The Food and Drug Administration has approved midazolam (Nayzilam) nasal spray for the acute treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity – seizure clusters or acute repetitive seizures – that are distinct from a patient’s usual seizure pattern. The treatment is approved for patients with epilepsy aged 12 years and older, according to a news release from UCB, the company that markets the drug.
Nayzilam is the first FDA-approved nasal option for treating seizure clusters, and the nasally administered formulation may allow for people other than healthcare professionals to administer the benzodiazepine in patients who are actively seizing when a seizure cluster occurs, according to the news release.
Nayzilam is designed as a single-use treatment that can be carried with a patient. The drug is a Schedule IV controlled substance.
Nayzilam’s efficacy was studied in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that enrolled patients with epilepsy who had intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity that were distinct from the patient’s usual seizure pattern.
During an open-label phase, 292 patients in the absence of seizure received two 5-mg doses of Nayzilam 10 minutes apart. During the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase, 201 patients treated a single seizure cluster episode in an outpatient setting with Nayzilam (134 patients) or placebo (67 patients). If the seizure activity persisted or recurred, patients in both groups had the option to receive a subsequent unblinded dose of Nayzilam between 10 minutes and 6 hours after the initial blinded dose of study drug.
Compared with patients who received placebo, significantly more patients who received Nayzilam had termination of seizures within 10 minutes after the initial blinded dose of study drug (80.6% vs. 70.1%) and the absence of a recurrence of seizures within 6 hours of the initial blinded dose of study drug (58.2% vs. 37.3%). Adverse reactions that occurred in 5% or more of patients who received Nayzilam were somnolence, headache, nasal discomfort, throat irritation, and rhinorrhea.
Respiratory depression was observed with the administration of Nayzilam during clinical trials. Cardiac or respiratory arrest have occurred after administration of midazolam, and midazolam is associated with a high incidence of partial or complete impairment of recall for several hours following an administered dose. Nayzilam is contraindicated in patients with acute narrow-angle glaucoma. In addition, concomitant use of opioids, moderate or strong CYP3A4 inhibitors, or other CNS depressants entails risks. Antiepileptic drugs, including Nayzilam, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior, according to the announcement.