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FDA Approves New Treatment for Late-Onset Pompe Disease

By Denise Mann
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Lumizyme (alglucosidase alfa) for patients ages 8 years and older with late-onset (non-infantile) Pompe disease, a rare genetic disorder.

Pompe disease occurs in an estimated 1 in every 40,000 to 300,000 births. Its primary symptom is heart and skeletal muscle weakness, progressing to respiratory weakness and death from respiratory failure.

In Pompe disease, a gene mutation prevents the body from making an enzyme, or making enough of the enzyme called acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA), necessary for proper muscle functioning. GAA is used by the heart and muscle cells to convert a form of sugar called glycogen into energy. Without the enzyme action, glycogen builds up in the cells and, ultimately, weakens the heart and muscles.

Lumizyme is believed to work by replacing the deficient GAA, thereby reducing the accumulated glycogen in heart and skeletal muscle cells.

“Pompe disease is a devastating condition without the appropriate treatment,” said Julie Beitz, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The approval of Lumizyme will provide an important treatment for patients diagnosed later in life with Pompe disease.”

Lumizyme is being approved with a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS). It will only be available through a restricted distribution system called the Lumizyme ACE (Alglucosidase Alfa Control and Education) Program to ensure that it is used by the correct patient group.

Lumizyme will carry a Boxed Warning because of the risk of anaphylaxis, severe allergic reactions, and immune-mediated reactions.

Currently, the only other treatment for Pompe disease available in the United States is Myozyme, which is also manufactured by Genzyme at its manufacturing facilities in Framingham and Allston Landing, Mass. Myozyme has been in short supply due to limited manufacturing capacity. The manufacturer reserved Myozyme to treat infants and children with Pompe disease because younger patients generally have a much more aggressive form of the disease.

Some adult patients in the U.S. received Lumizyme under a temporary access program. The approval of Lumizyme will ensure that treatment is available for all U.S. adult Pompe patients in need of treatment. Lumizyme is manufactured at Genzyme facilities in Ireland and Belgium.

Lumizyme's safety and effectiveness have not been evaluated in patients with infantile-onset Pompe disease or in patients ages 8 years and younger with late-onset disease. These patients should be treated with Myozyme, not Lumizyme.

The safety and efficacy of Lumizyme are based on a clinical study in 90 patients, ages 10 years to 70 years, with late-onset Pompe disease. The most commonly reported side effects for Lumizyme were infusion-related reactions and included severe allergic reactions, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, shortness of breath, itchy skin, skin rash, neck pain, partial hearing loss, flushing, pain in extremities, and chest discomfort.

Myozyme and Lumizyme are marketed by Cambridge, Mass.-based Genzyme.

SOURCES:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

May 25, 2010



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