DUBLIN, May 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Alkermes plc (Nasdaq: ALKS) today announced the expansion of several programs and services in support of patient access to its proprietary medicines during the COVID-19 crisis. During this unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation, the company remains focused on helping to assure that patients have uninterrupted access to ARISTADA® (aripiprazole lauroxil), an injectable atypical antipsychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults, and VIVITROL® (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension), indicated for the treatment of alcohol dependence and the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence following opioid detoxification.
"In these challenging and uncertain times, it is critical that we continue to support people living with opioid dependence, alcohol dependence and schizophrenia," said Richard Pops, Chief Executive Officer of Alkermes. "As COVID-19 and efforts to contain its spread impact access to care for some patients, we are committed to helping assure that patients have access to the medications that may help them. At Alkermes, our work has always been guided by the needs of patients and our dedication has never been stronger or more important than at this moment."
Examples of actions taken to date include:
- Expanding Alkermes' injection site network to include additional appropriate retail pharmacies and clinics where patients can receive injections of ARISTADA and VIVITROL. As part of this initiative, Alkermes has added to its Provider Locator more than 900 on-site retail pharmacies at certain Albertsons Companies locations under the banner names Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Shaw's, Star Markets and Vons. Pharmacists at these designated Albertsons Companies locations throughout the U.S. now are available to provide injections of ARISTADA and VIVITROL. These Albertsons sites extend Alkermes' existing Provider Locator network and offer patients additional injection options across the country.
The most comprehensive and up-to-date information on active providers and alternative sites of care is available on the Provider Locator resources page for each of ARISTADA (https://www.aristada.com/find-provider) and VIVITROL (https://www.vivitrol.com/find-a-treatment-provider).
Alkermes continues to work to add additional alternative injection sites to further expand its Provider Locator network during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Interested providers, including retail pharmacies and clinics, may contact ARISTADA Care Support (1-866-274-7823) or Vivitrol2getherSM (1-800-848-4876) to determine if they are eligible to be included in a Provider Locator.
- Enhancing Patient Access Services to help patients, families and healthcare providers who are on the front lines of providing essential care to patients navigate challenges that may arise for patients in accessing prescribed medications during this crisis. Alkermes' dedicated Patient Access Services staff are available daily from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET to help verify insurance coverage for our medicines, identify and connect patients to healthcare providers in their community who are accepting new patients and providing patient treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and address product or patient services questions during this uncertain period.
For ARISTADA patients, ARISTADA Care Support can be reached by calling 1-866-ARISTADA (1-866-274-7823) or visiting https://www.aristada.com/resources.
For VIVITROL patients, Vivitrol2gether can be reached by calling 1-800-VIVITROL (1-800-848-4876) or visiting https://www.vivitrol.com/opioid-dependence/support.
- Adding product education and resources for healthcare providers through the use of virtual educational interactions.
Additional Alkermes programs in support of patient access to our medicines include:
- Patient Assistance Programs that help eligible patients with the cost of their prescribed Alkermes medicines. These programs are available for patients in the U.S. who meet insurance coverage and financial criteria, including those who may be facing hardship because of the COVID-19 crisis.
For more information on these programs, please contact ARISTADA Care Support (1-866-ARISTADA (1-866-274-7823) or https://www.aristada.com/resources) or Vivitrol2gether representatives (1-800-VIVITROL (1-800-848-4876) or https://www.vivitrol.com/opioid-dependence/support).
- Co-Pay Savings Programs that help lower, or in some cases eliminate, out-of-pocket costs, such as co-payment and deductible expenses, for patients who have commercial health insurance and meet eligibility criteria.
More information about the ARISTADA Co-Pay Savings Program can be found at https://www.aristada.com/copay-savings.
More information about the VIVITROL Co-Pay Savings Program can be found at https://www.vivitrol.com/co-pay-savings-program.
INDICATION and IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION for ARISTADA INITIO® (aripiprazole lauroxil) and ARISTADA® (aripiprazole lauroxil) extended-release injectable suspension, for intramuscular use
ARISTADA INITIO, in combination with oral aripiprazole, is indicated for the initiation of ARISTADA when used for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults.
ARISTADA is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNING: INCREASED MORTALITY IN ELDERLY PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA-RELATED PSYCHOSIS
Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. ARISTADA INITIO and ARISTADA are not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.
Contraindication: Known hypersensitivity reaction to aripiprazole. Reactions have ranged from pruritus/urticaria to anaphylaxis.
