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Baxter launches Aralast for hereditary emphysema patients needing new therapy

DEERFIELD, Ill., May 30, 2003 -- Baxter announced the launch of Aralast, a new alpha-1 antitrypsin therapeutic, also known as Alpha 1 proteinase inhibitor (A1PI) for the treatment of hereditary emphysema.

Aralast will be available this month exclusively through specialty pharmacy providers, including Accredo Health Inc., Caremark Inc. and Coram Healthcare.

"A1PI deficiency results in a form of hereditary emphysema and people living with this condition require appropriate treatment to protect against long-term lung damage," said James M. Stock, M.D., professor of Medicine, University of Texas Health Center. "Aralast provides a new important treatment option for patients."

Baxter selected three specialty pharmacy providers to provide Aralast, along with a comprehensive offering of nationwide homecare services, to support patients with hereditary emphysema. These services include comprehensive care from a team of experienced pharmacists and nurses, physician-coordinated treatment plans, information on reimbursement programs, advocacy programs, therapy education and nursing support.

According to the Alpha-1 Foundation, A1PI deficiency affects an estimated 100,000 people in the United States and results in a form of hereditary emphysema. People with this deficiency have reduced serum levels of A1PI, an important blood protein processed in the liver. This protein helps protect lung tissue from damage caused by enzymes that are released by white blood cells. Without sufficient quantities of A1PI, patients develop lung damage. If untreated, A1PI can result in emphysema and premature death.

A1PI deficiency should be treated by a weekly infusion of a plasma-derived alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor like Aralast. This therapeutic approach is not a cure nor will it reverse lung damage that has already occurred. However, it does protect the lungs from further damage, making early diagnosis and treatment desirable.

Patients and physicians who want information about obtaining Aralast should contact Baxter at 1-800-423-2090.

Source: Baxter

Posted: May 2003