Thursday, December 27, 2012
New medication represents major treatment advance for adult patients with Short Bowel Syndrome
DEERFIELD, Ill., Dec. 27, 2012 – Walgreens Infusion Services (NASDAQ: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) has been selected as a contracted provider of a new life-altering injectable medication that helps patients with short bowel syndrome (SBS) get more – or all – of their nutrients orally, reducing their dependence on intravenous parenteral nutrition (PN). Gattex® (Teduglitide [rDNA origin]) for Injection, for subcutaneous use, is the first long-term treatment advance in nearly 40 years for SBS, a condition that develops after extensive surgical removal of the bowel due to Crohn’s disease, ischemia and other conditions.1
A once-daily subcutaneous injection, Gattex is manufactured by NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Walgreens Infusion Services, a leading national provider of home and alternate treatment site infusion services, was chosen to provide and support the administration of Gattex due to its ability to provide extensive clinical support to patients undergoing treatment for complex conditions and its nationwide network of local offices. Walgreens Infusion Services has a staff of more than 1,400 clinical experts, including specially trained infusion nurses, infusion pharmacists and registered dietitians, at more than 75 infusion pharmacies and 100 alternate treatment sites across the country. The company’s comprehensive infusion therapy management programs are offered for patients with nutrition disorders, in addition to those with bleeding disorders and heart failure, as well as those needing immunoglobulin (IG) therapy, anti-infective therapy and transplant services.
“Our interdisciplinary team approach to caring for parenteral nutrition patients fits perfectly with the clinical care services required for Gattex, which can help provide patients greater freedom and better quality of life,” said Paul Mastrapa, president of Walgreens Infusion Services. “Our experienced clinical teams will work together to educate SBS patients who are prescribed Gattex, continually monitoring their progress and coordinating their care with their physicians to help ensure successful outcomes.”
Patients with SBS often suffer from malnutrition, severe diarrhea, dehydration and other conditions because their intestines have reduced capacity to absorb nutrients, water and electrolytes. The standard of care for SBS is nutritional support, including PN, which does not improve the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, electrolytes and fluids. PN patients usually receive daily infusions of nutrients, which often lasts for eight to 10 hours. Gattex has been shown to reduce SBS patients’ dependence on PN by increased intestinal absorption of nutrients – so much so that some patients are able to completely wean off the therapy.2
“Walgreens will help play a key role in the clinical and educational services that we collectively provide to improve the medical outcomes of adult short bowel syndrome patients,” said Francois Nader, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NPS Pharmaceuticals.
Gattex was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 21, 2012 for the treatment of adult patients with short bowel syndrome who are dependent on parenteral support.
1. NPS Pharmaceuticals Partners with Leading Specialty Home Infusion Providers to Support Distribution and Home-based Clinical Care Services for Gattex®. Press release.
2. Jeppesen PB, Pertkiewicz M, Messing B, et al. Teduglutide Reduces Need for Parenteral Support Among Patients With Short Bowel Syndrome With Intestinal Failure. Gastroenterology. 2012;143(6):1473-1481. http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(12)01316-9/fulltext#sec2