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EU approval for Ilaris®


Novartis has announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved llaris (canakinumab, ACZ885) in the treatment of patients with acute gouty arthritis who suffer frequent attacks, and whose symptoms cannot or should not be managed with current treatment options. Ilaris is the first biologic approved in the EU for symptomatic pain relief in a gouty arthritis indication, and is administered in a single, subcutaneous injection of 150mg.[1]
Ilaris is specifically indicated for the ‘symptomatic treatment of adult patients with frequent gouty arthritis attacks (at least three attacks in the previous 12 months) in whom non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and colchicine are contraindicated, are not tolerated, or do not provide an adequate response, and in whom repeated courses of corticosteroids are not appropriate’.[1]
The EC also granted an additional year of data exclusivity to Novartis based on the significant clinical benefit over existing treatments demonstrated for Ilaris.
“The approval of Ilaris for acute gouty arthritis attacks in patients without appropriate treatment options provides new hope for those debilitated by this excruciating condition,” said David Epstein, Division Head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. “Ilaris targets interleukin-1 beta, a key player in gouty arthritis inflammation. Our vision is to realise the potential of Ilaris wherever IL-1 beta plays a key role and available treatment options don’t give patients the help they need.”
Gouty arthritis, commonly referred to as gout, is a serious, chronic and progressive inflammatory disease that generally affects 1 to 4% of adults.[2,7-10] Gouty arthritis attacks occur when the body has a strong inflammatory response to uric acid crystals forming in the affected joint, typically of the toe, foot, ankle, or knee.[2,4] The disease is associated with a high prevalence of comorbidities, such as hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease. These conditions can lead to contraindications for existing therapies and complications for disease management.[5,6,11,12]
Data from two Phase III trials and their extensions, which supported the EU approval for Ilaris in acute gouty arthritis attacks, showed that patients treated with Ilaris experienced significantly greater pain relief compared to the injectable steroid triamcinolone acetonide (TA).[13] The majority of adverse events (AEs) were mild to moderate, with infections (e.g. upper respiratory tract infections and nasopharyngitis) being the most frequent of them.
  1. Ilaris [prescribing information]. Surrey, UK: Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd; 2013.
  2. Schumacher HR, Jr. The pathogenesis of gout. Cleve Clin J Med 2008; 75 Suppl 5:S2-4.
  3. So A, De Meulemeester M, Pikhlak A, et al. Canakinumab for the treatment of acute flares in difficult-to-treat gouty arthritis: Results of a multicenter, phase II, dose-ranging study. Arthritis Rheum 2010; 62(10):3064-76.
  4. Mandell BF. Clinical manifestations of hyperuricemia and gout. Cleve Clin J Med 2008; 75 Suppl 5:S5-8.
  5. Harrold LR, Yood RA, Mikuls TR, et al. Sex differences in gout epidemiology: evaluation and treatment. Ann Rheum Dis 2006; 65(10):1368-72.
  6. Riedel AA, Nelson M, Wallace K, Joseph-Ridge N, Cleary M, Fam AG. Prevalence of Comorbid Conditions and Prescription Medication Use Among Patients With Gout and Hyperuricemia in a Managed Care Setting. J Clin Rheumatol 2004; 10(6):308-14.
  7. Badley E, DesMeules M. Arthritis in Canada: an ongoing challenge. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada. 2003.
  8. Begg S, Vos T, Barker B, Stevenson C, Stanley L, Lopez AD, 2007. The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003. PHE 82. Canberra: AIHW.
  9. Annemans l, Spaepen E, Gaskin M, et al. Gout in the UK and Germany: prevalence, comorbidities and management in general practice 2000-2005. Ann Rheum Dis. 2008; 67(7):960-6.
  10. Zhu Y, Pandya B, Choi H. Increasing gout prevalence in the US over the last two decades: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Presented at: The American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, Oct, 2010, Atlanta, GA, USA.
  11. Choi HK, Ford ES, Li C, Curhan G. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in patients with gout: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arthritis Rheum 2007; 57(1):109-15.
  12. Becker MA, Schumacher HR, Espinoza LR, et al. The urate-lowering efficacy and safety of febuxostat in the treatment of the hyperuricemia of gout: the CONFIRMS trial. Arthritis Res Ther 2010; 12(2):R63.
  13. Schlesinger N, Alten RE, Bardin T, et al. Canakinumab for acute gouty arthritis in patients with limited treatment options: results from two randomised, multicentre, active-controlled, double-blind trials and their initial extensions. Ann Rheum Dis 2012; 71(11):1839-48.

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