FDA Approves Veklury® (Remdesivir) for COVID-19 Treatment in Patients With Severe Renal Impairment, Including Those on Dialysis
-- Veklury is Now the First Approved Antiviral Treatment for Patients Across all Stages of Renal Disease --
“Patients with advanced CKD and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) are at high risk for severe COVID-19 with hospitalization and mortality rates remaining high, even for those who are vaccinated. With limited clinical trial information for COVID-19 patients with advanced CKD and ESKD, few antiviral treatment options currently exist for this population,” said Meghan Sise, MD, Department of Nephrology at Massachusetts General Hospital. “This latest update to the prescribing information for remdesivir now includes patients with advanced CKD and ESKD and this is an important advance for a population that remains highly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.”
The updated prescribing information for Veklury does not require dose adjustments for renally-impaired patients and removes the requirement for eGFR testing before or during treatment with Veklury. The clinical benefit of Veklury in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is supported by randomized controlled trials, real-world evidence and meta-analyses, but its use has previously been limited among patients with severe renal impairment due to insufficient data. This approval for use in patients with severe renal impairment was based on results from a Phase 1 study (GS-US-540-9015), as well as results from the Phase 3 REDPINE trial that demonstrated the pharmacokinetics (PK) and safety profile of Veklury in this population. No new safety signals were observed in either of the studies.
“The approval by the FDA of Veklury for the treatment of patients with renal impairment reflects the urgency to make this medicine available to these patients, and underscores the established safety profile for Veklury,” said Anu Osinusi, Vice President, Clinical Research for Hepatitis, Respiratory and Emerging Viruses at Gilead Sciences. “Gilead is committed to discovering, developing and providing transformational therapies for COVID-19, including for the most vulnerable populations at risk of developing severe disease.”
About GS-US-540-5912 (REDPINE)
Gilead conducted a Phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multicenter study (REDPINE) evaluating the efficacy and safety of Veklury in patients with severely reduced kidney function who are hospitalized with COVID-19. The trial enrolled 243 hospitalized adult participants with confirmed COVID-19 and renal impairment who were randomized in a 2:1 manner to receive Veklury (n=163) or placebo (n=80), in addition to standard of care, and were stratified by ESKD, high-flow oxygen requirement, and region (US vs. ex-US). The study closed prematurely due to feasibility issues and was underpowered to assess for efficacy because of lower-than-expected enrollment. No new safety signals were observed in the study and no additional adverse reactions to Veklury were identified in 163 hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 and acute kidney injury (AKI) (n=60), CKD (eGFR <30 mL/minute) (n=44) or ESKD (eGFR <15 mL/minute) requiring hemodialysis (n=59) receiving Veklury for up to 5 days.
Pharmacokinetic data was obtained from the REDPINE study, as well as a Phase 1 open-label, parallel-group, single-dose study (GS-US-540-9015). Given the observed PK and the absence of any new safety signals associated with increased metabolite levels in patients with severely reduced kidney function, no dose adjustment of Veklury is recommended in patients with any degree of renal impairment, including those on dialysis.
About Gilead’s COVID-19 Development Program
Veklury (remdesivir) is a nucleotide analog invented by Gilead, building on more than a decade of the company’s antiviral research. Veklury is the antiviral standard of care for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and is a recommended treatment for reducing disease progression in non-hospitalized patients at high risk of disease progression. Veklury has an established safety profile and minimal known drug interactions in diverse populations. It plays an important role in reducing disease progression and mortality across a spectrum of disease severity and enabling patients to recover faster.
Veklury directly inhibits viral replication inside of the cell by targeting the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA polymerase. Based on in vitro analyses, Veklury retains antiviral activity against recent Omicron subvariants of concern, including BQ.1.1 and XBB. Data continue to confirm that Veklury retains antiviral activity against all Omicron subvariants analyzed to date. Gilead continuously evaluates the activity of Veklury against new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern as they emerge around the world.
Veklury is approved in more than 50 countries worldwide. To date, Veklury and generic remdesivir have been made available to more than 13 million patients around the world, including more than 8 million people in middle- and low-income countries through Gilead’s voluntary licensing program.
There remains a significant need to develop new and effective oral treatment options for people with COVID-19. Gilead is also working to advance an investigational oral antiviral, obeldesivir, for the treatment of COVID-19. Obeldesivir is a direct-acting nucleoside inhibitor of the of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), a critical component that the virus uses to replicate. Once metabolized, obeldesivir works in the same way as Veklury to halt SARS-CoV-2 virus replication.
