SAN DIEGO, Calif., Feb. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) today reported that Eisai has secured improved patient access of BELVIQ® (lorcaserin HCl) with two leading healthcare benefit companies, and that the estimated number of insured commercial lives in the United States that have coverage for BELVIQ now exceeds 50 percent.
CVS Caremark customers (employers and health plans) have broadened the coverage of BELVIQ, and eligible CVS Caremark members may have access to BELVIQ in either a preferred or non-preferred brand position depending on the design of the employer benefit or health plan. In addition, Aetna recently announced that it would offer BELVIQ as a preferred brand to eligible patients as part of its pilot program to self-insured plan sponsors nationwide. The Aetna program, which offers access to lifestyle management programs and surgical options, will also measure improvements in health outcomes, productivity and medical costs.
"Securing broad reimbursement coverage for patients is an important part of the foundation for the long-term success of BELVIQ in the United States, and Eisai has continued to demonstrate its expertise in this area," said Jack Lief, Arena's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Over 50 percent of insured commercial lives with coverage for BELVIQ represents a significant increase from the approximately 30 percent of insured commercial lives that were estimated to have coverage at launch in June 2013."
Lonnel Coats, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eisai Inc., added, "We are committed to ensuring that patients have access to BELVIQ. Given how many people are struggling with their weight, it's important to provide treatment options to those who have not been able to sustain long-term weight loss with diet and exercise alone."
A patient's individual coverage for BELVIQ will vary, and may depend on the design of the patient's employer benefit or health plan. The estimated number of insured commercial lives is derived from Fingertip Formulary data, which is generally based on enrollment reported by health plans and pharmacy benefit managers.
About BELVIQ® (lorcaserin HCl) CIV
BELVIQ is believed to decrease food consumption and promote satiety by selectively activating serotonin 2C receptors in the brain. The exact mechanism of action of BELVIQ is not known.
BELVIQ is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Eisai markets and distributes BELVIQ in the United States, and Arena manufactures and supplies the finished commercial product from its facility in Switzerland. Eisai and Arena's BELVIQ marketing and supply agreement covers most territories worldwide. For more information about BELVIQ, click here for the full US FDA-approved Product Information or visit www.BELVIQ.com.
BELVIQ is indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adult patients with an initial body mass index (BMI) of:
- 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese), or
- 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition (e.g., hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes).
Limitations of Use:
- The safety and efficacy of coadministration of BELVIQ with other products intended for weight loss, including prescription drugs (e.g., phentermine), over-the-counter drugs, and herbal preparations, have not been established.
- The effect of BELVIQ on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been established.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- BELVIQ should not be taken during pregnancy or by women who are planning to become pregnant.
Warnings and Precautions
- BELVIQ is a serotonergic drug. The development of potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)-like reactions have been reported during use of serotonergic drugs, including, but not limited to, selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, bupropion, triptans, dietary supplements such as St. John's Wort and tryptophan, drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin (including monoamine oxidase inhibitors), dextromethorphan, lithium, tramadol, antipsychotics or other dopamine antagonists, particularly when used in combination. Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome symptoms or NMS-like reactions, including agitation, hallucinations, coma, tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia, hyperreflexia, incoordination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle rigidity. Treatment with BELVIQ and any concomitant serotonergic or antidopaminergic agents should be discontinued immediately if the above events occur, and supportive symptomatic treatment should be initiated.
- Patients should not take BELVIQ in combination with drugs that have been associated with valvular heart disease (e.g., cabergoline). In clinical trials, 2.4% of patients taking BELVIQ and 2.0% of patients taking placebo developed valvular regurgitation: none of these patients was symptomatic. BELVIQ should be used with caution in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Patients who develop signs and symptoms of valvular heart disease, including dyspnea, dependent edema, CHF, or a new cardiac murmur, should be evaluated and discontinuation of BELVIQ should be considered.
- Impairment in attention, memory, somnolence, confusion, and fatigue, have been reported in patients taking BELVIQ. Patients should not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until they know how BELVIQ affects them.
- The recommended dose of 10 mg twice daily should not be exceeded, as higher doses may cause euphoria, hallucination, and dissociation. Monitor patients for the development or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and/or any changes in mood. Discontinue BELVIQ in patients who develop suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
- Weight loss may increase the risk of hypoglycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus who are being treated with antidiabetic medications, so measurement of blood sugar levels before and during treatment with BELVIQ is recommended. Decreases in doses of antidiabetic medications or changes in medication regimen should be considered.
