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Why does Vyxeos have a polymer coating?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on April 27, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com
  • Vyxeous has a liposomal coating rather than a polymer coating.
  • Vyxeous is a combination medication containing daunorubicin and cytarabine surrounded by a liposomal coating. This is a coating made of fat-like material.
  • Liposomes provide a way for the active ingredients of Vxyeous, daunorubicin and cytarabine, to safely get to where they work best while limiting their effect on healthy tissue.
  • Once Vyxeos is infused into a vein, the liposomes carry the drugs (daunorubicin and cytarabine) to the bone marrow where they are taken up to a greater extent by leukemia cells compared to normal cells.
  • Once inside the leukemia cells, the liposomes release the drugs and help kill the leukemic cells.

Vyxeos is a combination chemotherapy medication containing daunorubicin and cytarabine.

It may be used to treat adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) caused by previous chemotherapy treatment or AML with myelodysplasia-related changes (AML-MRC).

AML happens when young abnormal white blood cells called blasts, begin to fill up the bone marrow, preventing normal blood production. Doctors diagnose AML when 20 out of every 100 white blood cells in the bone marrow are blast cells.

Vyxeos is a first-of-its-kind formulation that combines two commonly used drugs for AML, daunorubicin, and cytarabine in a 1:5 molar ratio and encapsulates them in tiny bubble-like carriers called liposomes. This is given via an infusion into the vein over 90 minutes Vyxeos is colored purple.

This liposomal membrane is made up of di-stearoyl phosphatidylcholine (DSPC), di-stearoyl phosphatidylglycerol (DSPG), and cholesterol in a 7:2:1 molar ratio. A liposome membrane is another name for a fat-like membrane.

Liposomes are easier for the body to absorb and allows more active drugs to reach the target area of the body. In the case of Vyxeos, after it is injected into a vein the liposomes carry the drug to the bone marrow where they are taken up to a greater extent by leukemia cells compared to normal cells. Once inside the leukemia cells, the liposomes release the drugs and help kill the leukemic cells.

Encapsulating daunorubicin and cytarabine in a liposomal coating is believed to also help reduce the harmful effects of these drugs on healthy tissue.

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