DURECT Corporation (NASDAQ:DRRX) today announced the presentation of data at the American Association for The Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) The Liver Meeting® 2021 showcasing an increase of hospitalizations for alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH) in the U.S. of approximately 19% (from 110,085 in 2015 to 131,510 in 2018) or approximately 4.8% per year between 2015 and 2018.
"The prevalence of AH has been the subject of considerable interest. This study presents the most recent data of AH-related hospitalizations between 2015-2018," said Suthat Liangpunsakul, M.D., M.PH., professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Department of Medicine at Indiana University, who is the presenter of this poster. "These patients represent a severely ill population with a high risk of death. Effective therapy for severe and hospitalized AH patients is currently lacking, and is a significant unmet medical need."
Examination of data from AH patients who died during hospitalization highlighted that a high percentage of them had serious comorbidities: including acute kidney failure (80.2%), cirrhosis (69.1%), ascites (56.5%), sepsis (51.9%), coagulopathy (46.0%), and hepatic encephalopathy (42.1%). Additionally, total healthcare cost per hospitalization episode for AH patients was high for those who died, averaging $151,500 vs. $56,000 for survivors during the hospitalization.
The study analyzed more than seven million hospital stays annually from approximately 1,000 U.S. hospitals using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database. Patients hospitalized with a primary or secondary diagnosis of AH were identified using ICD-9 (Q1-Q3 2015) and ICD-10 (Q4 2015, 2016-2018) codes.
Norman Sussman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at DURECT, added, "Given what we know about the disease and comorbidities associated with AH, effective treatments should ideally address the underlying pathophysiology in order to prevent disease progression. While previous attempts to treat AH have focused on one aspect of liver failure, we are excited with the potential of our epigenetic regulator candidate, larsucosterol (also known as DUR-928) to improve inflammation, cell death, and tissue regeneration in severe AH. This compound was remarkably effective in our Phase 2a trial, which encouraged us to proceed with a multinational randomized clinical trial, named AHFIRM, that is currently under way."
The poster is available to attendees of The Liver Meeting® 2021 today and throughout the meeting ending November 15, 2021 after which, it will be available on the DURECT website under "DUR-928 Publications" here: DURECT | DUR-928 Publications.