What is Vyvgart Uses, warnings & interactions
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Vyvgart (efgartigimod alfa-fcab) is a biological drug that is manufactured by Argenx. It was approved in 2021 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) in adults. Myasthenia gravis is a rare autoimmune disease that ranges from 150 to 200 cases per million people. It is a treatable disease but can result in significant complications such as muscle weakness and even death. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent most of these complications.
If your doctor has prescribed Vyvgart to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Vyvgart is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Vyvgart used for?
Vyvgart (efgartigimod alfa) is a neonatal Fc receptor inhibitor indicated for the treatment of generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) in adults who are anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibody positive.
How does Vyvgart work?
Myasthenia gravis is a rare autoimmune, neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the voluntary muscles in your eyes, face, mouth, throat, arms, and legs. It typically worsens with activity and improves with rest. In myasthenia gravis, your immune system produces AChR antibodies that interfere with communication between nerves and muscles, resulting in muscle weakness that can be life-threatening.
Vyvgart is a human immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody fragment that binds to the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) to reduce IgG levels, including the abnormal AChR antibodies that are present in myasthenia gravis. It is the reduction in these circulating antibodies that helps relieve symptoms of myasthenia gravis.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Vyvgart?
- 400mg in 20ml (20mg/ml) single-dose vial for IV infusion
Before taking Vyvgart
Before beginning Vyvgart treatment, tell your doctor if you have any of the following medical conditions:
- History of infection or you have an active infection.
- Have received or are planning to receive a vaccine (immunization). You may need to receive immunizations before the initiation of a new treatment cycle with this medication. Administration of live vaccines is not recommended while receiving Vyvgart.
- Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, are breastfeeding.
How to take Vyvgart
Vyvgart is not a medication you can give yourself at home. It is typically given as an hour-long IV infusion by a trained healthcare professional. You will receive these infusions once a week for 4 weeks. If you do not have an adequate response, you may receive additional treatment cycles. You should not start a new cycle unless it has been 50 days since the start of the previous cycle. Your dose of Vyvgart for each infusion is 10mg/kg of body weight or 1,200mg for patients who weigh 120kg (265lbs) or more.
Currently, there are no contraindications associated with Vyvgart.
- You should not receive Vygart if you have an active infection. Notify your doctor if you notice any signs and symptoms of infection such as sore throat, fever, chills, cough, or painful urination while taking this medication.
- Hypersensitivity reactions have occurred with this medication. If you experience a severe reaction, your doctor will discontinue the infusion and administer appropriate treatment.
Vyvgart drug interactions
When Vyvgart is taken with other medications, it may change the way they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. Discuss with your doctor whether any of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may interact with this medication. This can include medications that bind to the human neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) such as monoclonal antibodies which can reduce the effectiveness of these medications.
Vyvgart side effects
The most common side effects of Vyvgart in clinical trials include:
- Respiratory tract infections
- Urinary tract infection
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- High cholesterol
- Low magnesium and/or calcium
- Back pain
- Shortness of breath
Sometimes, Vyvgart can cause more serious side effects, including:
- Severe allergic reactions (eyelid swelling, rash, and shortness of breath)
- Serious infection
Contact your doctor for medical advice about any adverse effects you experience while taking Vyvgart. You can report your side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your healthcare professional can prescribe other medications for myasthenia gravis if Vyvgart is not right for you. These other treatment options will vary by different factors such as side effects and costs. Some FDA-approved alternatives to Vyvgart include:
- Soliris (eculizumab)
- Carimune NF (immune globulin IV)
- Mestinon (pyridostigmine)
- Deltasone (prednisone)
- Cellcept (mycophenolate)
- Prostigmin (neostigmine)
Can you take Vyvgart while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
There is no data on the effects of Vyvgart use during pregnancy. There were no adverse outcomes in animal studies. There is also no data regarding the presence of Vyvgart in breast milk, the possible effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production. Maternal IgG is known to be present in human milk. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
How can I keep track of my myasthenia gravis symptoms?
You can keep track of your myasthenia gravis symptoms by filling out the myasthenia gravis activities of daily living (MG-ADL) survey once a week. Be sure to share your survey with your neurologist as it may help them determine your next treatment cycle.
What is the cost of Vyvgart?
The cost for 20ml of Vyvgart 400mg/20ml IV solution is around $6,275.
How effective is Vyvgart?
According to the package insert, a placebo-controlled clinical study showed that 68% of anti-AChR antibody-positive patients treated with Vyvgart showed significant symptom improvement for at least a month.
Where can I find more information on myasthenia gravis?
You can go to Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America for more information on this condition, support for those living with MG, and to create connections within the MG community.
Is there a generic for Vyvgart?
Currently, there is no generic Vyvgart available on the market. However, you can still save on brand-name drugs like Vyvgart through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.