News in brief: Aubagio to be PBS delisted for MS patients; Risdiplam benefits seen in infants with type 1 SMA; Late-onset epilepsy link to mortality

27 Jul 2021

Aubagio brand of ​teriflunomide to be PBS delisted

People with MS have been advised that the Aubagio brand of ​teriflunomide disease modifying therapy (DMT) marketed by  Sanofi will be delisted from the PBS in October 2021.

According to MS Australia, the availability of seven other generic brands of teriflunomide following the expiry of the patent means that the supply of Aubagio is no longer feasible in the Australian market.

It advises that people who hold prescriptions for Aubagio will still be able to access the original medication brand until stocks run out, but no new stock will be supplied for the Australian market.

The availability of alternative brands of teriflunomide will ensure continued supply for Australians with relapsing remitting MS prescribed DMT, it said.

“People with MS may also wish to discuss the best option for them with their neurologist and MS health care team. It should be noted that there will be no difference to the already subsidised price paid for the new prescription by the patient with these changes,” MS Australia said in a statement..

Risdiplam benefits seen in infants with type 1 SMA

A trial of risdiplam in infants with type 1 SMA has shown that almost 30% showed benefit in achieving motor milestones during treatment compared to historical controls.

In an open-label study involving 41 infants who were 1 to 7 months of age when starting oral risdiplam treatment 29% were able to sit without support for at least five seconds, a milestone not usually attained in type 1 SMA.

More than half the infants (56%) met key secondary end points for motor function (CHOP-INTEND score of 40 or higher) compared to 17% of historical control group.

The most common serious adverse events were pneumonia, bronchiolitis, hypotonia, and respiratory failure, according to results published in NEJM.

Late-onset epilepsy associated with higher mortality

People with late-onset epilepsy (starting at age 65 or older) are at increased risk of mortality compared to those who do not, with much of the excess risk attributable to stroke and dementia, a US study shows.

Analysis of data from 9090 participants in a prospective study in which 678 developed late-onset epilepsy found these people had increased hazard of

mortality (adjusted hazard ratio 2.39) compared to those who did not over the 30 years of study follow up.

Only 1% of deaths were directly attributed to seizure-related causes, according to findings published in Neurology.

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