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Sapropterin dihydrochloride, a synthetic formulation of BH4, the cofactor for phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH, EC 188.8.131.52), was initially approved in Europe only for patients ≥4 years with BH4-responsive phenylketonuria. The aim of the SPARK (Safety Paediatric efficAcy phaRmacokinetic with Kuvan®) trial was to assess the efficacy (improvement in daily phenylalanine tolerance, neuromotor development and growth parameters), safety and pharmacokinetics of sapropterin dihydrochloride in children <4 years.
In total, 109 male or female children <4 years with confirmed BH4-responsive phenylketonuria or mild hyperphenylalaninemia and good adherence to dietary treatment were screened. 56 patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to 10 mg/kg/day oral sapropterin plus a phenylalanine-restricted diet or to only a phenylalanine-restricted diet for 26 weeks (27 to the sapropterin and diet group and 29 to the diet-only group; intention-to-treat population). Of these, 52 patients with ≥1 pharmacokinetic sample were included in the pharmacokinetic analysis, and 54 patients were included in the safety analysis. At week 26 in the sapropterin plus diet group, mean phenylalanine tolerance was 30.5 (95% confidence interval 18.7–42.3) mg/kg/day higher than in the diet-only group (p < 0.001). The safety profile of sapropterin, measured monthly, was acceptable and consistent with that seen in studies of older children. Using non-linear mixed effect modelling, a one-compartment model with flip-flop pharmacokinetic behaviour, in which the effect of weight was substantial, best described the pharmacokinetic profile. Patients in both groups had normal neuromotor development and stable growth parameters.
The addition of sapropterin to a phenylalanine-restricted diet was well tolerated and led to a significant improvement in phenylalanine tolerance in children <4 years with BH4-responsive phenylketonuria or mild hyperphenylalaninemia. The pharmacokinetic model favours once per day dosing with adjustment for weight. Based on the SPARK trial results, sapropterin has received EU approval to treat patients <4 years with BH4-responsive phenylketonuria.
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01376908. Registered June 17, 2011.