On March 23, 2016, the FDA approved Cinqair (reslizumab) for use with other asthma medicines for the maintenance treatment of severe asthma in patients aged 18 years and older. Cinqair is approved for patients who have a history of severe asthma attacks (exacerbations) despite receiving their current asthma medicines.
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. During an asthma attack, airways become narrow making it hard to breathe. Severe asthma attacks can lead to asthma-related hospitalizations because these attacks can be serious and even life-threatening. According to the CDC, as of 2013, more than 22 million people in the U.S. have asthma, and there are more than 400,000 asthma-related hospitalizations each year.
“Health care providers and their patients with severe asthma now have another treatment option to consider when the disease is not well controlled by their current asthma therapies,” said Badrul Chowdhury, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Rheumatology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Cinqair is administered once every four weeks via intravenous infusion by a health care professional in a clinical setting prepared to manage anaphylaxis. Cinqair is a humanized interleukin-5 antagonist monoclonal antibody produced by recombinant DNA technology in murine myeloma non-secreting 0 (NS0) cells. Cinqair reduces severe asthma attacks by reducing the levels of blood eosinophils, a type of white blood cell that contributes to the development of asthma.
The safety and efficacy of Cinqair were established in four double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials in patients with severe asthma on currently available therapies. Cinqair or a placebo was administered to patients every four weeks as an add-on asthma treatment. Compared with placebo, patients with severe asthma receiving Cinqair had fewer asthma attacks, and a longer time to the first attack. In addition, treatment with Cinqair resulted in a significant improvement in lung function, as measured by the volume of air exhaled by patients in one second.
Cinqair can cause serious side effects including allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions. These reactions can be life-threatening. The most common side effects in clinical trials for Cinqair included anaphylaxis, cancer, and muscle pain.
See the FDA Announcement
See also Medical Law Perspectives, April 2015 Report: COPD Liability Risks: When Taking a Breath Is Not Easy