VEKLURY is indicated for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (≥28 days old and weighing ≥3 kg) who are:
- Hospitalized, or
- Not hospitalized, have mild-to-moderate COVID-19, and are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.
For more information, please see the
Veklury is contraindicated in patients with a history of clinically significant hypersensitivity reactions to Veklury or any of its components.
Warnings and precautions
- Hypersensitivity, including infusion-related and anaphylactic reactions: Hypersensitivity, including infusion-related and anaphylactic reactions, has been observed during and following administration of Veklury; most occurred within one hour. Monitor patients during infusion and observe for at least one hour after infusion is complete for signs and symptoms of hypersensitivity as clinically appropriate. Symptoms may include hypotension, hypertension, tachycardia, bradycardia, hypoxia, fever, dyspnea, wheezing, angioedema, rash, nausea, diaphoresis, and shivering. Slower infusion rates (maximum infusion time up to 120 minutes) can potentially prevent these reactions. If a severe infusion-related hypersensitivity reaction occurs, immediately discontinue Veklury and initiate appropriate treatment (see Contraindications).
- Increased risk of transaminase elevations: Transaminase elevations have been observed in healthy volunteers and in patients with COVID-19 who received Veklury; these elevations have also been reported as a clinical feature of COVID-19. Perform hepatic laboratory testing in all patients (see Dosage and administration). Consider discontinuing Veklury if ALT levels increase to >10x ULN. Discontinue Veklury if ALT elevation is accompanied by signs or symptoms of liver inflammation.
- Risk of reduced antiviral activity when coadministered with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine: Coadministration of Veklury with chloroquine phosphate or hydroxychloroquine sulfate is not recommended based on data from cell culture experiments, demonstrating potential antagonism, which may lead to a decrease in antiviral activity of Veklury.
- The most common adverse reaction (≥5% all grades) was nausea.
- The most common lab abnormalities (≥5% all grades) were increases in ALT and AST.
- Drug interaction trials of Veklury and other concomitant medications have not been conducted in humans.
Dosage and administration
- Administration should take place under conditions where management of severe hypersensitivity reactions, such as anaphylaxis, is possible.
- Treatment duration:
- For patients who are hospitalized, Veklury should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of symptomatic COVID-19.
- For patients who are hospitalized and do not require invasive mechanical ventilation and/or ECMO, the recommended treatment duration is 5 days. If a patient does not demonstrate clinical improvement, treatment may be extended up to 5 additional days, for a total treatment duration of up to 10 days.
- For patients who are hospitalized and require invasive mechanical ventilation and/or ECMO, the recommended total treatment duration is 10 days.
- For patients who are not hospitalized, diagnosed with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, and are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death, the recommended total treatment duration is 3 days. Veklury should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of symptomatic COVID-19 and within 7 days of symptom onset for outpatient use.
- Testing prior to and during treatment: Perform hepatic laboratory and prothrombin time testing prior to initiating Veklury and during use as clinically appropriate.
- Renal impairment: No dosage adjustment of Veklury is recommended in patients with any degree of renal impairment, including patients on dialysis. Veklury may be administered without regard to the timing of dialysis.
Pregnancy and lactation
- Pregnancy: A pregnancy registry has been established for Veklury Available clinical trial data for Veklury in pregnant women have not identified a drug-associated risk of major birth defects, miscarriage, or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes following second- and third- trimester exposure. There are insufficient data to evaluate the risk of Veklury exposure during the first- trimester. Maternal and fetal risks are associated with untreated COVID-19 in pregnancy.
- Lactation: Veklury can pass into breast milk. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for Veklury and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from Veklury or from an underlying maternal condition. Breastfeeding individuals with COVID-19 should follow practices according to clinical guidelines to avoid exposing the infant to COVID-19.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis and cancer. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including Gilead’s ability to effectively manage the supply and distribution of Veklury; Gilead’s ability to initiate, progress or complete clinical trials within currently anticipated timelines or at all, and the possibility of unfavorable results from ongoing or additional clinical trials, including those involving Veklury and obeldesivir; uncertainties relating to regulatory applications and related filing and approval timelines; the risk that any regulatory approvals, if granted, may be subject to significant limitations on use; the risk that physicians may not see the benefits of prescribing Veklury; and any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. These and other risks, uncertainties and factors are described in detail in Gilead’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2023, as filed with the
Veklury, Gilead and the Gilead logo are registered trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies.
For more information about Gilead, please visit the company’s website at www.gilead.com, follow Gilead on Twitter (@Gilead Sciences) or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000.
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Source: Gilead Sciences, Inc.