Eculizumab: A Review in Generalized Myasthenia Gravis
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The humanized monoclonal antibody eculizumab (Soliris®) is a complement inhibitor indicated for use in anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibody-positive adults with generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) in the USA, refractory gMG in the EU, or gMG with symptoms that are difficult to control with high-dose IVIg therapy or PLEX in Japan. It is the first complement inhibitor to be approved for use in these patients. In the well-designed, 26-week REGAIN study in patients with anti-AChR-positive refractory gMG, although a statistically significant benefit of eculizumab over placebo in the prespecified primary endpoint analysis (change from baseline in MG-activities of daily living (ADL) score assessed by worst-rank ANCOVA) was not formally demonstrated, preplanned and post hoc sensitivity analyses of this outcome, as well as other secondary outcomes supported the efficacy of eculizumab. Overall, patients receiving eculizumab experienced significant improvements in the ADL, muscle strength and health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) parameters relative to patients receiving placebo. Moreover, an ongoing extension of REGAIN showed that treatment benefits with eculizumab were sustained during continued therapy for at least 52 weeks. Eculizumab was generally well tolerated in these studies, with a tolerability profile similar to that reported previously in other indications. Although several questions remain, such as duration of treatment, cost effectiveness and long-term efficacy and tolerability, current evidence indicates that eculizumab is a valuable emerging therapy for patients with refractory gMG.
During the peer review process, the manufacturer of eculizumab (Soliris®) was also offered an opportunity to review this article. Changes resulting from comments received were made on the basis of scientific and editorial merit.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The preparation of this review was not supported by any external funding.
Conflict of interest
Sohita Dhillon is a salaried employee of Adis/Springer, is responsible for the article content and declares no relevant conflicts of interest.
Additional information about this Adis Drug Review can be found at http://www.medengine.com/Redeem/39FCF0602D6721C2.
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