(HealthDay News) – Voraxaze (glucarpidase) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat high blood levels of methotrexate, a common chemotherapy drug.
While methotrexate is normally removed from the blood by the kidneys, people who are prescribed high levels of methotrexate may develop kidney failure, leading to a build-up of the drug in the bloodstream.
Voraxaze is an enzyme that breaks down methotrexate into a form that is more easily eliminated from the body, the FDA said in a news release.
A toxic build-up of methotrexate can lead to kidney and liver damage, mouth sores, intestinal damage, skin rash, and sometimes death, the agency said.
Voraxaze was evaluated in a clinical trial of 22 people. Ten of the 22 participants saw blood methotrexate levels fall below a critical level within 15 minutes. Among all participants, Voraxaze eliminated 95 percent of methotrexate, the FDA said.
The most common side effects of Voraxaze included low blood pressure, headache, nausea, vomiting, and flushing.
Voraxaze is marketed by BTG International of West Conshohocken, Pa.