The Food and Drug Administration disapproved Neffy, an epinephrine nasal spray from drug maker ARS Pharmaceuticals, keeping the first needle-free option for Americans to treat severe allergic responses off the market pending more trial data. In an emergency, epinephrine is critical for treating potentially life-threatening allergic responses. If authorized, the novel spray would give a welcome alternative for many families with children who have severe allergies and prefer not to use needles. This measure becomes extremely potent and relevant in the changing climate of the medical ecosystem, where there has been an increasingly invasive presence of substandard medicines and paraphernalia. The graveness of the situation is rather exacerbated by the fact that allergic responses have increased since the advent of COVID-19, which has radically realigned the collective immunity quotient of the populace, especially children.
The FDA postponed its decision deadline for Neffy by three months, telling the business that it needed additional time to finish its review. The firm stated that the agency was “working on labeling and post-marketing commitments as the final steps in the review process.” ARS Pharmaceuticals conducted several experiments to obtain data to determine whether their spray may be as effective as injections. These involved dosing participants exposed to seasonal allergens and assessing medication quantities in their bodies, producing contradictory data. Comparisons with epinephrine injection measures yielded mixed results.
ARS had anticipated that the FDA would approve Neffy for use in adults and children weighing more than 30 kilograms. The spray would have required a prescription like EpiPens and other epinephrine injections already used to treat anaphylaxis.
According to reports, the business intends to appeal the new verdict via a Formal Dispute Resolution Request (FDRR). Furthermore, the business intends to resubmit Neffy to the FDA by the first half of 2024, with an action date in the second part of the same year. The FDA’s CRL additionally requested nitrosamine impurity testing based on new draft guidance published post-Neffy NDA filing, which ARS Pharma believes will not significantly delay the product’s resubmission.
Type 1 reactions in allergy patients are characterized as significant, even possibly life-threatening, demanding immediate treatment after exposure. Epinephrine is currently the sole FDA-approved drug for the treatment of these responses. According to ARS Pharma experts, an estimated 25 to 40 million people in the United States Experience Type 1 allergic reactions, and only 3.3 million have prescriptions for active epinephrine auto-injectors.
Epinephrine has been used for more than a century, long before the FDA was formed, and has never been subjected to the agency’s rigorous safety and efficacy testing. Decades of widespread use of epinephrine have demonstrated that it is beneficial in treating allergic responses. Doctors agree that inducing a potentially dangerous anaphylactic reaction to test a new product is unethical. Foods such as peanuts, bee stings, and some drugs can cause severe allergic reactions.
According to ARS, it submitted data to the FDA demonstrating that Neffy provided a level of epinephrine consistent with auto-injector devices and that the medicine functioned in the body similarly to or better than what is seen with those devices. The FDA’s refusal to approve Neffy, the first nasal spray alternative to the EpiPen, is a setback for patients at risk of anaphylaxis. However, it is crucial to remember that the FDA made this judgment to protect public health. The agency advised additional research to ensure Neffy’s safety and efficacy, particularly in children.
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