Cerebrovascular Adverse Reactions, Including Stroke: Increased incidence of cerebrovascular adverse reactions (e.g., stroke, transient ischemic attack), including fatalities, have been reported in placebo-controlled trials of elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with risperidone, aripiprazole, and olanzapine. ARISTADA INITIO and ARISTADA are not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.
Potential for Dosing and Medication Errors: Medication errors, including substitution and dispensing errors, between ARISTADA INITIO and ARISTADA could occur. ARISTADA INITIO is intended for single administration in contrast to ARISTADA which is administered monthly, every 6 weeks, or every 8 weeks. Do not substitute ARISTADA INITIO for ARISTADA because of differing pharmacokinetic profiles.
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): A potentially fatal symptom complex may occur with administration of antipsychotic drugs, including ARISTADA INITIO and ARISTADA. Clinical manifestations of NMS include hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmia). Additional signs may include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis), and acute renal failure. The management of NMS should include: 1) immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy; 2) intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring; and 3) treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available.
Tardive Dyskinesia (TD): The risk of developing TD (a syndrome of abnormal, involuntary movements) and the potential for it to become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic increase. The syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses. Prescribing antipsychotics should be consistent with the need to minimize TD. Discontinue ARISTADA if clinically appropriate. TD may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn.
Metabolic Changes: Atypical antipsychotic drugs have been associated with metabolic changes that include:
- Hyperglycemia/Diabetes Mellitus: Hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis, coma, or death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics. There have been reports of hyperglycemia in patients treated with oral aripiprazole. Patients with diabetes should be regularly monitored for worsening of glucose control; those with risk factors for diabetes should undergo baseline and periodic fasting blood glucose testing. Any patient treated with atypical antipsychotics should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycemia, including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, and weakness. Patients who develop symptoms of hyperglycemia should also undergo fasting blood glucose testing. In some cases, hyperglycemia has resolved when the atypical antipsychotic was discontinued; however, some patients require continuation of antidiabetic treatment despite discontinuation of the suspect drug.
- Dyslipidemia: Undesirable alterations in lipids have been observed in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics.
- Weight Gain: Weight gain has been observed with atypical antipsychotic use. Clinical monitoring of weight is recommended.
Pathological Gambling and Other Compulsive Behaviors: Compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble have been reported with use of aripiprazole. Other compulsive urges less frequently reported include sexual urges, shopping, binge eating and other impulsive or compulsive behaviors which may result in harm for the patient and others if not recognized. Closely monitor patients and consider dose reduction or stopping aripiprazole if a patient develops such urges.
Orthostatic Hypotension: Aripiprazole may cause orthostatic hypotension which can be associated with dizziness, lightheadedness, and tachycardia. Monitor heart rate and blood pressure, and warn patients with known cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease and risk of dehydration and syncope.
Falls: Antipsychotics including ARISTADA INITIO and ARISTADA may cause somnolence, postural hypotension or motor and sensory instability which may lead to falls and subsequent injury. Upon initiating treatment and recurrently, complete fall risk assessments as appropriate.
Leukopenia, Neutropenia, and Agranulocytosis: Leukopenia, neutropenia and agranulocytosis have been reported with antipsychotics. Monitor complete blood count in patients with pre-existing low white blood cell count (WBC)/absolute neutrophil count or history of drug-induced leukopenia/neutropenia. Discontinue ARISTADA INITIO and/or ARISTADA at the first sign of a clinically significant decline in WBC and in severely neutropenic patients.
Seizures: Use with caution in patients with a history of seizures or with conditions that lower the seizure threshold.
Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment: ARISTADA INITIO and ARISTADA may impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including automobiles, until they are certain therapy with ARISTADA INITIO and/or ARISTADA does not affect them adversely.
Body Temperature Regulation: Disruption of the body's ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic agents. Advise patients regarding appropriate care in avoiding overheating and dehydration. Appropriate care is advised for patients who may exercise strenuously, may be exposed to extreme heat, receive concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or are subject to dehydration.
Dysphagia: Esophageal dysmotility and aspiration have been associated with antipsychotic drug use; use caution in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia.
Concomitant Medication: ARISTADA INITIO is only available at a single strength as a single-dose pre-filled syringe, so dosage adjustments are not possible. Avoid use in patients who are known CYP2D6 poor metabolizers or taking strong CYP3A4 inhibitors, strong CYP2D6 inhibitors, or strong CYP3A4 inducers, antihypertensive drugs or benzodiazepines.
