FDA Approves Drug for Primary Hyperkalemic and Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis

Statement from MDA Executive Vice President and Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Valerie A. Cwik, M.D.:

We couldn’t be more pleased for our families affected by hyperkalemic and hypokalemic periodic paralysis, as the first treatment for these diseases has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is expected to be available in the coming months.”

“MDA provided support for the development of Keveyis beginning in the early 1990s. We are proud to have contributed to the early-stage development of the drug, and also to have provided funding support for a phase 3 human clinical trial — all of which has helped make this new treatment possible.”

“MDA is committed to bringing safe and effective treatments and cures to children and adults living with life-threatening neuromuscular diseases as quickly as possible. Today, there are new treatments in the pipeline that were inconceivable just a few years ago and more potential treatments are expected during the next five years than in the past five decades. As these treatments enter the regulatory review phase, MDA continues to work hand-in-hand with families, health care professionals and scientists to ensure the FDA has the necessary information and support to efficiently make decisions on potential life-changing drugs and to move these treatments as quickly and safely as possible from the labs to our families’ living rooms.”

See below to read Taro Pharmaceutical’s Press Release:

FDA Approves Taro’s Keveyis™ (dichlorphenamide) 50 mg Tablets for Primary Hyperkalemic and Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis

Orphan Drug is First Approved Treatment for Patients Living with Rare Debilitating Disease

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Aug. 10, 2015 —  Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.(NYSE:TARO) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Keveyis™ (dichlorphenamide) 50 mg Tablets for the treatment of primary hyperkalemic and hypokalemic periodic paralysis, a group of rare hereditary disorders that cause episodes of muscle weakness or paralysis [1]. Keveyis is the first medicine approved by the FDA for the treatment of primary periodic paralysis, which is estimated to affect approximately 5,000 people in the United States [2].

“The approval of Keveyis demonstrates the importance of industry, scientific researchers, patient advocates and the FDA working together to identify and bring to market a treatment for primary periodic paralysis,” said
Kal Sundaram, Chief Executive Officer of Taro. “Taro is proud of its commitment to this community, which has been waiting for a new, effective treatment option for many years. We thank the FDA for their continued partnership in making this important day a reality.”

Taro expects Keveyis will be available for patients during the third quarter of 2015. The company has created the Keys2Care program which will provide a suite of patient support services to ensure people diagnosed with periodic paralysis can receive treatment with Keveyis as soon as possible. As part of this program, the company is working with Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc., a specialty pharmacy, to offer access and support to patients who are prescribed Keveyis and their caregivers.

“Because of the very-rare nature of periodic paralysis, it is not unusual for patients to go years before receiving an accurate diagnosis,” said
Robert Griggs, MD, principal investigator and professor, Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center. “For those living with often debilitating symptoms, the approval of Keveyis is both an important and much needed treatment advance and an opportunity for greater disease awareness and understanding, something that has long been a challenge for these people.”

To be notified when Keveyis becomes available, enroll at www.keveyis.com.

About Periodic Paralysis

Periodic paralyses are a group of rare hereditary disorders that cause episodes of muscle weakness or paralysis. Types of periodic paralyses are differentiated by criteria including underlying genetic mutations and changes in blood-potassium during attack. Hypokalemic and hyperkalemic are two common types of periodic paralyses [1].


Keveyis is indicated for the treatment of primary hyperkalemic periodic paralysis, primary hypokalemic periodic paralysis, and related variants.


In clinical studies, the most common side effects of Keveyis were a burning or pricking sensation, difficulty thinking and paying attention, changes in taste, and confusion. These are not all of the possible side effects you may experience with Keveyis. Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms that bother you or do not go away.

Keveyis is not for everyone. Do not take Keveyis if you

  • Are on a high-dose aspirin regimen
  • Are allergic to sulfa-based drugs
  • Have liver, kidney, or certain lung conditions
  • Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing
  • Are under 18 years old

Taking Keveyis may cause a drop in the amount of potassium (an electrolyte) in your body, which can lead to heart problems. Ask your doctor if you need to eat foods that contain high amounts of potassium while taking Keveyis.

Your body may produce too much acid or may not be able to remove enough acid from body fluids while taking Keveyis. Your doctor will run tests on a regular basis to check for signs of acid buildup and may reduce your dose or stop your treatment with Keveyis.

Keveyis may also increase the risk of falls, especially in elderly patients and patients taking high doses of Keveyis. Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing any other hazardous activities while taking Keveyis, as this medication may cause drowsiness.

Tell your doctor if you experience worsening of your periodic paralysis symptoms.

For additional safety information, please see Full Prescribing Information at www.keveyis.com.

The release will be accessible on Taro’s website at www.taro.com.

About Taro

Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is a multinational, science-based pharmaceutical company, dedicated to meeting the needs of its customers through the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of the highest quality healthcare products. For further information on Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., please visit the Company’s website at www.taro.com.

Roxan Olivas
MDA Vice President  — Public Relations & Community Programs
(520) 529-5317