Satralizumab May Lower Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder Relapse in Patients

By Danielle Bradshaw from In The Cloud Copy

It has been shown in a recently published trial that satralizumab could potentially reduce the risk of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) relapse. The medication has proven very effective in blocking the IL-6 receptors which are responsible for the progression of the disease. There is also a great deal of evidence indicating that satralizumab was well-tolerated among users in the study and is, therefore, a viable long-term treatment option.

What is Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder?

NMOSD (also called Devic disease) is a rare chronic disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord and is characterized by inflammation of the spinal cord and optic nerves (known as myelitis and optic neuritis, respectively). The disease often shows itself as:

  • Eye pain which can be either unilateral or bilateral
  • Loss of visual acuity
  • Pain in the spine or limbs
  • Mild to severe paralysis of the lower limbs.
  • Weakened control of certain autonomous bodily functions such as bladder or bowel movement

Because of the similarity in symptoms, NMOSD is often mistaken as multiple sclerosis in the early stages of the disease.

How the Testing Was Conducted

Satralizumab is a monoclonal antibody (moAB), which means that it works by targeting specific entities within the body that in some way contribute to illnesses and diseases – in this case, the interleukin-6 receptor – and blocks it. The drug was tested in a phase 3 parallel-group trial that was also double-blind and placebo-controlled.

There was a total of 95 adults that suffered from either aquaporin-4 antibody seropositive (meaning that they possess antibodies that may cause NMOSD) or seronegative (meaning that they do not possess antibodies that may cause NMOSD) neuromyelitis that was randomly assigned 2:1 to either take 120mg of satralizumab or the placebo. The participants were injected with the medication every two weeks at first (weeks 0, 2, and 4) and then every four weeks thereafter.

The Results of the Testing

The number of patents actually taking satralizumab was 63 and those on the placebo were 32 of the 95 participants. There were a total of 35 relapses – 19 of the 63 people or approximately 30% of the patients being treated with the drug suffered relapses as opposed to the 50% or 16 of the 32 placebo users. The patients who were taking the placebo also had a shorter time between relapse when they began taking the pseudo drug, as well as higher withdrawal rates than the participants who were given satralizumab.

Nine of the 41 aquaporin-4 seropositive sub-group that were given satralizumab experienced a relapse whereas 13 of the 23 receiving the placebo – over half – saw signs of relapse. The seronegative sub-group of patients was split into 22 taking satralizumab and 9 taking the placebo dosage; 10 of those 22 had relapses while a third of the nine patients (3) did.

The amount of “adverse events” or relapses in the satralizumaub trial were measured as 473.9 events every 100 patient-years for those who took the drug while the placebo group had 495.2 events every 100 patient-years.

Learn more about this story here.

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