MONDAY, April 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Mavenclad (cladribine) tablets have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults.
An agency news release said the drug is recommended for people who have had an inadequate response to, or are unable to tolerate, another medication approved for MS. Mavenclad is not sanctioned for a form of MS called clinically isolated syndrome.
MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Most people have initial symptoms between ages 20 and 40, more often in women than men. The disease progresses over time and typically leads to lifelong disability.
Mavenclad's effectiveness was shown in clinical studies involving 1,326 people with relapsing forms of MS who had least one relapse in the prior 12 months. The drug significantly decreased the number of relapses compared to a placebo, the FDA said.
Mavenclad must be dispensed with a patient medication guide that describes the drug's uses and risks. The medication's label includes a boxed warning of increased risk of cancer, worsening existing cancer, and fetal harm. The drug should not be used in pregnant women and among people of reproductive age who do not use contraception during treatment and for six months afterward, the FDA said. Mavenclad should be stopped if the user becomes pregnant.
Other significant warnings include a risk of a drop in white blood cells called lymphocytes, infections, bone marrow suppression and liver injury. The most common adverse reactions include upper respiratory tract infection and headache.
Mavenclad is produced by EMD Serono, based in Rockland, Mass.
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