HORSHAM, Pa. and KENILWORTH, N.J., Centocor, Inc. and Schering-Plough Corporation (NYSE: SGP) today announced that the European Commission has approved a new indication for REMICADE(R) (infliximab) allowing for the treatment of severe, active Crohn's disease (CD) in pediatric patients aged 6 to 17 years, who have not responded to conventional therapy including a corticosteroid, an immunomodulator and primary nutrition therapy, or who are intolerant to, or have contraindications for, such therapies.
REMICADE has been studied only in combination with conventional immunosuppressive therapy. This approval follows a positive opinion granted in March by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) for the European Medicines Agency (EMEA).
"Crohn's disease significantly impacts the quality of life of children suffering from this condition," said Salvatore Cucchiara, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Gastrointestinal Motility and Endoscopy Unit, University of Naples. "Infliximab provides physicians with a new treatment option that addresses the unique aspects of this difficult-to-treat disease in the pediatric population."
REMICADE is the first and only biologic therapy approved in the EU for the treatment of pediatric CD, a debilitating condition that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, typically resulting in symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, weight loss and in some patients, delayed development and stunted growth.
"This approval recognizes the unique value of REMICADE as it is the first and only biologic therapy available to children suffering with Crohn's disease in Europe, who previously had limited therapy options," said Robert J. Spiegel, M.D., chief medical officer, Schering-Plough Research Institute.
In May 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved REMICADE for pediatric patients with moderately to severely active CD who have had
an inadequate response to conventional therapy. REMICADE was first approved in the U.S. for adult Crohn's disease in 1998 and later for adult ulcerative colitis in 2005.
The safety and efficacy of REMICADE across all indications have been well established in clinical trials over the past 14 years and through commercial experience with nearly 925,000 patients treated worldwide across all indications.
The label extension will permit physicians to administer a 5 mg/kg intravenous infusion of REMICADE over a 2-hour period followed by additional 5 mg/kg infusion doses at two and six weeks after the first infusion, then every eight weeks thereafter.
Some patients may require a shorter dosing interval to maintain clinical benefit, while for others a longer dosing interval may be sufficient. Available data do not support further REMICADE treatment in pediatric patients not responding within the first 10 weeks of treatment. Related medicine news :1
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