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Lundbeck launches antipsychotic Sycrest in UK

Product is first sublingual treatment for bipolar disorder available in Europe

Lundbeck has launched its sublingual formulation of asenapine in the UK for the treatment of moderate to severe manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in adults.

The new product, sold under the Sycrest brand name, is said to be the first antipsychotic treatment for bipolar disorder that is administered underneath the tongue to reach the market in Europe, making its EU debut in Denmark last year.

Sycrest was licensed from Merck & Co (known as MSD outside the North America) in 2010, with Lundbeck granted exclusive rights in all markets outside the US, Japan and China.

Merck sells the product in the US as Saphris for both bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia, but in 2010 the European Medicines Agency's  Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) concluded that it should not be made available for schizophrenia in the EU.

Bipolar I disorder is a chronic, severe, and recurrent psychiatric disorder that causes alternating periods of depression and high, increased activity and restlessness, racing thoughts, impulsive behaviour and a decreased need for sleep.

With 30 million people with the condition worldwide and around 625,000 patients in the UK, there is a need for a broad range of bipolar I disorder treatments, according to UK medical charities Bipolar Scotland, Bipolar UK and SANE.

"An increased number of treatment options give patients and their health professionals the best chance of finding the right treatment for them," said the charities in a joint statement welcoming the Sycrest launch.

A recently-completed survey of 988 bipolar I patients in the UK revealed that 44 per cent were unsatisfied with their current therapy, with 40 per cent indicating that they were prompted to switch medication as a result of side effects treatment.

Sycrest is thought to have a lower tendency to cause weight gain, a recognised side effect of many antipsychotics which was reported by nearly 80 per cent of the patients surveyed.

Sycrest has been launched in the UK at a price of £3.42 per day at either of the approved 5mg or 10mg doses, and £106.20 per pack.

17th January 2012

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