Shire Korea said Thursday it has launched Firazyr prefilled syringe (ingredient: Icatibant) in the domestic market to treat acute attacks of hereditary angioedema in adults with C1-esterase-inhibitor deficiency.
Hereditary angioedema is characterized by recurrent episodes of severe swelling that commonly affects the arms, legs, face, intestinal tract, and airway. The condition occurs in 1 out of 10,000 to 150,000 people.
Data showed around 65 patients with the rare disease in Korea last year.
If an acute attack of hereditary angioedema occurs in the back of the head, it may suffocate the person through airway obstruction within 20 minutes to eight hours. If swelling occurs in the intestinal tract, it may lead to intestinal blockage and then to intestinal necrosis, requiring a quick response.
Untreated patients experience two to four seizures per month on average without being able to predict the severity of the next seizure. Symptoms also persist for an average of 24 to 72 hours after seizure onset and may last for more than a week.
Clinical trials showed it took around two hours for those in the Firazyr group to decrease symptoms by 50 percent while it took about 20 hours to do the same in the placebo group.
If symptoms do not improve or the treatment effect is insufficient, patients may administer the therapy in six-hour terms without exceeding three administrations within 24 hours.
The therapy currently gets no insurance benefits.
“Shire Korea hopes for patients to live out their daily lives by providing a treatment option quickly to those with hereditary angioedema,” Shire Korea CEO Moon Hee-seok said.