Depending on the ARISTADA dose, adjustments may be recommended if patients are 1) known as CYP2D6 poor metabolizers and/or 2) taking strong CYP3A4 inhibitors, strong CYP2D6 inhibitors, or strong CYP3A4 inducers for greater than 2 weeks. Avoid use of ARISTADA 662mg, 882mg, or 1064 mg for patients taking both strong CYP3A4 inhibitors and strong CYP2D6 Inhibitors. (See Table 4 in the ARISTADA full Prescribing Information)
Commonly Observed Adverse Reactions: In pharmacokinetic studies the safety profile of ARISTADA INITIO was generally consistent with that observed for ARISTADA. The most common adverse reaction (≥5% incidence and at least twice the rate of placebo reported by patients treated with ARISTADA 441mg and 882 mg monthly) was akathisia.
Injection-Site Reactions: In pharmacokinetic studies evaluating ARISTADA INITIO, the incidences of injection site reactions with ARISTADA INITIO were similar to the incidence observed with ARISTADA. Injection-site reactions were reported by 4%, 5%, and 2% of patients treated with 441 mg ARISTADA (monthly), 882 mg ARISTADA (monthly), and placebo, respectively. Most of these were injection-site pain and associated with the first injection and decreased with each subsequent injection. Other injection-site reactions (induration, swelling, and redness) occurred at less than 1%.
Dystonia: Symptoms of dystonia, prolonged abnormal contractions of muscle groups, may occur in susceptible individuals during the first days of treatment and at low doses.
Pregnancy/Nursing: May cause extrapyramidal and/or withdrawal symptoms in neonates with third trimester exposure. Advise patients to notify their healthcare provider of a known or suspected pregnancy. Inform patients that there is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to ARISTADA INITIO and/or ARISTADA during pregnancy. Aripiprazole is present in human breast milk. The benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for ARISTADA INITIO and/or ARISTADA and any potential adverse effects on the infant from ARISTADA INITIO and/or ARISTADA or from the underlying maternal condition.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR VIVITROL®
VIVITROL® is indicated for:
- Treatment of alcohol dependence in patients who are able to abstain from alcohol in an outpatient setting prior to initiation of treatment with VIVITROL. Patients should not be actively drinking at the time of initial VIVITROL administration.
- Prevention of relapse to opioid dependence, following opioid detoxification.
- VIVITROL should be part of a comprehensive management program that includes psychosocial support.
VIVITROL is contraindicated in patients:
- Receiving opioid analgesics
- With current physiologic opioid dependence
- In acute opioid withdrawal
- Who have failed the naloxone challenge test or have a positive urine screen for opioids
- Who have exhibited hypersensitivity to naltrexone, polylactide-co-glycolide (PLG), carboxymethylcellulose, or any other components of the diluent
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Vulnerability to Opioid Overdose:
- After opioid detoxification, patients are likely to have a reduced tolerance to opioids. VIVITROL blocks the effects of exogenous opioids for approximately 28 days after administration. As the blockade wanes and eventually dissipates completely, use of previously tolerated doses of opioids could result in potentially life-threatening opioid intoxication (respiratory compromise or arrest, circulatory collapse, etc.).
- Cases of opioid overdose with fatal outcomes have been reported in patients who used opioids at the end of a dosing interval, after missing a scheduled dose, or after discontinuing treatment. Patients and caregivers should be told of this increased sensitivity to opioids and the risk of overdose.
- Although VIVITROL is a potent antagonist with a prolonged pharmacological effect, the blockade produced by VIVITROL is surmountable. The plasma concentration of exogenous opioids attained immediately following their acute administration may be sufficient to overcome the competitive receptor blockade. This poses a potential risk to individuals who attempt, on their own, to overcome the blockade by administering large amounts of exogenous opioids.
- Any attempt by a patient to overcome the VIVITROL blockade by taking opioids may lead to fatal overdose. Patients should be told of the serious consequences of trying to overcome the opioid blockade.
Injection Site Reactions:
- VIVITROL must be prepared and administered by a healthcare provider.
- VIVITROL injections may be followed by pain, tenderness, induration, swelling, erythema, bruising, or pruritus; however, in some cases injection site reactions may be very severe.
- Injection site reactions not improving may require prompt medical attention, including, in some cases, surgical intervention.
- Inadvertent subcutaneous/adipose layer injection of VIVITROL may increase the likelihood of severe injection site reactions.
- Select proper needle size for patient body habitus, and use only the needles provided in the carton.
- Patients should be informed that any concerning injection site reactions should be brought to the attention of their healthcare provider.
Precipitation of Opioid Withdrawal:
- When withdrawal is precipitated abruptly by administration of an opioid antagonist to an opioid-dependent patient, the resulting withdrawal syndrome can be severe. Some cases of withdrawal symptoms have been severe enough to require hospitalization, and in some cases, management in the ICU.
