FDA/CDC

FDA okays first sublingual med for agitation in serious mental illness


 

The Food and Drug Administration has approved dexmedetomidine (Igalmi, BioXcel Therapeutics) sublingual film for the acute treatment of agitation associated with schizophrenia or bipolar I or II disorder in adults.

This is the first FDA-approved, orally dissolving, self-administered sublingual treatment for this indication. With a demonstrated onset of action as early as 20 minutes, it shows a high response rate in patients at both 120-mcg and 180-mcg doses.

A stamp saying "FDA approved." Olivier Le Moal/Getty Images

An estimated 7.3 million individuals in the United States are diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorders, and up to one-quarter of them experience episodes of agitation that can occur 10-17 times annually. These episodes represent a significant burden for patients, caregivers, and the health care system.

“There are large numbers of patients who experience agitation associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, and this condition has been a long-standing challenge for health care professionals to treat,” said John Krystal, MD, the Robert L. McNeil Jr. Professor of Translational Research and chair of the department of psychiatry at Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

“The approval of Igalmi, a self-administered film with a desirable onset of action, represents a milestone moment. It provides health care teams with an innovative tool to help control agitation. As clinicians, we welcome this much-needed new oral treatment option,” he added.

“Igalmi is the first new acute treatment for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder–associated agitation in nearly a decade and represents a differentiated approach to helping patients manage this difficult and debilitating symptom,” said Vimal Mehta, PhD, CEO of BioXcel Therapeutics.

The FDA approval of Igalmi is based on data from two pivotal randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, phase 3 trials that evaluated Igalmi for the acute treatment of agitation associated with schizophrenia (SERENITY I) or bipolar I or II disorder (SERENITY II).

The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥5% and at least twice the rate of placebo) were somnolence, paresthesia or oral hypoesthesia, dizziness, dry mouth, hypotension, and orthostatic hypotension. All adverse drug reactions were mild to moderate in severity. While Igalmi was not associated with any treatment-related serious adverse effects in phase 3 studies, it may cause notable side effects, including hypotension, orthostatic hypotension, bradycardia, QT interval prolongation, and somnolence.

As previously reported by this news organization, data from the phase 3 SERENITY II trial that evaluated Igalmi in bipolar disorders were published in JAMA.

A version of this article first appeared on Medscape.com.

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