FDA alerts patients and health care professionals about clinical trial results showing an increased risk of death associated with Pepaxto (melphalan flufenamide)

[7/28/2021] FDA is alerting patients and health care professionals that a clinical trial (OCEAN, Study OP-103) evaluating Pepaxto (melphalan flufenamide) with dexamethasone to treat patients with multiple myeloma showed an increased risk of death.

The trial compared Pepaxto with low-dose dexamethasone to pomalidomide with low-dose dexamethasone in patients with relapsed or refractory (resistant) multiple myeloma following 2-4 lines of prior therapy and in patients who were resistant to lenalidomide in the last line of therapy.  

FDA encourages health care professionals to review patients' progress on Pepaxto and discuss the risks of continued administration with each patient in the context of other treatments. Patients currently receiving Pepaxto should also discuss with their health care professional the risks and benefits of receiving Pepaxto.

In February 2021, FDA approved Pepaxto under Accelerated Approval for use in combination with dexamethasone to treat adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have received at least four prior lines of therapy and whose disease was refractory to at least one proteasome inhibitor, one immunomodulatory agent, and one CD38-directed monoclonal antibody. The manufacturer, Oncopeptides AB, was required to conduct the OCEAN trial as a post-approval requirement under the accelerated approval program.

Due to the detrimental effect on overall survival in the OCEAN trial, FDA is requiring the manufacturer suspend enrollment in the trial. FDA has also suspended enrollment in other ongoing Pepaxto clinical trials. Patients receiving clinical benefit from Pepaxto may continue treatment in the OCEAN trial provided they are informed of the risks and sign a revised written informed consent.

FDA continues to evaluate the OCEAN trial results and may hold a future public meeting to discuss these safety findings and explore the continued marketing of Pepaxto. The agency will update patients and health care professionals when new information is available.

FDA encourages health care professionals and patients to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of any medication to FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program: 

  • Complete and submit the report online; or
  • Download and complete the form, then submit it via fax at 1-800-FDA-0178

Statistical Analysis Results from OCEAN, Study OP-103 (PDF-134KB)

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