Novartis limits use of Copaxone rival Gilenya
Apr 22, 2012 (Menafn - Globes - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Novartis AG NVS(swx:NOVZ) has added a warning on the US label of its oral multiple sclerosis drug, Gilenya, a competitor of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd's TEVA(tase:TEVA) Copaxone, to help prevent heart problems. Gilenya is delivered orally, in contrast to the intravenous Copaxone.
The updated US label says that patients with some cardiac conditions, including heart attack or stroke in the last six months, should not take Gilenya. It says that all patients should have an electrocardiogram before they start using Gilenya, and that they should have a second scan six hours after the first dose of the drug in addition to hourly monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate. Those steps are also recommended for patients whose treatment has been interrupted.
The US label changes are the result of discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that began in December, following cases of heart attacks and strokes in patients who took Gilenya. Novartis is in talks with European Union regulators about other label changes, including warnings against using the drug in patients who are at risk of developing slow or abnormal heart rates.
The FDA approved Gilenya in September 2010 and EU regulatory approval was in early 2011. Novartis says that 36,000 patients had been treated with Gilenya in clinical trials and after the approval of the drug.
Teva's share price fell 0.7 percent in morning trading on the TASE today to NIS 169.10, after falling 1.3 percent on Nasdaq on Friday to 45.08, giving a market cap of 39.8 billion.
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