Several integrated analyses have reported on the safety of cladribine tablets 10 mg (3.5 mg/kg cumulative dose over 2 years [CT3.5]) during clinical development for the treatment of patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS). Additional real-life safety data have accrued since the approval of CT3.5 in many countries worldwide. In recent months the COVID-19 pandemic has become a concern for MS patients and their healthcare providers in terms of the associated safety of their disease-modifying therapy.
To update on the post-approval safety profile of CT3.5 in patients with RMS, including COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections.
Serious and non-serious adverse events (AEs) from post-approval sources (including spontaneous individual case safety reports, non-interventional post-marketing studies, and reports from other solicited sources) are presented to Jan 2020. AE rates are shown as crude incidences (events/number of patients). Up-to-date COVID-19 findings are summarized.
A total of 2570 AEs were reported for the first 14,813 patients who received CT3.5 post-approval; 303 (12%) events were classified as serious and none represented a new safety signal. Crude incidences for AEs of special interest were as follows: severe lymphopenia, 0.002; herpes zoster, 0.008; tuberculosis, 0.0004; severe infections, 0.009; progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, 0; opportunistic infections, 0.001; malignancies, 0.0015; and teratogenicity, 0. The majority of opportunistic infections were superficial dermal and mucosal fungal infections that resolved on standard treatments.
The pattern of respiratory viral infections (typically non-serious) with post-approval use of CT3.5 was also consistent with that from the clinical development program; crude incidences were as follows: influenza, 0.005; viral infection, 0.002; and viral upper respiratory tract infection, 0.0004. As of 29 Jun 2020, the Merck safety database included 18 cases of confirmed COVID-19 in CT3.5-treated patients. An update on latest findings on COVID-19 infections will be presented, including analysis of time of infection since treatment where available.
No new safety signals were identified in the real-world post-approval data of CT3.5, cumulative to Jan 2020. The safety profile of CT3.5, including respiratory viral infections, is consistent with previously published integrated safety analyses of the clinical development data.