FDA approves ALS drug Radicava, which could prolong patients' lives

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For the first time in 22 years, the FDA approved a new ALS treatment called Radicava. (KABC)

For the first time in 22 years, the FDA approved a new ALS treatment called Radicava.

Fred Fisher, with the ALS Association Golden West Chapter, said in studies patients experienced a 33 percent slowing in the decline of their symptoms, which is a major development for the devastating disease.

"It's the first drug that meaningfully slows down the progression of the disease," Fisher said. "It's likely now that people will be living longer with ALS and have a better quality of life."

It could also extend the average life expectancy from 2 to 5 years to possibly 3 or 7 years.

The drug's list price is about $1,000 per infusion, which is about $150,000 per year for treatment. The ALS Association hopes with insurance and help from the drug company that any patient who wants the treatment will have access.

"Everyone who wants to take it will have the opportunity to do so," Fisher said.

Radicava is expected to be available in the U.S. in August.

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