People who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) now have an alternative to the original treatment. After over two decades, the FDA finally approved a new drug for this condition. Until this approval, people who suffered from ALS used riluzole, the only medicine available for this diseases.
New Drug, New Hope?
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative condition which affects the nerve cells in the spinal cord and the brain. This causes a decline in the person’s muscles and motor neurons. People who suffer from this condition eventually lose the ability to move and eat on their own or even speech.
Now, the FDA gave its approval to Radicava (edaravone). Riluzole has been the prescribed drug for ALS since its own approval back in 1995. A test in Japan was the one that made the FDA approve this new drug. The findings of the study showed that people who have ALS had a smaller decline in their normal functioning when they took edaravone.
The health agency gave its mark of approval following the results of a test carried out in Japan. This study showed that people who suffer from ALS had a smaller decline in their normal functioning when they were taking edaravone.
The producer of the drug, MT Pharma, mentioned that this new drug could slow the physical function decline by more than 30%. Eric Bastings, the deputy director of FDA’s neurology products, said that they talked with the drug developer to file a marketing application in the US. This came after the FDA was informed of the Japanese study and its encouraging results.
“This is the first new treatment approved by the FDA for ALS in many years, and we are pleased that people with ALS will now have an additional option,” mentioned Eric Bastings.
The ALS Association, a non-profit organization, was pleased to learn about the FDA’s approval. It also mentioned that it is offering its support. The Association drew attention to this new drug’s potential as it may come as an alternative to the formerly single treatment.
The price of the drug, however, is not that small. It is currently listed at $1,000 per infusion. This means that ALS patients will have to pay almost $150,000 every year for this new drug. The new treatment is going to become available in the US at the end of this summer.
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