AstraZeneca announced that the European Commission has granted marketing authorisation for Lokelma (formerly ZS-9, sodium zirconium cyclosilicate) for the treatment of adults with hyperkalaemia. Hyperkalaemia is a serious condition characterised by elevated potassium levels in the blood associated with cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases.
Lokelma is a highly-selective, oral potassium-removing agent. The approval is supported by data from three double-blind, placebo-controlled trials and one open-label trial, where patients with hyperkalaemia were treated for up to 12 months. In these trials, for patients receiving Lokelma the median time to achieving normal potassium levels in the blood was 2.2 hours, with 98% achieving normal levels within 48 hours from baseline. Lokelma also demonstrated sustained potassium control for up to one year.
The risk of hyperkalaemia increases significantly for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and for those who take common life-saving medications for heart failure (HF), such as renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors, which can increase potassium in the blood. To help prevent the recurrence of hyperkalaemia, RAAS-inhibitor therapy is often modified or discontinued; this can, however, compromise cardio-renal outcomes and increase the risk of death.
Lokelma is currently under separate regulatory review in the US, with a decision expected in the first half of 2018.