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FDA NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Jan. 29, 2013
Media Inquiries: Morgan Liscinsky, 301-796-0397; morgan.liscinsky@fda.hhs.gov
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

FDA approves new orphan drug Kynamro to treat inherited cholesterol disorder

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Kynamro (mipomersen sodium) injection as an addition to lipid-lowering medications and diet to treat patients with a rare type of high cholesterol called homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH). The addition of Kynamro helps to reduce low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), apolipoprotein B, total cholesterol, and non-high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (non HDL-C). 

HoFH, an inherited condition that affects about one out of every one million people in the United States, occurs when the body is unable to remove LDL-C, often called “bad” cholesterol, from the blood causing abnormally high levels of circulating LDL-C. For those with HoFH, heart attacks and death often occur before age 30. Kynamro is an orphan drug approval, meaning it was developed to treat a disorder affecting fewer than 200,000 people. In December 2012, the FDA approved Juxtapid (lomitapide) to reduce LDL-C, total cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, and non HDL-C in patients with HoFH.

“Kynamro, an injection given once a week, works with other lipid-lowering medications and diet to impair the creation of the lipid particles that ultimately give rise to LDL-C,” said Eric Colman, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The safety and effectiveness of Kynamro were evaluated in a clinical trial of 51 patients with HoFH. On average, levels of LDL-C fell by about 25 percent during the first 26 weeks in those receiving the drug. Kynamro carries a Boxed Warning on the serious risk of liver toxicity because it is associated with liver enzyme abnormalities and accumulation of fat in the liver, which could lead to progressive liver disease with chronic use.

The FDA approved Kynamro with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) with elements to assure safe use, including prescriber and pharmacy certification, and documentation of safe-use conditions, which requires a prescription authorization form for each new prescription.

The most common adverse reactions in the clinical trial included injection site reactions, flu-like symptoms, nausea, headache and elevations in liver enzymes (serum transaminases).

The FDA is requiring four postmarketing studies for Kynamro: the development of a sensitive assay that binds double-stranded (ds) DNA; a study to assess for the presence of antibodies to ds-DNA in patients treated with Kynamro; a long-term registry of patients with HoFH to determine the long-term safety of Kynamro; and an enhanced pharmacovigilance program to monitor reports of malignancy, immune-mediated reactions, and hepatic abnormalities in patients treated with Kynamro.

Kynamro is manufactured by Cambridge, Mass.-based Genzyme Corp.

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The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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