How Darzalex Administration Impacts Multiple Myeloma Treatment
- The FDA recently approved a subcutaneously injectable form of Darzalex for adult patients with multiple myeloma
- This injectable Darzalex allows patients to receive the therapy within a few minutes rather than taking hours like the intravenous form
- Doctors say injectable Darzalex could be a real advantage in the age of COVID-19
This comes as the FDA has just approved Darzalex for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed multiple myeloma. The drug is injected under the skin of the abdomen.
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The FDA approved injectable Darzalex because of a phase 3 comparison study showing that it not only parallels the efficacy of the intravenous Darzalex but also removes the need for infusions, mitigating the side effects associated with IV infusions.
Dr. Nina Shah explains previous multiple myeloma therapies, which includes Daratumumab.
"This [subcutaneous Darzalex administration] is similar to what many of you may know from insulin shots or other shots you may have gotten. And what this allows is for the time that the Daratumumab or Darzalex is being given, to be much shortened. And you don’t need an I-V place at the chemotherapy suite. So you can imagine where usually you’d spend several hours getting therapy. Now you may spend only 30 minutes." says Dr. Nina Shah, a hematologist at UCSF Health.
How Administering Darzalex Has Changed
Prior to the FDA’s recent approval, Darzalex was administered to multiple myeloma patients via intravenous infusion. This was paired with pre-infusion and post-infusion medications. Oncologists have described the extent of these protocols and how subcutaneous injections would alter the time scale.
"One of the challenges that often patients have is the way that their Daratumumab [another name for Darzalex] is delivered and it’s initially given on a weekly schedule and then it goes to every other week and then it goes to once a month. But the time that it takes to receive that infusion can be quite lengthy. The first dose can often take eight to ten hours. The second dose is about three to three and a half hours." says Dr. Sagar Lonial, a hematologist at Emory School of Medicine.
As the injection is much faster than an infusion, it potentially becomes more appealing to patients requiring cancer treatment in a time where health centers are flooded with potential COVID-19 carriers and COVID-19 patients.
However, even with its impressive benefits, Darzalex can have side effects. One of the most potential adverse reactions is upper respiratory tract infections. Hematologists say this may prove to be particularly salient fact in era of COVID-19.