The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved intramuscular (IM) administration of peginterferon β-1a (Plegridy, Biogen) for patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
“The new IM administration offers people living with relapsing MS the well-characterized efficacy and safety of Plegridy with the potential for significantly reduced injection site reactions,” Biogen said in a news release announcing the FDA action.
Plegridy is a pegylated version of interferon β-1a, which prolongs the circulation time of the molecule in the body by increasing its size. The process extends the drug’s half-life, allowing for a less-frequent dosing schedule.
Peginterferon β-1a administered subcutaneously was first approved by the FDA in 2014 based on data showing it significantly reduces MS relapses, disability progression, and brain lesions.
The FDA approved IM administration for peginterferon β-1a based on data evaluating bioequivalence and adverse reactions associated with IM administration compared with subcutaneous (SC) administration in healthy volunteers.
Bioequivalence of the IM and SC dosing regimens was confirmed and volunteers receiving the drug through IM administration experienced fewer injection site reactions relative to those receiving SC administration (14.4% vs 32.1%), the company said.
The overall safety profiles of IM and SC administration were generally similar, with no new safety signals.
The European Commission allowed marketing authorization for IM administration of peginterferon β-1a in December 2020.