According to a recently published report by Spherix Global Insights, after rapid trial of Lokelma in hyperkalemia, treatment patterns are beginning to settle in – with each competitor starting to dominate in certain patient types
EXTON, Pa., / August 24, 2020 / PRNewswire – Despite the recent emergence of new therapeutic options to treat hyperkalemia, namely Vifor/Relypsa’s Veltassa (approved in 2016) and AstraZeneca’s Lokelma (approved in 2019), the percentage of patients presenting with the disease and prescribed one of these binders has expanded only slightly in the past year. According to the Q3 2020 report included in Spherix’s RealTime Dynamix™: Hyperkalemia (US) service, many surveyed nephrologists report that Lokelma and Veltassa compete for the same patients within their practice, leading to further challenges and a fierce head-to-head competition between the two brands.
While nephrologists report little perceived differentiation between Lokelma and Veltassa, they do acknowledge key product features that distinguish one from the other. For instance, Lokelma is perceived by nephrologists to have a quicker onset of action compared to Veltassa, resulting in a 2 to 1 preference for Lokelma in hospitalized patients with hyperkalemia. In contrast, Veltassa has a perceived advantage with regard to its lack of sodium – a leading disadvantage for Lokelma. Accordingly, Veltassa tends to be preferred over Lokelma nearly 5 to 1 for patients with sodium-sensitive conditions, such as heart failure.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on many specialties, with nephrologists being no exception. According to the eighth wave of Special Topix™: Impact of COVID-19 on Specialty Practices (US), outpatient office volume in nephrology practices is off by more than 50%, with telemedicine far from closing the gap. Nephrologists have divided opinions on the use of potassium binders during the pandemic: while one-third agree with the statement, “During the COVID-19 outbreak, I have been more inclined to treat patients on RAASi therapies with potassium lowering agents to proactively avoid hyperkalemia,” one-third strongly disagree that this is the case.
Promotion, both face-to-face and virtual, continues to be highest for the potassium binders compared to other renal medications. What is consistent across nephrologists? More than 80% of surveyed nephrologists do not think we will have a vaccine by November.
Projecting out six months, nephrologists see Veltassa and Lokelma in a dead heat in the outpatient and dialysis settings, with Lokelma maintaining a lead for inpatient use. Promotion will be a key factor in driving new patient starts and increasing the value of prescriptions by maintaining patients on longer treatment durations, which will be important to increase revenue for the brands.
About RealTime Dynamix™
RealTime Dynamix™: Hyperkalemia (US) is an independent service providing strategic guidance through rapid and comprehensive quarterly reports, which include market trending, launch tracking, and a fresh infusion of unique content with each wave.
About Spherix Global Insights
Spherix Global Insights is a hyper-focused market intelligence firm that leverages our own independent data and expertise to provide strategic guidance, so biopharma stakeholders make decisions with confidence. We specialize in select immunology, nephrology, and neurology markets.
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