ICYMI: Brazil Approves UPLIZNA for Patients with NMOSD


Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) can have long-term impacts for those affected. Current research suggests that up to 69% of patients may have severe unilateral or bilateral vision loss that can occur within three years of symptom appearance. Additionally, over 30% of patients will see motor function permanently diminished. Treatment options like UPLIZNA (inebilizumab-cdon) can reduce symptoms and mitigate potential long-term damage. According to Yahoo! Finance, in December 2022, Brazil’s Health Regulatory Agency approved UPLIZNA as a monotherapy for those living with AQP4-IgG+ NMOSD. 

Developed by biotechnology company Horizon Therapeutics (“Horizon”), UPLIZNA is administered via infusion. The therapy depletes and destroys B cells. UPLIZNA was shown to be beneficial in the N-MOmentum study, which showed that two annual infusions helped reduce NMOSD attacks. Within the study, over 83% of participants had no attacks for four years. 

While UPLIZNA is safe and well-tolerated, the therapy does have some potential adverse reactions. These side effects may include joint or muscle pain, excessive sleepiness, urinary tract infections, headache, nausea, fever, and infusion-site reactions. 

Outside of Brazil, UPLIZNA is approved for use in Japan and the European Union (EU). 

What is Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD)? 

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder is a chronic brain and spinal cord disorder. It is characterized by optic nerve and spinal cord inflammation. Patients experience symptomatic periods (“attacks”) followed by periods of remission. While the exact cause of NMOSD is unknown, it is widely considered an autoimmune disorder. NMOSD affects people of all ages and backgrounds. However, AQP4-IgG+ NMOSD is significantly more common in women than men, especially women of late middle age. Symptoms can, but do not always, include:

  • Eye pain
  • Vision loss in one or both eyes 
  • Mild to severe lower limb paralysis
  • Headache
  • Back or limb pain
  • Diminished bowel and bladder control 
  • Neck stiffness

Currently, there are a number of therapies for NMOSD, including UPLIZNA. Other treatments include Soliris, Enspryng, corticosteroids, plasma exchange, antiplasticity agents, and immunosuppressive drugs.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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