Eye Care Specialists

The most common ocular sign of Fabry disease is bilateral corneal diffuse yellow epithelial haziness that gradually becomes concentrated into dense bronze or cream-colored rays that radiate from the center of the cornea in a vortex or whorl-like pattern.1  These verticillata appear to be in the epithelial or subepithelial layer of the cornea.2 They typically do not affect vision. Corneal involvement occurs in over 90% of Fabry patients.3 In one study, it affected all female carriers over age 10.2

Verticillata can be seen by slit lamp microscopy. A slit lamp also may be used to inspect conjunctival vessels, which often show aneurysmal dilations, tortuosity, and kinking.3

Other ocular manifestations include anterior and posterior lens opacities/cataracts, conjunctival vascular abnormalities, and retinal vascular dilations and tortuosity.


Corneal verticillata, characteristic of Fabry disease, is visible only by slit lamp ophthalmoscopy. Note the whorl-like rays emanating from a single vortex.


Conjunctival involvement in Fabry disease includes sausage-like, markedly dilated vessels.

While slit lamp is a useful screening for Fabry disease, it is not a definitive diagnosis. If you suspect Fabry disease in a patient, a geneticist can help provide a definitive diagnosis. Follow these links to learn more about Diagnosing Fabry Disease and Diagnostic Laboratories.

The reduction of GL-3 inclusions suggests that Fabrazyme may ameliorate disease expression; however, the relationship of GL-3 inclusion reduction to specific clinical manifestations of Fabry disease has not been established.

Indication and Usage

Fabrazyme® (agalsidase beta) is indicated for use in patients with Fabry disease. Fabrazyme reduces globotriaosylceramide (GL-3) deposition in capillary endothelium of the kidney and certain other cell types. The reduction of GL-3 inclusions suggests that Fabrazyme may ameliorate disease expression; however, the relationship of GL-3 inclusion reduction to specific clinical manifestations of Fabry disease has not been established.

Important Safety Information

Life-threatening anaphylactic and severe allergic reactions have been observed in patients during Fabrazyme infusions. In clinical trials and postmarketing safety experience, approximately 1% of patients developed anaphylactic or severe allergic reactions during Fabrazyme infusions. Reactions have included localized angioedema (including swelling of the face, mouth, and throat), bronchospasm, hypotension, generalized urticaria, dysphagia, rash, dyspnea, flushing, chest discomfort, pruritus, and nasal congestion. Interventions have included cardiopulmonary resuscitation, oxygen supplementation, IV fluids, hospitalization, and treatment with inhaled beta-adrenergic agonists, antihistamines, epinephrine, and IV corticosteroids. If severe allergic or anaphylactic reactions occur, immediately discontinue administration of Fabrazyme and provide necessary emergency treatment. Because of the potential for severe allergic reactions, appropriate medical support measures should be readily available when Fabrazyme is administered.

  • In patients experiencing infusion reactions, pretreatment with an antipyretic and antihistamine is recommended.
  • Infusion reactions occurred in some patients after receiving pretreatment with antipyretics, antihistamines, and oral steroids.
  • If an infusion reaction occurs, decreasing the infusion rate, temporarily stopping the infusion, and/or administrating additional antipyretics, antihistamines, and/or steroids may ameliorate the symptoms.
  • If severe infusion reactions occur, immediate discontinuation of the administration of Fabrazyme should be considered, and appropriate medical treatment should be initiated.
  • Severe reactions are generally managed with administration of antihistamines, corticosteroids, intravenous fluids, and/or oxygen when clinically indicated.
  • Because of the potential for severe infusion reactions, appropriate medical support measures should be readily available when Fabrazyme is administered.

Re-administration of Fabrazyme to patients who have previously experienced severe or serious allergic reactions to Fabrazyme should be done only after careful consideration of the risks and benefits of continued treatment, and only under the direct supervision of qualified personnel and with appropriate medical support measures readily available.

The most common adverse reactions reported are infusion reactions, some of which were severe. Infusion reactions occurred in approximately 50-55% of patients during Fabrazyme administration in clinical trials. Serious and/or frequently occurring (≥ 5% incidence) related adverse reactions consisted of one or more of the following: chills, fever, feeling hot or cold, dyspnea, nausea, flushing, headache, vomiting, paresthesia, fatigue, pruritus, pain in extremity, hypertension, chest pain, throat tightness, abdominal pain, dizziness, tachycardia, nasal congestion, diarrhea, edema peripheral, myalgia, back pain, pallor, bradycardia, urticaria, hypotension, face edema, rash, and somnolence.

  • Patients with advanced Fabry disease may have compromised cardiac function, which may predispose them to a higher risk of severe complications from infusion reactions. Patients with compromised cardiac function should be monitored closely if the decision is made to administer Fabrazyme.
  • Other serious adverse events reported in clinical studies included stroke, pain, ataxia, bradycardia, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, decreased cardiac output, vertigo, hypoacousia, and nephrotic syndrome. These adverse events also occur as manifestations of Fabry disease; an alteration in frequency or severity cannot be determined from the small numbers of patients studied.
  • Severe and serious infusion related reactions have been reported in postmarketing experience, some of which were life threatening including anaphylactic shock. In addition to the above adverse reactions, the following have been reported during postmarketing use of Fabrazyme: arthralgia, asthenia, erythema, hyperhidrosis, infusion site reaction, lacrimation increased, leukocytoclastic vasculitis, lymphadenopathy, hypoesthesia, oral hypoesthesia, palpitations, rhinorrhea, oxygen saturation decreased and hypoxia.
  • Adverse reactions (regardless of relationship) resulting in death reported in the postmarketing setting with Fabrazyme treatment included cardiorespiratory arrest, respiratory failure, cardiac failure, sepsis, cerebrovascular accident, myocardial infarction, renal failure, and pneumonia. Some of these reactions were reported in Fabry disease patients with significant underlying disease.

The safety and efficacy in patients younger than 8 years of age have not been evaluated.

Most patients who develop IgG antibodies do so within the first three months of exposure. IgG seroconversion in pediatric patients was associated with prolonged half-life of Fabrazyme, a phenomenon rarely observed in adult patients.

In clinical trials, a few patients developed IgE or skin test reactivity specific to Fabrazyme. Physicians should consider testing for IgE in patients who experienced suspected allergic reactions and consider the risks and benefits of continued treatment in patients with anti-Fabrazyme IgE antibodies.

Fabrazyme is available by prescription only. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch or call 1‑800‑FDA‑1088. You may also contact Sanofi Genzyme at 1-800-745-4447, option 2. To learn more, please see the full prescribing information (PDF) or contact Sanofi Genzyme at 1-800-745-4447.

References

  1. Desnick R, Brady R. Fabry disease in childhood. J Pediatr 2004;144:S20-6.
  2. Sher N, Letson R, Desnick R. The ocular manifestations in Fabry's disease. Arch Ophthalmol 1979;97:671-6.
  3. Morier A, Minteer J, Tyszko R, McCann R, Clarke M, Browning M. Ocular manifestations of Fabry disease within in a single kindred. Optometry 2010;81:437-49.