Cancer nausea drug Akynzeo approved in US

A new combination treatment for nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer has been approved.

The FDA has approved Akynzeo (netupitant and palonosetron) to treat nausea and vomiting during the acute phase (within the first 24 hours) after the start of cancer chemotherapy.

The new 2-in-1 pill is marketed by Eisai in the US under licence from Helsinn, a privately owned company headquartered in Switzerland.

Oral palonosetron, approved in 2008, prevents nausea and vomiting during the acute phase (within the first 24 hours) after the start of cancer chemotherapy. Netupitant, a new drug, prevents nausea and vomiting during both the acute phase and delayed phase (from 25 to 120 hours) after the start of cancer chemotherapy.

Trials of the new combination showed that it significantly raised the percentage of patients in the acute, delayed and overall phases who did not experience any vomiting or nausea, compared to palonesetron alone.

Helsinn has another drug in the same therapy area, which was heralded as a major step forward in addressing the condition at the recent European cancer congress ESMO.

Anamorelin works by increasing levels of ghrelin, a peptide which regulates body weight, lean body mass, appetite and metabolism, and has completed Phase 3 trials in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.

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