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FDA approves diazepam nasal spray for seizure clusters


The Food and Drug Administration has approved Valtoco (diazepam nasal) for the acute treatment of seizure clusters in patients with epilepsy aged 6 years and older.

The drug may be administered by a care partner outside of a medical setting for the treatment of intermittent, stereotypic episodes of frequent seizure activity that are distinct from a patient’s usual seizure pattern. The formulation is the first nasal spray approved by the FDA as a rescue treatment for people with epilepsy aged 6 years and older, according to Neurelis, the developer of the drug. Midazolam nasal spray, approved in May 2019, is indicated for patients with epilepsy aged 12 years and older.

Investigators evaluated the safety of diazepam nasal spray in a long-term, open-label, repeat-dose, clinical trial. The study enrolled 130 patients aged 6 years and older; more than 2,000 seizures were treated. The drug generally was safe and well tolerated, and the most common adverse reactions were somnolence, headache, and nasal discomfort.

The FDA has granted Valtoco 7 years of orphan drug exclusivity. In the United States, about 170,000 patients with epilepsy are at risk of cluster or acute repetitive seizures, the company said. Until recently, approved rescue medications had been rectally administered.

Patients may receive a second dose of diazepam nasal spray at least 4 hours after an initial dose if needed, but caregivers should not use more than two doses to treat a single episode, according to the prescribing information. In addition, the prescribing information recommends that diazepam nasal spray be used for no more than one episode every 5 days and no more than five episodes per month.

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