The launch of the first liquid form of Martindale’s Teglutik (riluzole) has been welcomed by healthcare professionals as a “great benefit” for patients with motor neurone disease (MND).

Teglutik – an oral liquid-suspension formulation of riluzole – is the only licensed drug for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common form of MND, 80 percent of whom are unable to swallow due to dysphagia (discomfort in swallowing), a complication of the disease.

“The availability of a new liquid form of riluzole will be of great benefit to everyone involved in the care of patients with ALS,” said Dr Katie Sidle, from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London. “Many will suffer the distress of having to discontinue treatment due to their inability to swallow the current formulation or riluzole, the only treatment option available to treat ALS.”

Riluzole is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and has been proved to significantly extend survival in ALS patients. Martindale stated that ALS, which accounted for up to 85 percent of cases of MND, is a devastating and ultimately fatal condition, where 70 percent of patients die within three years of disease onset.

In the disease, motor neurons that control the muscles die and vital signals stop transmitting. As a result, the brain loses the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, leading to muscle wastage, significant disability, spasticity and, with no known cure, death.

“Martindale Pharma is committed to improving the lives of patients with this devastating condition,” said chief marketing officer Michael Clark. “We are delighted to have achieved the approval of Teglutik, an innovation that may allow more patients to remain on this important treatment for longer.”