Enteric-Coated Cysteamine Bitartrate in Cystinosis Patients
Cystinosis is a severe inherited metabolic storage disease caused by the lysosomal accumulation of cystine. Lifelong therapy with the drug cysteamine bitartrate is necessary. Cysteamine cleaves intralysosomal cystine, and thereafter, it can exit from the organelle. The need for frequent dosing every 6 h and the high prevalence of gastrointestinal side effects lead to poor therapy adherence. The purpose of our study was to improve cysteamine treatment by comparing the efficacy of two cysteamine formulas. This is highly relevant for the long-term outcome of cystinosis patients. The cystine and cysteamine levels of 17 patients taking immediate-release cysteamine (IR-cysteamine/Cystagon ® ) and 6 patients taking encapsulated delayed-release cysteamine (EC-cysteamine) were analyzed. The EC-cysteamine levels showed a near-ideal pharmacokinetic profile indicative of delayed release (longer T max and T min ), and the corresponding cystine levels showed few fluctuations. In addition, the C max of IR-cysteamine was greater, which was responsible for unbearable side effects (e.g., nausea, vomiting, halitosis, lethargy). Treatment with EC-cysteamine improves the quality of life of cystinosis patients because the frequency of intake can be reduced to 2–3 times daily and it has a more favorable pharmacokinetic profile than IR-cysteamine. In particular, cystinosis patients with no access to the only approved delayed-release cysteamine Procysbi ® could benefit from a cost-effective alternative.