Review of the safety and efficacy of imiglucerase treatment of Gaucher disease
Deborah Elstein, Ari Zimran
Gaucher Clinic, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
Abstract: Most patients who suffer from symptomatic Gaucher disease will benefit from enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) with imiglucerase. The safety profile is excellent, only a small percentage of those exposed developing antibodies; similarly, very few patients require pre-medication for allergic reactions. Within 3 to 5 years of imiglucerase therapy, best documented at doses of 30 to 60 units/kg/infusion, hepatosplenomegaly can be expected to be reduced so that the liver volume will be maintained at 1 to 1.5 times normal (30% to 40% reduction from advent of ERT) and spleen volume to ≤2 to 8 times normal (50% to 60% reduction from advent of ERT). For anemic and thrombocytopenic patients, with 2 to 5 years of imiglucerase, hemoglobin levels are expected to be ≥11 g/dL for women and children and ≥12 g/dL for men; and platelet counts in patients with an intact spleen, depending on the baseline value, should approximately be doubled. Bone crises and bone pain but not irreversible skeletal damage will improve in most patients. Nonetheless, some features and some symptomatic patients apparently do not respond equally well and/or perhaps inadequately. The benefit for patients with the neuronopathic forms is primarily in improved visceral and hematological signs and symptoms. There are still several unresolved issues, the high per-unit cost being an important one, which have spurred the development of biosimilar enzymes as well as chaperone therapies currently in clinical trials.
Keywords: Gaucher disease, enzyme replacement therapy, imiglucerase, substrate reduction therapy, pharmacological chaperones, cost
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