June 14, 2016

FDA approves monthly injectable medication daclizumab for relapsing forms of MS

*March 8, 2018 update: Biogen Canada and AbbVie announced the voluntary withdrawal of ZINBRYTA® (daclizumab) from the market worldwide due to safety concerns.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved Zinbryta (daclizumab high-yield process) for adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Co-marketed by pharmaceutical companies Biogen and AbbVie, Zinbryta is a long-acting injectable medication that is self-administered on a monthly basis.

Due to certain safety risks – such as liver injury or immune malignancies like non-infectious colitis, skin reactions and lymph node enlargement – the FDA has recommended that Zinbryta only be indicated for use by people living with MS who have had an inadequate response to two or more MS drugs. Clinicians are advised to monitor patient liver function through blood tests before starting the treatment, and then every month before each dose and for up to six months after the last dose.

The safety and efficacy (ability to produce an effect) of Zinbryta were demonstrated in a number of clinical trials. The largest study, a phase III trial called DECIDE, looked at the efficacy of Zinbryta compared to interferon beta-1a in 1,841 people living with relapsing remitting MS over 144 weeks. Participants given Zinbryta showed a 45% reduction in annualized relapse rate compared to participants administered interferon beta-1a. A number of earlier phase II trials, including the 52-week long SELECT trial and the 24-week long CHOICE trial, similarly showed clinical benefits of the drug, such as reduced relapse rates and a few number of lesions, compared to interferon beta-1a or placebo. Several adverse events were reported in the trials, including cold symptoms, upper respiratory tract infection, throat pain, eczema, lymph node enlargement, depression, and rash.

Zinbryta has been submitted to Health Canada and is awaiting a decision on approval. The MS Society will report on the status of the submission as updates become available.

For further information on Zinbryta, including how it works, what the research has shown, and what are its adverse effects, refer to the Treatments in Development page.