Genzyme’s Lemtrada is the latest medication to be approved by the FDA as a treatment plan for multiple sclerosis under a restricted distribution program. The drug has been in review for nearly a year in the United States but has already been in place for 40+ countries including Canada, Australia and the EU. Though exciting to have another drug in the toolbox to fight MS, this one will come with a warning “serious, sometimes fatal autoimmune conditions, serious and life-threatening infusion reactions.” The company goes on to say, “Because of its safety profile, the use of Lemtrada should be generally reserved for patients who have had inadequate response to two or more drugs indicated for the treatment of MS.” What safety concerns you ask? Thyroid cancer, melanoma, lymphoproliferative disorders, and risk of malignancies.
The drug is administrated through an infusion over five days with a second round 12 months later for three days. Patients on Lemtrada will be monitored for 48 months following the last infusion. The cost is $158,000 compared to Rebif at $135,000 for two years. Genzyme has spent 10 years developing Lemtrada. (Bloomberg.com)
The efficacy rates are significantly higher than interferon medications. Drugs.com has a detailed description of Lemtrada’s efficacy rates and a complete list of side effects. Lemtrada is also know as Alemtuzumab and has been used to treat leukemia under the name of Campath. To learn more read, “FDA Approval for Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) in MS” at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/834994. Image from: www.mims.co.uk. #MS #multiplesclerosis #MSTreatment