- Men who experience priapism should immediately discontinue BELVIQ and seek emergency medical attention. BELVIQ should be used with caution with erectile dysfunction medications. BELVIQ should be used with caution in men who have conditions that might predispose them to priapism (e.g., sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia), or in men with anatomical deformation of the penis (e.g., angulation, cavernosal fibrosis, or Peyronie's disease).
- Because BELVIQ may cause a slow heartbeat, it should be used with caution in patients with a history of bradycardia or heart block greater than first degree.
- Consider monitoring for CBC changes, prolactin excess, and pulmonary hypertension.
Most Common Adverse Reactions in Clinical Trials
- In patients without diabetes: headache (17%), dizziness (9%), fatigue (7%), nausea (8%), dry mouth (5%), and constipation (6%).
- In patients with diabetes: hypoglycemia (29%), headache (15%), back pain (12%), cough (8%), and fatigue (7%).
- BELVIQ should not be taken by women who are nursing.
BELVIQ is a federally controlled substance (CIV) because it may be abused or lead to dependence.
About Arena Pharmaceuticals
Arena is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel drugs that target G protein-coupled receptors, or GPCRs, to address unmet medical needs. BELVIQ® (lorcaserin HCl), Arena's internally discovered drug, is approved in the United States, and is under review for regulatory approval in additional territories. Arena's US operations are located in San Diego, California, and its operations outside of the United States, including its commercial manufacturing facility, are located in Zofingen, Switzerland. For more information, visit Arena's website at www.arenapharm.com.
Arena Pharmaceuticals® and Arena® are registered service marks of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. BELVIQ® is a registered trademark of Arena Pharmaceuticals GmbH.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements include statements about the advancement, therapeutic indication, use, safety, efficacy, mechanism of action and potential of BELVIQ; reimbursement coverage of BELVIQ, including the improvement and importance of coverage; CVS Caremark's coverage, the Aetna program and related activities and expectations; the long-term success of BELVIQ; Eisai's commitment to patient access and expertise with respect to reimbursement coverage; the importance of providing treatment options; regulatory review and approval and marketing and distributing of BELVIQ; and Arena's focus, plans, goals, strategy, expectations, research and development programs, and ability to discover and develop compounds and commercialize drugs. For such statements, Arena claims the protection of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual events or results may differ materially from Arena's expectations. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following: risks related to commercializing drugs, including regulatory, manufacturing, supply and marketing issues and the availability and use of BELVIQ; cash and revenues generated from BELVIQ, including the impact of competition; Arena's revenues will be based in part on estimates, judgment and accounting policies, and incorrect estimates or disagreement regarding estimates or accounting policies may result in changes to Arena's guidance or previously reported results; the timing and outcome of regulatory review is uncertain, and BELVIQ may not be approved for marketing when expected or ever in combination with another drug, for another indication or using a different formulation or in any other territory for any indication; regulatory decisions in one territory may impact other regulatory decisions and Arena's business prospects; government and commercial reimbursement and pricing decisions; risks related to relying on collaborative arrangements; the timing and receipt of payments and fees, if any, from collaborators; the entry into or modification or termination of collaborative arrangements; unexpected or unfavorable new data; nonclinical and clinical data is voluminous and detailed, and regulatory agencies may interpret or weigh the importance of data differently and reach different conclusions than Arena or others, request additional information, have additional recommendations or change their guidance or requirements before or after approval; data and other information related to any of Arena's research and development may not meet regulatory requirements or otherwise be sufficient for (or we or a collaborator may not pursue) further research and development, regulatory review or approval or continued marketing; Arena's ability to obtain and defend patents; the timing, success and cost of Arena's research and development; results of clinical trials and other studies are subject to different interpretations and may not be predictive of future results; clinical trials and other studies may not proceed at the time or in the manner expected or at all; having adequate funds; and satisfactory resolution of litigation or other disagreements with others. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by Arena's forward-looking statements are disclosed in Arena's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements represent Arena's judgment as of the time of this release. Arena disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements, other than as may be required under applicable law.
Contact: Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Media Contact: Russo Partners
Cindy McGee, Vice President,
David Schull, President
Investor Relations & Alliance Management
858.453.7200, ext. 1479
SOURCE Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.