9 Things to Know About the New ALS Drug Radicava

May is ALS Awareness Month, so it is timely that on May 5, the FDA approved the first new treatment in 22 years for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The drug, Radicava (edaravone) has been found to slow down the decline of physical ability in ALS patients by a third. Find out more about the FDA approval of Radicava here. 

MORE: May is ALS Awareness Month.

Here are some important things to know about Radicava:

  • The drug underwent a phase 3 clinical trial in Japan and South Korea where 137 ALS patients were given either Radicava or a placebo. The group given Radicava experienced a 33 percent reduction in the decline of their physical abilities compared to the placebo group.
  • Radicava works by reducing the oxidative stress in the body. People with ALS have high levels of oxidative stress.
  • Radicava is administered via intravenous infusions. Initially, patients have a daily infusion for two weeks and then have two weeks rest. After that, they need to have 10 consecutive daily infusions followed by two weeks rest.
  • Each infusion takes around an hour to complete.
  • The dosage of each infusion is 60mg.
  • The cost of each Radicava infusion is $1,000 and treatment costs $146,000 annually.
  • Radicava should be available to ALS patients in the U.S. by August.
  • The most common side effects associated with the drug are headaches, bruising and gait problems.
  • Radicava infusion contains sodium bisulfite which is known to cause both mild and severe allergic reactions in some people (particularly those with asthma).

MORE: Understanding the neurons behind ALS.

ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

11 comments

  1. Allan Moore says:

    sure thing I cannot get out of a wheelchair without a lift, have no transportation wheelchair van, legs and most of my arm movement is gone,,,,have no way to raise 146,000 to try even if i had help a port would have to be put in,,,,, I still have speech, breath ok and can eat ok but how could anyone at 71 with medicare do this ?

  2. Nina says:

    Dear friends,
    This is not for ALS patients, this is for pharmaceutical companies and their owners’ pocket. They made this drug for themselves to do bussiness and make money and not for people who suffer from ALS. The price is so high people can not reach this treatment, even if they pay 150.000$ annually they are not promised anything, even slowing down the process is under the question ,,yes or not”, or ,may’. Please, if there is any hope, do not make this hope non-available for us…..We know all these clinical trials need money to be performed, but ingredient of drug is not expensive itself and
    Make the drug cheaper…

  3. kj kerl says:

    It’s my understanding that each Radicava infusion costs equivalent of $100. in Japan. Why is it priced at $1,000/infusion here? Sounds like too much capitalism. Who has an extra $12k/month? Will I will need to pass on it and just die a year earlier? Maybe we PALS (Persons with ALS) should all move to Cuba? I understand Cubans have better medical care and a longer average lifespan than Americans also, with their poverty-stricken medical establishment and poor economy too! There are already huge medical migrations to India and other countries with saner public health systems (for example elective surgeries costing 10% of the US alternative). That’s an embarrassment to the American medical establishment (and maybe to US diets and lifestyles also?). I hear some progress is being made with more MD’s starting to be employed on (good) salaries, not by crazy piece-work compensation. And medical groups need to be incentivized to work on better out-comes, not by volume alone, with non-competitive hidden fee schedules. Nuff said. Klaus in Seattle.

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