FDA approves Akynzeo for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy

FDA approves Akynzeo for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Akynzeo (netupitant and palonosetron) to treat nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy.

Akynzeo is a fixed combination capsule comprised of two drugs. Oral palonosetron, approved in 2008, prevents nausea and vomiting during the acute phase (within the first 24 hours) after the start of cancer chemotherapy. Netupitant, a new drug, prevents nausea and vomiting during both the acute phase and delayed phase (from 25 to 120 hours) after the start of cancer chemotherapy.

"Supportive care products, such as Akynzeo, help ease the nausea and vomiting patients may experience as a side effect of cancer chemotherapy," said Julie Beitz, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Akynzeo's effectiveness was established in two clinical trials of 1,720 participants receiving cancer chemotherapy. Participants were randomly assigned to receive Akynzeo or oral palonosetron. The trials were designed to measure whether the study drugs prevented any vomiting episodes in the acute, delayed and overall phases after the start of cancer chemotherapy.

Results of the first trial showed that 98.5 percent, 90.4 percent and 89.6 percent of Akynzeo-treated participants did not experience any vomiting or require rescue medication for nausea during the acute, delayed and overall phases, respectively. In contrast, 89.7 percent, 80.1 percent and 76.5 percent of participants treated with oral palonosetron did not experience any vomiting or require rescue medication for nausea during the acute, delayed and overall phases, respectively. The second trial showed similar results.

Common side effects of Akynzeo in the clinical trials were headache, weakness (asthenia), fatigue, indigestion (dyspepsia) and constipation.

Akynzeo is distributed and marketed by Eisai Inc. of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, under license from Lugano, Switzerland-based Helsinn Healthcare S.A.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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