EC approves DuoCort’s adrenal insufficiency therapy


The European Commission (EC) has authorised DuoCort Pharma’s Plenadren (hydrocortisone) to be marketed in the EU for the treatment of adrenal insufficiency.

The dual release hormone replacement therapy is the first pharmaceutical innovation in over 50 years for adults suffering from adrenal insufficiency, or cortisol deficiency.

Professor Gudmundur Johannsson, Chief Medical Officer at DuoCort Pharma, said: “Plenadren offers a welcome new treatment option to help patients suffering from adrenal insufficiency. It can improve therapy for many of the almost 200,000 patients in Europe who suffer from this disease and who need lifelong cortisol replacement therapy for their survival.”

The once-daily tablet is designed to imitate the normal physiological cortisol profile, with an outer layer that releases hydrocortisone immediately into the bloodstream and an inner core releasing the rest of the medicine gradually throughout the day.

Although glucocorticoid replacement therapy for adrenal insufficiency has been available for decades, complications have been linked to the medication, including premature death, impaired quality of life, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, and decreased bone mineral density.

Adrenal insufficiency (cortisol deficiency) is a rare, life-threatening disease that affects patients in their active years. Patients require lifelong replacement therapy with hydrocortisone, the synthetic form of cortisol, replacing or substituting the hormones that the patient’s adrenal glands are not producing.

DuoCort Pharma provides drug development with a focus on improving glucocorticoid therapy. The company is currently being absorbed by ViroPharma, who acquired the pharmaceutical company for an upfront payment of $33 million dollars in October.