FDA Approves New Rx for Osteoarthritis Pain

Zorvolex approved to treat osteoarthritis pain

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

Iroko Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a global specialty pharmaceutical company dedicated to advancing the science of analgesia, announced today the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ZORVOLEX® (diclofenac) capsules, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), for the management of osteoarthritis pain.

This marks the second indication for ZORVOLEX, approved by FDA in October 2013 for the treatment of mild to moderate acute pain in adults.

“Given the dose-related adverse events associated with NSAIDs as a class and the widespread use of NSAIDs for osteoarthritis, we are delighted to gain approval for our first SoluMatrix® NSAID for the management of osteoarthritis pain,” said Dr. Clarence Young, Chief Medical Officer of Iroko Pharmaceuticals. “Iroko has already made great strides to help fill the need for low dose NSAID options in patients with acute pain and we are continuing to expand our portfolio to also address chronic pain indications.”

ZORVOLEX was developed to align with recommendations from FDA and several professional medical organizations that NSAIDs be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration consistent with individual patient treatment goals. ZORVOLEX is the first FDA-approved low dose NSAID developed using proprietary SoluMatrix Fine Particle Technology™ and is now available by prescription. ZORVOLEX contains diclofenac as submicron particles that are approximately 20 times smaller than their original size. The reduction in particle size provides an increased surface area, leading to faster dissolution.

“Expanding the use of ZORVOLEX beyond acute pain to osteoarthritis pain, a chronic condition, is a testament to Iroko’s continued commitment to developing a low dose NSAID portfolio to address a broad range of unmet patient needs,” said John Vavricka, President and CEO of Iroko Pharmaceuticals. “This second approval for ZORVOLEX continues to lay the groundwork for our future portfolio, which utilizes a new approach to pain management.”

The approval of ZORVOLEX for the management of osteoarthritis pain was supported by data from a 12-week, multi-center, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial that enrolled 305 patients, aged 41-90 years, with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. Half of the patients were between the ages of 61-90. Participants were randomized to ZORVOLEX 35mg three times daily or 35mg twice daily, or placebo. The Supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) also included data from a 12-month open-label safety study that enrolled 602 patients.

“NSAIDs continue to be an integral part of the management for osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, and their use is likely to increase as the U.S. population continues to age and the incidence of osteoarthritis rises,” said Dr. Roy Altman, Professor of Medicine in Rheumatology at UCLA. “The approval of ZORVOLEX is a welcome and meaningful advance and is the first SoluMatrix® NSAID option approved by the FDA for osteoarthritis pain.”

Review Date: 
August 25, 2014