Alfano LN, Charleston JS, Connolly AM, et al. Long-term treatment with eteplirsen in nonambulatory patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Medicine 2019;98:e15858
This analysis aims to describe the outcomes of two nonambulatory patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) who participated in two clinical studies. The two consecutive trials of eteplirsen (studies 201 and 202) were conducted in patients with DMD (N = 12) and confirmed genetic mutations amenable to exon 51 skipping.In study 201, 12 patients were randomized to receive once-weekly, double-blind intravenous infusions of eteplirsen 30 or 50 mg/kg or placebo for 24 weeks; patients then received open-label eteplirsen during weeks 25 through 28. All 12 patients continued onto open-label extension study 202 and received long-term treatment with eteplirsen. We compared cardiac, pulmonary, and upper limb function and dystrophin production in the nonambulatory twin patients versus the 10 ambulatory patients through 240 combined treatment weeks.Ten study patients remained ambulatory through both studies, while the identical twin patients both experienced early, rapid loss of ambulation. The twin patients had greater disease severity at baseline (6-minute walk test [6MWT], 330 and 256 m) versus the other patients (n = 10; 6MWT range, 341-418 m). They maintained cardiac and upper limb function through combined week 240, with outcomes similar to those of the patients who remained ambulatory. Dystrophin production was confirmed following eteplirsen treatment.Despite the loss of ambulation, other markers of disease progression remained relatively stable in the eteplirsen-treated twin patients and were similar to those of the ambulatory patients.