CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:AEGR), a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for patients with debilitating rare diseases, today announced that Health Canada has granted a Notice of Compliance (NOC) approving JUXTAPID as an adjunct to a low-fat diet and other lipid-lowering drugs, with or without LDL apheresis, to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in adult patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH).
HoFH is a serious, rare genetic disease that impairs the function of the receptor responsible for removing LDL-C ("bad" cholesterol) from the body. A loss of LDL receptor function results in extreme elevation of blood cholesterol levels. HoFH patients often develop premature and progressive atherosclerosis, a narrowing or blocking of the arteries.
"We expect Canada to be an important market for Aegerion, and with infrastructure established, we look forward to providing JUXTAPID to HoFH patients in need of therapy," said Marc Beer, Chief Executive Officer of Aegerion. "Approval in Canada marks another key milestone in our plan for global expansion."
"HoFH is a challenging disease, and despite previously available therapies such as statins, patients continue to experience severe elevations in LDL-C," said Dr. Robert Hegele, MD, Western University and London Health Sciences Centre. "The approval of JUXTAPID is an especially encouraging event for the province of Quebec, where there is a higher prevalence of HoFH based upon a founder effect," said Dr. Jacques Genest, MD, McGill University.
Based on the risk of liver toxicity, JUXTAPID is subject to a risk management plan in Canada. Due to its benefit-risk profile, the prescribing of JUXTAPID should be limited to physicians experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia.
The safety and effectiveness of JUXTAPID have not been established in patients with hypercholesterolemia who do not have HoFH, or in pediatric patients. The effect of JUXTAPID on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been determined.
Important Safety Information from U.S. Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING which states:
WARNING: RISK OF HEPATOTOXICITY
JUXTAPID can cause elevations in transaminases. In the JUXTAPID clinical trial, 10 (34%) of the 29 patients treated with JUXTAPID had at least one elevation in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or aspartate aminotransferase (AST) > 3x upper limit of normal (ULN). There were no concomitant clinically meaningful elevations of total bilirubin, international normalized ratio (INR), or alkaline phosphatase.
JUXTAPID also increases hepatic fat, with or without concomitant increases in transaminases. The median absolute increase in hepatic fat was 6% after both 26 and 78 weeks of treatment, from 1% at baseline, measured by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Hepatic steatosis associated with JUXTAPID treatment may be a risk factor for progressive liver disease, including steatohepatitis and cirrhosis.
Measure ALT, AST, alkaline phosphatase, and total bilirubin before initiating treatment and then ALT and AST regularly as recommended. During treatment, adjust the dose of JUXTAPID if the ALT or AST are >3x ULN. Discontinue JUXTAPID for clinically significant liver toxicity.
Because of the risk of hepatotoxicity, JUXTAPID is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the JUXTAPID REMS Program.
- Concomitant administration of moderate or strong CYP3A4 inhibitors
- Moderate or severe hepatic impairment or active liver disease including unexplained persistent elevations of serum transaminases
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
JUXTAPID can cause elevations in transaminases and hepatic steatosis. Although cases of hepatic failure have not been reported, there is concern that JUXTAPID could induce steatohepatitis, which can progress to cirrhosis over several years. Modify the dose of JUXTAPID if elevations of transaminases are observed and discontinue JUXTAPID for persistent or clinically significant elevations. If transaminase elevations are accompanied by clinical symptoms of liver injury, increases in bilirubin ≥2x ULN, or active liver disease, discontinue treatment with JUXTAPID and identify the probable cause. Use JUXTAPID with caution when co-administered with agents known to be hepatotoxic. Alcohol may increase levels of hepatic fat and induce or exacerbate liver injury.
Measure ALT, AST, alkaline phosphatase, and total bilirubin before initiating treatment. During the first year, measure liver-related tests (ALT and AST at a minimum) prior to each increase in dose or monthly, whichever occurs first. After the first year, do these tests at least every 3 months and before any increase in dose.
Females of reproductive potential should have a negative pregnancy test before starting JUXTAPID and should use effective contraception during therapy with JUXTAPID.
Given its mechanism of action in the small intestine, JUXTAPID may reduce the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients. Patients treated with JUXTAPID should take daily supplements that contain 400 international units vitamin E and at least 200 mg linoleic acid, 210 mg alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), 110 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and 80 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Gastrointestinal adverse reactions are common and may lead to treatment discontinuation. To reduce the risk of gastrointestinal adverse reactions, patients should adhere to a low-fat diet supplying less than 20% of energy from fat and the dosage of JUXTAPID should be increased gradually.
Combination with CYP3A4 inhibitors increases exposure to lomitapide. Strong and moderate CYP3A4 inhibitors should not be used with JUXTAPID. JUXTAPID dosage should not exceed 30 mg daily when used concomitantly with weak CYP3A4 inhibitors.
Due to risk of myopathy associated with simvastatin or lovastatin, doses of these agents should be limited when co-administered with JUXTAPID.
JUXTAPID increases the plasma concentrations of warfarin. Increases or decreases in the dose of JUXTAPID may lead to supra- or subtherapeutic anticoagulation, respectively. Patients taking warfarin should undergo regular monitoring of the INR, especially after any changes in JUXTAPID dosage.
Avoid use of JUXTAPID in patients with rare hereditary disorders of galactose intolerance.
About Aegerion Pharmaceuticals
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for patients with debilitating rare diseases. Our first approved product, JUXTAPID™, is an oral once-daily capsule that offers a treatment option to patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) – a severe lipid disorder. For more information about the company, please visit www.aegerion.com or www.aegerion.ca.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the availability of JUXTAPID and launch of JUXTAPID in Canada, the potential for JUXTAPID as a treatment for HoFH, and our expectations with regard to the Canadian market. These forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees of future performance, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. In particular, the risks and uncertainties include, among other factors: the risk that reimbursement of JUXTAPID may not be approved by government or other payers in Canada at levels that we plan to seek or at all; the risk that JUXTAPID may not gain market acceptance; and the risk that restrictions imposed by regulatory authorities or the side effect profile may limit the commercial potential of JUXTAPID. For additional disclosure regarding these and other risks we face, see the disclosure contained in our public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (available on the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov), including the "Risk Factors" section of our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. We undertake no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.
CONTACT: Investor/Media Contact: Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Amanda Murphy, Manager of IR/PR (857) 242-5024 firstname.lastname@example.org
Source:Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.