Considering the Promise of Vamorolone for Treating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

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Abstract

This commentary provides an independent consideration of data related to the drug vamorolone (VBP15) as an alternative steroid proposed for treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Glucocorticoids such as prednisone and deflazacort have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and are the standard of care for DMD, but their long-term use can result in severe adverse side effects; thus, vamorolone was designed as a unique dissociative steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, to retain efficacy and minimise these adverse effects. Extensive clinical trials (ongoing) have investigated the use of vamorolone for DMD, with two trials also for limb-girdle muscular dystrophies including dysferlinopathy (current), plus a variety of pre-clinical trials published. Vamorolone looks very promising, with similar efficacy and some reduced adverse effects (e.g., related to height) compared with other glucocorticoids, specifically prednisone/prednisolone, although it has not yet been directly compared with deflazacort. Of particular interest to clarify is the optimal clinical dose and other aspects of vamorolone that are proposed to provide additional benefits for membranes of dystrophic muscle: to stabilise and protect the sarcolemma from damage and enhance repair. The use of vamorolone (and other glucocorticoids) needs to be evaluated in terms of overall long-term efficacy and cost, and also in comparison with many candidate non-steroidal drugs with anti-inflammatory and other benefits for DMD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1030
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Neuromuscular Diseases
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2023

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