Eculizumab Associated With Increased Risk of Meningococcal Disease

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that eculizumab – a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome – is associated with a 1,000- to 2,000-fold risk of meningococcal disease. The risk is also increased in those who have received the vaccine.

In February 2017, the CDC requested that health departments review existing meningococcal disease case investigation records since 2007 to identify cases. They found that between 2008 and 2016, 16 cases of meningococcal disease occurred in patients receiving eculizumab, and 14 of those patients had documentation of at least one dose of meningococcal vaccine before disease onset. All patients (median age = 30 years; range = 16-83 years) had meningococcemia, with six patients showing signs of meningitis. The patients were hospitalized for a mean of 6.6 days (range = 1-14 days), and one patient died (fatality ratio = 6%).

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press release, July 7, 2017.

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