FDA Offers New Hope for Treating ALS Patients

May 05, 2017

The U.S. FDA approved Radicava (edaravone) to treat patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“After learning about the use of edaravone to treat ALS in Japan, we rapidly engaged with the drug developer about filing a marketing application in the United States,” said Eric Bastings, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This is the first new treatment approved by the FDA for ALS in many years, and we are pleased that people with ALS will now have an additional option.”

Radicava is an intravenous infusion given by a health care professional. It is administered with an initial treatment cycle of daily dosing for 14 days, followed by a 14-day drug-free period. Subsequent treatment cycles consist of dosing on 10 of 14 days, followed by 14 days drug-free. According to a Reuters article, the drugmaker says RADICAVA will cost $1,086 per infusion, or $11,194 per dosage cycle, but will offer co-pay assistance for commercially insured patients to help reduce their out-of-pocket costs

The efficacy of edaravone for the treatment of ALS was demonstrated in a six-month clinical trial conducted in Japan. In the trial, 137 participants were randomized to receive edaravone or placebo. At Week 24, individuals receiving edaravone declined less on a clinical assessment of daily functioning compared to those receiving a placebo.

The FDA gave approval of Radicava to Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America Inc.

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