Approval was given by the US Food and Drug Administration on a new ALS medication that is the first of it’s kind. It will treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS.
On Friday the FDA said that the drug Radicava, also called edaravone, will be available in the US. Currently, there is only one other drug available for treating ALS called riluzole that gained approval in 1995.
Japan found out that while testing individuals with ALS using edaravone, they experience a moderate decline in physical functionality compared to the subjects were given inactive medicine.
ALS affects the brain, spinal cords, and muscles. As neurodegenerative disease takes over, nerve cells can’t initiate and make muscles move like normal. In turn, this leads paralyzation and lastly, death.
ALS also goes by a more common moniker, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lou Gehrig was a famous baseball player who had to retire after being diagnosed with the disease.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
ALS became a popular topic on the web back in 2014 after the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge is for people to post a video of themselves online pouring cold water over their heads. In only eight weeks, the challenge raised $115 million dollars to the ALS Association. The association came out with a statement saying that a large amount of the donations went to ALS research.
The CDC believes there are around 15,000 people currently living with the disease in the US. Most people find out they have it between the ages of 55-75.
As of now, now one knows what causes the disease. However, around 5%-10% of all ALS cases have a family history of the disease.
The new medicine, Radicava, requires a physician prescription. It is an intravenous infusion in 28-day intervals.
Currently, the drug is $1,000 per injection, which equals to around $150,000 a year for treatment. Co-pays will also be available for patients with insurance, and there will be a program in place to help those without insurance.
MT Pharma has estimated that the new medicine will hit shelves in the US this August.