Rx Approved to Help After Stem Cell Transplant

Imbruvica (ibrutinib) approved to treat chronic graft versus host disease

(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a medication to treat patients whose transplanted cells attack the body.

This medication is found under the name Imbruvica (ibrutinib). The FDA approved it to treat chronic graft versus host disease (cGVHD) after one or more treatments has not worked.

After patients receive a stem cell transplant from blood or bone marrow, cGVHD can occur. The cells from the stem cell transplant see the patient's body as foreign and start to attack the patient's healthy cells.

This disease happens in an estimated 30 to 70 percent of all patients who receive a stem cell transplant from blood or bone marrow. Symptoms of cGVHD can occur in the eyes, mouth, skin, liver, lungs and gut.

"Patients with cGVHD who do not respond to other forms of therapy — typically corticosteroids to suppress their immune system — now have a treatment option specifically indicated to treat their condition," said Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, in a press release.

Common side effects of ibrutinib include feeling tired, bruising, diarrhea and muscle spasms. Ibrutinib can also lead to serious side effects. These include severe bleeding, infections and low levels of blood cells.

To determine the best treatment for you, speak with your health care provider.

Ibrutinib is already approved to treat certain types of leukemia and lymphoma, as well as Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia.

The FDA granted approval of Imbruvica to Pharmacyclics LLC.

Written By Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS