Eculizumab (Soliris®) recipients have a 1,000 to 2,000-fold greater risk of invasive meningococcal disease compared to the general U.S. population. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescribing information for eculizumab includes a black box warning for increased risk of meningococcal disease, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends meningococcal vaccination for all patients receiving eculizumab. Recent data show that some patients receiving eculizumab who were vaccinated with the recommended meningococcal vaccines still developed meningococcal disease, most often from nongroupable Neisseria meningitidis, which rarely causes invasive disease in healthy individuals.
Eculizumab is most commonly prescribed for treatment of 2 rare blood disorders: atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) and paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). Through a request for data on meningococcal disease cases reported to state health departments, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 16 cases of meningococcal disease in eculizumab recipients in the United States from 2008 through 2016; 11 (69%) of these were caused by nongroupable N. meningitidis. Meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) vaccine targets serogroups A, C, W, and Y, and provides no protection against nongroupable N. meningitidis. Serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) vaccines are licensed specifically for protection against serogroup B meningococcal disease. Researchers have not assessed the extent of any potential cross protection for nongroupable N. meningitidis strains.
Eculizumab and myasthenia gravis
In March of 2017, the United States Food and Drug Administration accepted for review Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) to extend the indication for Soliris® (eculizumab) as a potential treatment for patients with refractory generalized myasthenia gravis who are anti-acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibody-positive. See that press release here.
Recommendations for Healthcare Providers
Source: News Release
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
June 7, 2017