Study: Evaluating UPLINZA as a Treatment for NMOSD in African Americans

According to a recent press release from Horizon Therapeutics, UPLINZA, the only FDA-approved treatment for AQP4 antibody-positive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), may be a viable treatment option for African American patients with the rare disease. It is extremely important to evaluate drugs within different demographics, especially in this case. The rare, neuroinflammatory disease impacts African Americans in different ways than it does Caucasians, making this research absolutely necessary.

About the Study

Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of the Phase 2/3 N-MOmentum trial in order to evaluate UPLINZA as a treatment for African American NMOSD patients. This study consisted of two parts: 28 weeks of a randomized controlled period followed by a minimum of two years of an open-label period. Overall, 20 African Americans participated in the trial and were taken into account in this analysis.

Upon investigation, the researchers found:

  • Three patients experienced an attack 18, 29, and 104 days after being treated with UPLINZA
  • The annualized attack rate (AAR) for African Americans sat at 1.38 two years prior to treatment and dropped to 0.06 after exposure to UPLINZA
  • African American patients also experienced quick, sustained B-cell depletion
  • Fewer infections in the UPLINZA group vs. placebo group in the first portion of the trial
    • 26.7% in the UPLINZA group and 60% in the placebo group

This information was all presented at the 15th World Congress on Controversies in Neurology, which was held towards the end of September.


NMOSD is a rare, neuroinflammatory disorder that is characterized by inflammation of the optic nerve and spinal cord. Symptoms appear in the form of attacks, followed by periods of remission. They may include eye pain, vision loss, paralysis of the lower limbs, pain in the spine and limbs, sensory loss, headaches, stiffness, dimished bowel and bladder control, and changes in deep tendon reflexes. Overall, NMOSD impacts some – if not all – autonomic, sensory, and motor functions.

Medical professionals do not know exactly what causes this condition, but they have categorized it as an autoimmune condition. This means that the body mistakenly attacks itself rather than foreign substances and infections. The FDA has approved three drugs to treat this condition: Soliris, UPLINZA, and Enspryng. Additional drugs and treatment methods are used to manage episodes when they occur.

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