- To prevent occurrence of precipitated withdrawal, opioid-dependent patients, including those being treated for alcohol dependence, should be opioid-free (including tramadol) before starting VIVITROL treatment:
- An opioid-free interval of a minimum of 7–10 days is recommended for patients previously dependent on short-acting opioids.
- Patients transitioning from buprenorphine or methadone may be vulnerable to precipitated withdrawal for as long as two weeks.
- If a more rapid transition from agonist to antagonist therapy is deemed necessary and appropriate by the healthcare provider, monitor the patient closely in an appropriate medical setting where precipitated withdrawal can be managed.
- Patients should be made aware of the risk associated with precipitated withdrawal and be encouraged to give an accurate account of last opioid use.
- Cases of hepatitis and clinically significant liver dysfunction have been observed in association with VIVITROL. Warn patients of the risk of hepatic injury; advise them to seek help if experiencing symptoms of acute hepatitis. Discontinue use of VIVITROL in patients who exhibit acute hepatitis symptoms.
Depression and Suicidality:
- Alcohol- and opioid-dependent patients taking VIVITROL should be monitored for depression or suicidal thoughts. Alert families and caregivers to monitor and report the emergence of symptoms of depression or suicidality.
When Reversal of VIVITROL Blockade Is Required for Pain Management:
- For VIVITROL patients in emergency situations, suggestions for pain management include regional analgesia or use of non-opioid analgesics. If opioid therapy is required to reverse the VIVITROL blockade, patients should be closely monitored by trained personnel in a setting staffed and equipped for CPR.
- Cases of eosinophilic pneumonia requiring hospitalization have been reported. Warn patients of the risk of eosinophilic pneumonia and to seek medical attention if they develop symptoms of pneumonia.
- Patients should be warned of the risk of hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis.
- As with any intramuscular injection, VIVITROL should be administered with caution to patients with thrombocytopenia or any coagulation disorder.
- Use of VIVITROL does not eliminate nor diminish alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- The adverse events seen most frequently in association with VIVITROL therapy for alcohol dependence (ie, those occurring in ≥5% and at least twice as frequently with VIVITROL than placebo) include nausea, vomiting, injection site reactions (including induration, pruritus, nodules, and swelling), arthralgia, arthritis, or joint stiffness, muscle cramps, dizziness or syncope, somnolence or sedation, anorexia, decreased appetite or other appetite disorders.
- The adverse events seen most frequently in association with VIVITROL in opioid-dependent patients (ie, those occurring in ≥2% and at least twice as frequently with VIVITROL than placebo) were hepatic enzyme abnormalities, injection site pain, nasopharyngitis, insomnia, and toothache.
You are encouraged to report side effects to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please see Full Prescribing Information for VIVITROL.
About Alkermes plc
Alkermes plc is a fully integrated, global biopharmaceutical company developing innovative medicines in the fields of neuroscience and oncology. The company has a portfolio of proprietary commercial products focused on addiction and schizophrenia, and a pipeline of product candidates in development for schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Alkermes plc has an R&D center in Waltham, Massachusetts; a research and manufacturing facility in Athlone, Ireland; and a manufacturing facility in Wilmington, Ohio. For more information, please visit Alkermes' website at www.alkermes.com.
Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements set forth in this press release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended, including, but not limited to, statements concerning: the company's expectations with respect to its business operations, plans and prospects, including its plans to further expand the provider network for VIVITROL and ARISTADA and its continued ability to otherwise support uninterrupted access to its medicines. The company cautions that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. Although the company believes that such statements are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business and operations, the forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees and they are necessarily subject to a high degree of uncertainty and risk. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements due to various risks and uncertainties, including, among others: the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to mitigate its spread on the company's business, including impacts on the vendors or distribution channels in its supply chain, impacts on healthcare systems that serve people living with opioid dependence, alcohol dependence and schizophrenia and on patient and healthcare provider access to the company's medicines, impacts on services related to the use of its products, and impacts on the U.S., Irish and/or global economies more broadly. and those risks and uncertainties described under the heading "Risk Factors" in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019, the company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 and in subsequent filings made by the company with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), which are available on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. Except as required by law, the company disclaims any intention or responsibility for updating or revising any forward-looking statements contained in this press release.
VIVITROL® is a registered trademark of Alkermes, Inc.; Vivitrol2gether is a service mark of Alkermes, Inc.; ARISTADA® and ARISTADA INITIO® are registered trademarks of Alkermes Pharma Ireland Limited.
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