Risdiplam in Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Safety Profile and Use Through The Early Access to Medicine Scheme for the Paediatric Cohort in Great Britain

J Neuromuscul Dis. 2024;11(2):361-368. doi: 10.3233/JND-230162.


Background: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a progressive neuromuscular disease caused by mutations in Survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene, leading to reduction in survival motor neuron protein (SMN), key for motor neuron survival and function in the brainstem and spinal cord. Risdiplam is an orally administered SMN2-splicing modifier which increases production of functional SMN protein. Risdiplam was offered in the UK under early access to medicines scheme (EAMS) to SMA type 1 and 2 patients aged 2 months and older, not suitable for authorised treatments from September 2020 to December 2021.

Objective: To describe the largest paediatric European real-world set of data on patients' characteristics and short-term safety for risdiplam in Great Britain through EAMS.

Methods: We collated data from SMA REACH UK a national clinical and research network for all patients enrolled onto EAMS and assessed all submitted adverse events.

Results: Of the 92 patients; 78% were Type 2 SMA, mean age 10.9 years, range 0-17 years. 56 were treatment naïve, 33 previously treated; of these 25 had received nusinersen, 3 previous treatment unknown. Sixty adverse events (AEs) were reported occurring in 34 patients. The commonest were respiratory tract infections and gastrointestinal disturbance. Four life-threatening events were reported with 2 deaths and permanent cessation of risdiplam in 3 patients.Overall, 38/60 AEs were considered unrelated to risdiplam, 10/60 related to risdiplam and for 12/60 causality not specified.

Conclusions: This study found a safety profile similar to clinical trials with no new safety concerns identified. With the restricted eligibility of onasemnogene abeparvovec and complications of nusinersen administration, EAMS allowed access or continued treatment to naïve patients or patients no longer suitable for approved medications. Collection of longitudinal data for this complex population is needed, to provide greater insights into risdiplam's role in addressing patients' needs into the future.

Keywords: Spinal muscular atrophy; adverse events; risdiplam; safety; treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Azo Compounds*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal* / drug therapy
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal* / genetics
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophies of Childhood* / drug therapy
  • United Kingdom


  • Risdiplam
  • Pyrimidines
  • Azo Compounds