How it works

Efgartigimod is a new medication for myasthenia gravis that is the first of its kind. It is an antagonist of the neonatal Fc receptor, meaning that it binds to this specific receptor. The neonatal Fc receptor is responsible for maintaining IgG (immunoglobulin G) levels inside the body. IgG is the autoantibody that binds to the acetylcholine receptor (AChR) in patients with myasthenia gravis. Efgartigimod, by inhibiting the neonatal Fc receptor, reduces the levels of IgG in the body, resulting in a reduction of blockage for the AChR and an increased likelihood of successful binding to ACh. It is suggested that it may work for all antibody-positive patients, with potential to also work for those who present as antibody-negative (around 10% of those with myasthenia gravis).

Through EAMS, Efgartigimod was made available early to patients referred by their neurologist.

As of September 2023, NICE published draft guidance that it does not recommend Efgartigimod be made available to new patients. NICE covers England, Northern Ireland, and Wales with this ruling. Myaware have since met with Argenx to be assured of their next steps as they begin negotiating with NICE with the aim to overturn this decision. Myaware are working with the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) to assist them with their assessment of Efgartigimod and its use within NHS Scotland.

Those who have begun treatment on Efgartigimod will continue to receive it regardless of NICE’s stance.

How it is delivered

Currently, efgartigimod is delivered intravenously. This can be carried out at the hospital or arranged to take place at home.

When you have it

Efgartigimod infusions are administered for one hour once weekly for four weeks as one treatment cycle. Patients are monitored for signs and symptoms of hypersensitivity reactions during infusion and for one hour.

Side effects

All new medicines can cause unwanted side effects. When starting Efgartigimod, you may experience the following:

·        Burning

·        Itching

·        Headache

If these symptoms persist, speak to your doctor. Please consult with your doctor for an extended list of possible side effects.

Related UK companies

Argenx (developer) 

Click here to report a side effect to the MHRA.