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Alunbrig ( brigatinib) approved by EMA for a specific group of lung cancer patients

Alunbrig is a cancer medicine that is used to treat adults with a type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have been treated before with a cancer medicine called crizotinib.

Alunbrig is used on its own and only if the NSCLC is ‘ALK-positive’, which means that the cancer cells have certain changes affecting the gene that makes a protein called ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase).

Alunbrig contains the active substance brigatinib.

Alunbrig can only be obtained with a prescription and treatment must be started and supervised by a doctor who is experienced in using cancer medicines. The patient’s cancer should be tested before starting treatment to confirm it has the gene changes affecting ALK (‘ALK-positive’ status).

The medicine is available as tablets (30 mg, 90 mg and 180 mg). The recommended starting dose is 90 mg taken once a day for the first 7 days and then increased to 180 mg once a day afterwards. Reduced doses are recommended in patients with severely reduced liver or kidney function. Patients with severely reduced kidney function should be closely monitored especially during the first week of treatment for symptoms of lung disease such as cough or difficulty breathing.

ALK belongs to a family of enzymes called receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), which are involved in the growth of cells and the development of new blood vessels that supply them. In patients with ALK-positive NSCLC, an abnormal form of ALK is produced that stimulates the cancer cells to divide and grow in an uncontrolled fashion. The active substance in Alunbrig, brigatinib, works by blocking the activity of ALK, thereby reducing the growth and spread of the cancer.

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