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Eculizumab reduces relapse-related hospitalizations in patients with NMOSD



Compared with placebo, eculizumab reduces the number of relapse-related hospitalizations and their associated treatment rates in patients with aquaporin-4 immunoglobulin-G (AQP4-IgG)–positive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), according to research presented at the meeting held by the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis. The results suggest that eculizumab may have a favorable effect on health-resource utilization.

Many patients with NMOSD, a rare autoimmune inflammatory disease, have relapses that result in hospitalization. Eculizumab (Soliris)is a humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits the terminal complement protein C5. In the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled PREVENT study, Dean M. Wingerchuk, MD, chair of neurology at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, , and colleagues found that eculizumab was associated with a 94% reduction in the risk of relapse, compared with placebo, in AQP4-IgG-positive patients with NMOSD.

In a new analysis of the PREVENT data, the investigators sought to evaluate rates of relapse-related hospitalization and associated treatment among study participants. The researchers chose time to first adjudicated relapse as their primary endpoint.

In the PREVENT study, Dr. Wingerchuk and colleagues randomized patients with AQP4-IgG-positive NMOSD to eculizumab (1,200 mg/2 weeks) or placebo. The annualized relapse-related hospitalization and treatment rates were calculated as the number of relapses requiring hospitalization or treatment divided by the total number of patient-years during the study.

Approximately 91% of participants were female. Mean age at initial clinical presentation was about 37 years. Participants’ median Expanded Disability Status Scale score at baseline was 4, and their mean annualized relapse rate in the 24 months before screening was 2. In all, 96 patients received eculizumab, and 47 received placebo. The median length of exposure to treatment was 89.4 weeks in the eculizumab group and 41.3 weeks among controls.

The rate of adverse events requiring hospitalization was 29% in the eculizumab group and 53% in the placebo group. The most common events requiring hospitalization were physician-determined relapses. Infections were the next most common events requiring hospitalization.

The overall annualized hospitalization rate was 0.26 in the eculizumab group and 0.78 in the placebo group. The difference between groups was statistically significant. In addition, the annualized relapse-related hospitalization rate was lower in the eculizumab group than in the placebo group (0.04 vs. 0.31, respectively).

The annualized relapse-related use of intravenous methylprednisolone for the eculizumab and placebo groups were 0.07 and 0.42, respectively; for use of plasma exchange, 0.02 and 0.19; and for use of high-dose oral corticosteroids, 0.04 and 0.11. The differences between groups in use of intravenous methylprednisolone and plasma exchange were statistically significant.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, which markets eculizumab, sponsored the study. Dr. Wingerchuk received grants from Alexion during the study. He also received personal fees from Biogen, BrainStorm Therapeutics, Celgene, MedImmune, Novartis, and ONO Pharmaceutical.

SOURCE: Kim H et al. ACTRIMS 2020. Abstract P197.

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