A.L.S. Drug Relyvrio Fails Clinical Trial and May Be Withdrawn From the Market

One of the few treatments the Food and Drug Administration has approved for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has failed a large clinical trial, and its manufacturer said Friday that it was considering whether to withdraw it from the market.

The medication, called Relyvrio, was approved less than two years ago, despite questions about its effectiveness in treating the severe neurological disorder. At the time, the F.D.A.’s reviewers had concluded there was not yet sufficient evidence that the medication could help patients live longer or slow the rate at which they lose functions like muscle control, speaking or breathing without assistance.

But the agency decided to greenlight the medication instead of waiting two years for results of a large clinical trial, citing data showing the treatment to be safe and the desperation of patients with a disease that often causes death within two to five years. Since then, about 4,000 patients in the United States have received the treatment, a powder that is mixed with water and either drunk or ingested through a feeding tube and carries a list price of $158,000 a year.

Now, results of the 48-week trial of 664 patients are in, and they showed that the treatment did not work better than a placebo.

“We are surprised and deeply disappointed,” Justin Klee and Joshua Cohen, the co-chief executive officers of Amylyx Pharmaceuticals, the treatment’s manufacturer, said in a statement. They said they would announce their plans for the medication within eight weeks, “which may include voluntarily withdrawing” it from the market.

“We will be led in our decisions by two key principles: doing what is right for people living with A.LS., informed by regulatory authorities and the A.L.S. community, and by what the science tells us,” Mr. Klee and Mr. Cohen said.

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