The Drug Firazyr is Safe for Older Hereditary Angioedema Patients, Study Finds

According to a story from Angioedema News, a recent study has found that the drug icatibant (marketed as Firazyr) can safely treat older patients with hereditary angioedema, a rare condition that causes episodes of swelling. The study tested the drug on patients aged 65 or older with either type 1 or type 2 hereditary angioedema. The study has allayed concerns that the drug could be less safe for older patients since they metabolize medications in a different way and are more likely to have other health problems.

About Hereditary Angioedema (HAE)

Hereditary angioedema is a genetic disorder which is characterized by chronic episodes of swelling that can affect multiple areas of the body. The condition is caused by mutations affecting the HAE gene. Swelling attacks generally occur every two weeks or so; they can usually last for several days. Swelling may affect the limbs, digestive tract, face, and airway, with blockage of the airway being the most dangerous complication. Vomiting and abdominal pain may accompany attack as well if the digestive tract is involved. Treatment involves reducing the likelihood for attacks to appear and preventing them from worsening when they do. Hereditary angioedema is typically only life-threatening if left untreated. Prevalence of the condition is estimated to be around one in 10,000 to one in 50,000, at least in the US and Canada. To learn more about hereditary angioedema, click here.

About The Research

In prior studies, Firazyr, which is a medication that is injected under the skin, has been shown to be a safe and effective therapy for providing symptom relief during acute swelling episodes. While the drug is approved in both the US and EU for use in adults, no study had been conducted that specifically focused on drug effects in older patients (age 65 or older). 

In the study, the researchers used the Icatibant Outcome Survey (IOS) to compare treatment outcomes in older patients versus younger ones. They scientists looked at data from 100 older patients and 772 young patients. Older patients were more likely to experience their first symptoms and be diagnosed later in life. Old hereditary angioedema patients were also more likely to experience longer delays in diagnosis.

Generally, the study found that patients age 65 or older experienced similar treatment outcomes in both efficacy and safety when compared to older patients despite the greater likelihood of using other medications and comorbidities.

The findings were first published in the medical journal Clinical and Translational Allergy.


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