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FDA approves Uplizna for treatment of anti-AQP4 antibody–positive NMOSD


The Food and Drug Administration has approved Uplizna (inebilizumab-cdon) for the treatment of adult patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) who are anti-AQP4 antibody positive. Uplizna is the second approved treatment for the disorder.

Approval was based on results from the global, placebo-controlled N-MOmentum trial, which included 213 anti-AQP4 antibody–positive patients and 17 anti-AQP4 antibody–negative patients who received inebilizumab-cdon or placebo. Just under 90% of patients in the positive group remained relapse free 6 months after the initial dosing, compared with 58% of patients taking placebo. People who took inebilizumab also saw a reduction in NMOSD-related hospitalizations. There was no evidence of a benefit in patients who were anti-AQP4 antibody negative.

Inebilizumab-cdon was safe and well tolerated during the trial, with the most common adverse events being urinary tract infection (20%), nasopharyngitis (13%), infusion reaction (12%), arthralgia (11%), and headache (10%). The drug is approved as twice-yearly maintenance after initial dosing. The prescribing information for Uplizna includes a warning for infusion reactions, potential depletion of certain proteins (hypogammaglobulinemia), and potential increased risk of infection—including progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy—and potential reactivation of hepatitis B and tuberculosis.

“NMOSD is an extremely challenging disease to treat. Patients experience unpredictable attacks that can lead to permanent disability from blindness and paralysis. In addition, each subsequent attack may result in a cumulative worsening of disability,” Bruce Cree, MD, PhD, lead investigator for the N-MOmentum trial and professor of clinical neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a press release. “Uplizna is an important new treatment option that provides prescribing physicians and patients living with NMOSD a therapy with proven efficacy, a favorable safety profile and a twice-a-year maintenance dosing schedule.”

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