FDA approves new drug for treatment of adults with chronic kidney disease

FDA approves new drug for treatment of adults with chronic kidney disease

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.Apr 30 2021

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Farxiga (dapagliflozin) oral tablets to reduce the risk of kidney function decline, kidney failure, cardiovascular death and hospitalization for heart failure in adults with chronic kidney disease who are at risk of disease progression.  

Chronic kidney disease is an important public health issue, and there is a significant unmet need for therapies that slow disease progression and improve outcomes. Today's approval of Farxiga for the treatment of chronic kidney disease is an important step forward in helping people living with kidney disease."

Aliza Thompson, M.D., M.S., Deputy Director, Division of Cardiology and Nephrology, FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood normally. Due to this defective filtering, patients can have complications related to fluid, electrolytes (minerals required for many bodily processes), and waste build-up in the body. Chronic kidney disease sometimes can progress to kidney failure. Patients also are at high risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke.

The efficacy of Farxiga to improve kidney outcomes and reduce cardiovascular death in patients with chronic kidney disease was evaluated in a multicenter, double-blind study. In this study, 4,304 patients were randomly assigned to receive either Farxiga or a placebo. The study compared the two groups for the number of patients whose disease progressed to a composite (or combined) endpoint that included at least a 50% reduction in kidney function, progression to kidney failure, or cardiovascular or kidney death. Results showed that 197 of the 2,152 patients who received Farxiga had at least one of the composite endpoint events compared to 312 of the 2,152 patients who received a placebo. The study also compared the two groups for the number of patients who were hospitalized for heart failure or died from cardiovascular disease. A total of 100 patients who received Farxiga were hospitalized or died compared to 138 patients who received a placebo.

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Farxiga was not studied, nor is expected to be effective, in treating chronic kidney disease among patients with autosomal dominant or recessive polycystic (characterized by multiple cysts) kidney disease or among patients who require or have recently used immunosuppressive therapy to treat kidney disease.

Patients should not use Farxiga if they have a history of serious hypersensitivity reactions to the medication or if they are on dialysis treatment. Serious, life-threatening cases of Fournier's Gangrene have occurred in patients with diabetes taking Farxiga. Patients should consider a lower dose of insulin or insulin secretagogue to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) if they are also taking Farxiga. Farxiga can cause dehydration, serious urinary tract infections, genital yeast infections, and metabolic acidosis or ketoacidosis (acid build-up in the blood). Patients should be assessed for their volume status and kidney function before starting Farxiga.

Farxiga was originally approved in 2014 to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes in addition to diet and exercise.

Farxiga received Fast Track, Breakthrough Therapy and Priority Review designations for the indication being approved today. Fast track is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need. Breakthrough therapy designation is designed to expedite the development and review of drugs that are intended to treat a serious condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy on a clinically significant endpoint(s). Priority review directs overall attention and resources to the evaluation of applications for drugs that, if approved, would be significant improvements in the safety or effectiveness of the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of serious conditions when compared to standard applications.

The FDA granted the approval of Farxiga to AstraZeneca.

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