Lundbeck Inc. (“Lundbeck”), a wholly owned subsidiary of H. Lundbeck A/S in Denmark (Copenhagen: LUN), announced today that Sabril® (vigabatrin) Tablets and Powder for Oral Solution are now available for prescribing in the United States.
In August 2009, Sabril was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as monotherapy for pediatric patients one month to two years of age with infantile spasms (IS) for whom the potential benefits outweigh the potential risk of vision loss. The disorder can be difficult to treat because of the frequency of seizures. Sabril was also approved for adult use in combination with other treatments for refractory complex partial seizures (CPS) that have not responded adequately to previous drug therapies and for whom the potential benefits outweigh the risk of vision loss. It is not indicated as a first line agent for CPS.
“While Sabril is not for everyone confronting these challenging epilepsies, we are so pleased to be able to make this therapy available in the U.S. for the patients who need it,” said Jeffrey S. Aronin, CEO, Lundbeck Inc. “The tireless work of our employees, the epilepsy community and the FDA made this day possible. Above all, we are gratified to be able to bring an important new treatment option to patients who can benefit from having approved alternatives to consider.”
Sabril causes permanent bilateral concentric visual field constriction in 30 percent or more of patients that ranges in severity from mild to severe, including tunnel vision to within 10 degrees of visual fixation and can result in disability. In some cases, Sabril also can damage the central retina and may decrease visual acuity. Sabril causes permanent vision loss in infants, children and adults. The onset is unpredictable and can occur within weeks of starting treatment, or sooner, or at any time during treatment, even after months or years.
Because of the risk of permanent vision loss, Sabril is available through an FDA-mandated Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), which specifies elements to manage the risk of permanent vision loss including a special restricted distribution program called SHARE (Support Help and Resources for Epilepsy), required vision testing, a patient registry, and mandatory benefit-risk assessments. The Sabril REMS was a critical component in receiving FDA approval.
“For patients and their families, a diagnosis of infantile spasms or the failure to obtain seizure control for refractory complex partial seizures can be overwhelming, and making treatment decisions can be very difficult,” said Michael C. Smith, M.D., Director, Rush Epilepsy Center and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a member of the Professional Advisory Board of the Epilepsy Foundation of America. “Because these are truly challenging types of epilepsies, it’s important that physicians, patients and their families have therapy options available to them and the information they need to make an informed treatment decision. We, along with the broader epilepsy community, applaud Lundbeck for their unwavering commitment to bringing Sabril forward in spite of the many challenges along the way.”
The Sabril REMS is administered through Lundbeck’s special restricted distribution program called SHARE (Support, Help and Resources for Epilepsy), a comprehensive patient and physician support program designed to provide tools and resources for all of Lundbeck’s epilepsy products, including Sabril. Through SHARE and the recently established SHARE Call Center, patients, caregivers and physicians will have access to information and tools to help manage severe and uncontrolled epilepsy, programs to help facilitate initial and ongoing use of Sabril, comprehensive financial support programs, and support from a dedicated team.
“This is a great day for those of us who treat children with IS,” said W. Donald Shields, Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Program at the University of California at Los Angeles, who helped lead a national study evaluating Sabril in the mid-1990s and eagerly anticipated its availability based on positive initial results. “While telling parents their child has IS will never be easy, for the first time we are able to offer them an FDA-approved treatment option and one I strongly believe in.”
Commitment to Helping Eligible Patients Get Access to Sabril
The company is committed to help ensure that no eligible patient with demonstrated economic need will be denied access to Sabril and has comprehensive financial patient support programs in place to support these patients in need.
As part of its patient assistance program, uninsured patients may qualify to get Sabril at no cost. Patients who are insured but have demonstrated a need for support with their co-pay or co-insurance costs may qualify for Lundbeck’s cost-sharing assistance program.