UCB launches cataplexy treatment

UCB has launched Xyrem oral solution (sodium oxybate 500mg/mL) for the treatment of cataplexy in adults with narcolepsy.

Sodium oxybate is a central nervous system depressant that is believed to act by promoting slow wave sleep and consolidating night time sleep. It also increases Stages 3 and 4 of sleep and increases sleep latency while reducing the frequency of sleep onset REM periods.

Xyrem is administered in two equal doses starting at 4.5 ml per dose and titrating in 1.5 ml steps at a minimum of two-week intervals up to a maximum of 9 ml per dose depending on efficacy and tolerability. Each dose is taken in 60 ml water, the first at bedtime, the second 2.5 to 4 hours later.

When administered in clinical trials to patients with narcolepsy, most of whom were also receiving CNS stimulants, Xyrem at doses of 6 g /day and 9 g/day produced a significant reduction in the frequency of cataplexy attacks. Furthermore, a second trial showed that when sodium oxybate is withdrawn from such patients it continued to have a long term effect in reducing the number of cataplexy attacks.

Xyrem is only available to specialist centres treating narcolepsy patients with cataplexy. A Xyrem Responder Programme has been established to enable refunds of the £360 cost per 180 ml bottle of Xyrem for patients who do not respond. Further information about the programme may be obtained from UCB Pharma's customer services on 0800 953 0183.

Further information: UCB Pharma Ltd, 208 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 3WE. Tel: (01753) 534655.

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