Newly Approved ALS Drug Now Available

Radicava (edaravone) for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is now available. The drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May, 2017 based on a pivotal study showing it slowed the decline in physical functions by 33% in ALS patients.
ALS, or "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. As the disease progresses, patients typically lose the ability to move, speak, swallow, and breathe. Patients typically die within 3 -5 years of diagnosis and any treatment that can delay the progression is a welcome one for the ALS community.
Atsushi Fujimoto, President, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, the manufacturers of Radicava said, “After two decades without a new treatment, people with ALS finally have access to a new clinically meaningful treatment option for this horrible, progressive and incurable disease.”
The drug is administered intravenously and depending on the patient’s health plan and their doctor’s preference, it can be administered at an ALS center, physician’s office, free-standing infusion center, hospital outpatient department or through a home infusion provider.
According to the prescription information, Radicava treatment begins with the drug infused daily for 14 consecutive days, followed by a 2-week drug-free period. After that, the drug can be administered daily Monday through Friday for 2 weeks followed by another 2-week drug-free period.
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America has a support program in place to help clinicians identify an infusion service site most appropriate for the patient. Case Managers are also available to help explain benefits and co-pay options for eligible patients.
Last week, we reported that actor and playwright Sam Shepard passed away following his brief battle with ALS.
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