The FDA has approved a few more new medications to close out 2016.
Spinraza was just recently approved to treat children and adults with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare and often fatal genetic disease affecting muscle strength and movement. Spinraza is an injection administered into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord.
“There has been a long-standing need for a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, the most common genetic cause of death in infants, and a disease that can affect people at any stage of life,” said Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We worked hard to review this application quickly; we could not be more pleased to have the first approved treatment for this debilitating disease.”
SMA is a hereditary disease that causes weakness and muscle wasting because of the loss of lower motor neurons controlling movement. There is wide variability in age of onset, symptoms and rate of progression. Spinraza is approved for use across the range of spinal muscular atrophy patients.
Rubraca was also approved in December to treat women with a advanced ovarian cancer who have been treated with two or more chemotherapies and whose tumors have a specific gene mutation (deleterious BRCA) as identified by an FDA-approved companion diagnostic test.
“Today’s approval is another example of the trend we are seeing in developing targeted agents to treat cancers caused by specific mutations in a patient’s genes,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and acting director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence.
“Women with these gene abnormalities who have tried at least two chemotherapy treatments for their ovarian cancer now have an additional treatment option.”
The National Cancer Institute estimates that 22,280 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016 and an estimated 14,240 will die of this disease. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of patients with ovarian cancer have a BRCA gene mutation.
For patients two years of age and older with mild to moderate eczema, Eucrisa was approved. Atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, is often referred to as “eczema,” which is a general term for the several types of inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema and 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.
“Today’s approval provides another treatment option for patients dealing with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis,” said Amy Egan, deputy director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).
Serious side effects of Eucrisa include hypersensitivity reactions. Eucrisa should not be used in patients who have had a hypersensitivity reaction to Eucrisa’s active ingredient, crisaborole. The most common side effect of Eucrisa is application site pain, including burning or stinging.
Zinplava was approved in October to reduce the recurrence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in patients aged 18 and older. Zinplava is used together with antibacterial drugs that are given to treat CDI. Clostridium difficile causes inflammation of the colon and diarrhea, which can be deadly. Zinplava is administered intravenously by healthcare professionals.
Adverse effects associated with the use of Zinplava may include, but are not limited to, the following:
In addition, heart failure was reported more commonly in Zinplava-treated patients with a history of congestive heart failure (CHF) in the two Phase III clinical trials. In patients with a history of CHF, Zinplava should be reserved for use when the benefit outweighs the risk.
The treatment of soft tissue sarcoma just got some help with the approval of Lartruvo with doxorubicin to treat adults with certain types of soft tissue sarcoma (STS), which are cancers that develop in muscles, fat, tendons or other soft tissues. Lartruvo is approved for use with the FDA-approved chemotherapy drug doxorubicin for the treatment of patients with STS who cannot be cured with radiation or surgery and who have a type of STS for which an anthracycline (chemotherapy) is an appropriate treatment.
“For these patients, Lartruvo, added to doxorubicin, provides a new treatment option,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and acting director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence. “This is the first new therapy approved by the FDA for the initial treatment of soft tissue sarcoma since doxorubicin’s approval more than 40 years ago.”
And finally, Exondys 51 was just approved to treat patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This is the first drug approved to treat patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Exondys 51 is specifically indicated for patients who have a confirmed mutation of the dystrophin gene amenable to exon 51 skipping, which affects about 13 percent of the population with DMD.
“Patients with a particular type of Duchenne muscular dystrophy will now have access to an approved treatment for this rare and devastating disease,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “In rare diseases, new drug development is especially challenging due to the small numbers of people affected by each disease and the lack of medical understanding of many disorders. Accelerated approval makes this drug available to patients based on initial data, but we eagerly await learning more about the efficacy of this drug through a confirmatory clinical trial that the company must conduct after approval.”
DMD is a rare genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle deterioration and weakness. It is the most common type of muscular dystrophy. DMD is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that helps keep muscle cells intact.The first symptoms are usually seen between three and five years of age, and worsen over time. The disease often occurs in people without a known family history of the condition and primarily affects boys, but in rare cases it can affect girls. DMD occurs in about one out of every 3,600 male infants worldwide.
People with DMD progressively lose the ability to perform activities independently and often require use of a wheelchair by their early teens. As the disease progresses, life-threatening heart and respiratory conditions can occur. Patients typically succumb to the disease in their 20s or 30s; however, disease severity and life expectancy vary.