A New Multiple Myeloma Treatment

Empliciti (elotuzumab) FDA-approved to treat multiple myeloma patients who have received prior medications

(RxWiki News) Another treatment for multiple myeloma just got an OK from the FDA.

Today, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Empliciti (elotuzumab) to treat multiple myeloma in patients who have received one to three past medications.

The approval of this Bristol-Myers Squibb drug marks the second drug of this type this month to be approved to treat multiple myeloma. The first was the Janssen drug Darzalex (daratumumab).

“We are continuing to learn about the ways the immune system interacts with different types of cancer, including multiple myeloma," said Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA's Office of Hematology and Oncology Products, in a press release. “Today’s approval is the second monoclonal antibody approved to treat patients with multiple myeloma and works with another approved therapy to provide additional benefit."

Empliciti is a monoclonal antibody. It works by causing the immune system to attack multiple myeloma cells, according to the FDA. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that attacks a type of white blood cell in the bone marrow.

The FDA only approved Empliciti for use alongside two other drugs: Revlimid (lenalidomide) and dexamethasone. The former drug is another multiple myeloma treatment. The latter is a corticosteroid.

The new drug's approval came after it appeared safe and effective in a study of 646 multiple myeloma patients who did not respond effectively to past medications. Compared to patients who took only Revlimid and dexamethasone, those who took those drugs plus Empliciti saw a delay in disease progression. Also, some patients in the Empliciti group had their tumors shrink.

Some of these patients reported side effects tied to Empliciti. These included constipation, diarrhea, fever, nerve damage and pneumonia, among other side effects.

Review Date: 
November 30, 2015