The U.S. FDA approved Emflaza (deflazacort) tablets and oral suspension to treat patients age 5 years and older with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare genetic disorder that causes progressive muscle deterioration and weakness.
Emflaza is a corticosteroid that works by decreasing inflammation and reducing the activity of the immune system. Corticosteroids are commonly used to treat DMD across the world. This is the first FDA approval of any corticosteroid to treat DMD and the first approval of deflazacort for any use in the United States.
“This is the first treatment approved for a wide range of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” said Billy Dunn, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We hope that this treatment option will benefit many patients with DMD.”
DMD 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 3 and 5 years of age and worsen over time. The disease primarily affects boys.
The FDA granted this application fast track designation and priority review. The drug also received orphan drug designation, which provides incentives to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases.
Emflaza is marketed by Marathon Pharmaceuticals of Northbrook, Illinois.