If you are someone who has myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and regularly needs blood transfusions, a new drug called luspatercept may be right for you.
Luspatercept is a drug used to treat anemia in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes. It has been approved for use in people who meet all the following criteria:
- They have MDS with ring sideroblasts or some other myeloid neoplasm,
- They are classified with very low, low, or intermediate risk MDS,
- They have been receiving at least 2 units of blood transfusions over 8 weeks,
- They are no longer responsive to erythropoiesis stimulating agents.
Luspatercept reduces the need for blood transfusions in these patients, but it only works in about 38% of patients. For those who are responsive to luspatercept, many can expect to be blood transfusion free for 32 weeks or more.
In some cases patients may need a blood transfusion after several weeks on luspatercept, and then experience another long stretch of time without more transfusions. So don’t immediately stop taking the drug if you require a blood transfusion.
The side effects of luspatercept are mild. They’re actually similar to the symptoms you may already experience as part of MDS. The most side effects include:
- General feeling of unwellness.
Watch this video created by Figure 1 to learn more about luspaterceptin. If you think luspatercept is right for you, ask your doctor about it.