After hearing from over 30 lupus patients, Food and Drug Administration advisers have approved the first new lupus treatment in over 50 years!
The FDA panel voted 13-2 in favor of a new drug, known as Benlysta, designed to treat flare-ups and pain caused by lupus, a little-understood and potentially fatal ailment in which the body attacks its own tissue and organs.
The FDA is not required to follow the advice of panels, but it usually does and is scheduled to make a decision on the new drug by Dec. 9.
Panelists like Dr. David Blumenthal of Case Western Reserve University, who voted against the new treatments approval, did not feel the studies submitted showed the drug was more effective than older treatments, saying:
“I know my lupus patients want a medicine that is more effective, but I have not seen data that says this drug is it”
Why such a negative nancy? Well for starters, the drug does not help African-Americans, who are three times more likely to have lupus than Caucasions! Secondly, only 30% of patients studied responded to the drug!
The big selling point seemed to be the testimonies from lupus patients who urged the FDA to approve the drug because current treatment’s side effects are more debilitating than the disease itself.
We're not experts, but if it helps a few, it sounds like it's worth it. Do U think the FDA should approve the drug?
[Image via AP Images.]