The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Fintepla (fenfluramine), a Schedule IV controlled substance, for the treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome in patients 2 years of age and older.
Fintepla will be launched through a restricted distribution program, called the Fintepla Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) Program, and is expected to be available through Zogenix’s specialty pharmacy partner by the end of July.
“The approval of Fintepla by the FDA is a significant milestone we are proud to celebrate with the patients and families living with Dravet syndrome,” said Stephen J Farr, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Zogenix.
“We began this global development program nearly six years ago after researchers in Belgium recognized the potential of fenfluramine, a drug with distinct pharmacology from all other anticonvulsant agents, to treat intractable seizures in Dravet syndrome. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the patients, families, and everyone who supported the rigorous development program that led to FINTEPLA’s approval.”
Dravet syndrome is a rare childhood-onset epilepsy marked by frequent and severe treatment-resistant seizures, associated hospitalizations and medical emergencies, significant developmental and motor impairments, and an increased risk of sudden unexpected death (SUDEP).
“There remains a huge unmet need for the many Dravet syndrome patients who continue to experience frequent severe seizures even while taking one or more of the currently available anti-seizure medications,” said Joseph Sullivan, M.D., Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Center of Excellence at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals and the Principal Investigator for Fintepla in Dravet syndrome.
“Given the profound reductions in convulsive seizure frequency seen in the Fintepla clinical trials, combined with the ongoing, robust safety monitoring that will be part of its use, I feel Fintepla will offer an extremely important treatment option for Dravet syndrome patients.”
The FDA’s approval of Fintepla in Dravet syndrome was based on data from two randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled Phase 3 clinical trials, published in The Lancet and JAMA Neurology, and safety data from an open-label extension trial in which many patients received Fintepla for up to three years.
When added to existing treatment regimens, Fintepla significantly reduced the monthly convulsive seizure frequency compared to placebo in study patients whose seizures were not adequately controlled on one or more antiepileptic drugs. In addition, most study patients responded to treatment with Fintepla within three to four weeks and effects remained consistent over the treatment period.