL-4Ra)], that causes inflammation. By binding to this protein, Dupixent is able to inhibit the inflammatory response that plays a role in the development of atopic dermatitis.

The safety and efficacy of Dupixent were established in three placebo-controlled clinical trials with a total of 2,119 adult participants with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis not adequately controlled by topical medication(s). Overall, participants who received Dupixent achieved greater response, defined as clear or almost clear skin, and experienced a reduction in itch after 16 weeks of treatment.

Dupixent can cause side effects such as serious allergic reactions and eye problems, such as pink eye (conjunctivitis) and inflammation of the cornea (keratitis). If patients experience new or worsening eye symptoms such as redness, itching, pain or visual changes, they should consult a health care provider. The most common side effects include injection site reactions; cold sores in the mouth or on the lips; and eye and eyelid inflammation, including redness, swelling and itching.

The safety and efficacy of Dupixent have not been established in the treatment of asthma. Patients who also have asthma should not adjust or stop their asthma treatment without talking to their physicians.

The FDA granted the application for Dupixent Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy designation.

The FDA granted the approval of Dupixent to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The Agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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Trulance (plecanatide) Approved

FDA approves Trulance for Chronic Idiopathic Constipation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Trulance (plecanatide) for the treatment of Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC) in adult patients.

“No one medication works for all patients suffering from chronic gastrointestinal disorders,” said Julie Beitz, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “With the availability of new therapies, patients and their doctors can select the most appropriate treatment for their condition.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 42 million people are affected by constipation. Chronic idiopathic constipation is a diagnosis given to those who experience persistent constipation and for whom there is no structural or biochemical explanation.

Trulance, taken orally once daily, works locally in the upper GI tract to stimulate secretion of intestinal fluid and support regular bowel function.

The safety and efficacy of Trulance were established in two 12-week, placebo-controlled trials including 1,775 adult participants. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or Trulance, once daily. Participants in the trials were required to have been diagnosed with constipation at least six months prior to the study onset and to have less than three defecations per week in the previous three months, as well as other symptoms associated with constipation. Participants receiving Trulance were more likely to experience improvement in the frequency of complete spontaneous bowel movements than those receiving placebo, and also had improvements in stool frequency and consistency and straining.

Trulance should not be used in children less than six years of age due to the risk of serious dehydration. Trulance should be avoided in patients six years of age to 18 years of age. The safety and effectiveness of Trulance have not been established in patients less than 18 years of age. Trulance should not be used in patients with known or suspected mechanical gastrointestinal obstruction.

The most common and serious side effects of Trulance was diarrhea. Patients may experience severe diarrhea. If severe diarrhea occurs, patients should stop taking Trulance and contact their health care provider.

Trulance is manufactured by New York, New York-based Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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