WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Lexicon Pharmaceuticals’ Xermelo (telotristat ethyl) tablets in combination with somatostatin analog therapy for the treatment of adults with carcinoid syndrome diarrhea that SSA therapy alone has inadequately controlled.
Carcinoid syndrome is a cluster of symptoms sometimes seen in people with carcinoid tumors. These tumors are rare, and often slow-growing. Most carcinoid tumors are found in the gastrointestinal tract. According to the FDA, carcinoid syndrome occurs in less than 10% of patients with carcinoid tumors, usually after the tumor has spread to the liver. The tumors in these patients release excess amounts of the hormone serotonin, resulting in diarrhea. Complications of uncontrolled diarrhea include weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance.
“Today’s approval will provide patients whose carcinoid syndrome diarrhea is not adequately controlled with another treatment option,” said Julie Beitz, M.D., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Xermelo, in a regimen with SSA therapy, is approved in tablet form to be taken orally three times daily with food. Xermelo inhibits the production of serotonin by carcinoid tumors and reduces the frequency of carcinoid syndrome diarrhea.
The safety and efficacy of Xermelo was established in a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 90 adult participants with well-differentiated metastatic neuroendocrine tumors and carcinoid syndrome diarrhea.
The most common side effects of Xermelo include nausea, headache, increased levels of the liver enzyme gamma-glutamyl transferase, depression, accumulation of fluid causing swelling (peripheral edema), flatulence, decreased appetite and fever.