FDA clarifies position on low blood pressure drug

PHILADELPHIA The Food and Drug Administration did not completely withdraw from the market a drug used to treat a dangerous low blood pressure condition, but merely proposed to do so as a “step in the regulatory process,” according to a document posted on the agency’s website Monday.

The agency said its proposal last month to withdraw approval for Shire’s drug ProAmatine (midodrine) did not represent the actual withdrawal of the drug from the market, while calling for more data on the drug to verify its clinical benefit.


The drug, originally made by Roberts Pharmaceutical, received accelerated approval in 1996 as a treatment for orthostatic hypotension, a condition in which patients are unable to maintain blood pressure when standing. The drug since has been approved in generic form as well. Shire acquired rights to the drug when it acquired Roberts in 1999.


On Aug. 16, the FDA proposed withdrawing marketing approval for ProAmatine because of a failure of clinical study data to demonstrate its efficacy in patients with the condition, though many patients, physicians and professional groups continue to regard it as efficacious, according to the document. Shire announced Aug. 17 that it had elected to withdraw the drug, effective Sept. 30.


Shire hailed the news. “Shire is very pleased that FDA has stated that ‘continued patient access to midodrine is a key agency priority’ and that the FDA has taken action allowing midodrine to remain accessible to patients and their families who rely on this medicine,” Shire SVP research and development Jeffrey Jonas said. “We look forward to continuing our ongoing discussions with the FDA related to the efficacy of this medicine.”


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