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IntroductionSpinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare autosomal recessive neuromuscular disease which is characterized by muscle atrophy and early death in most patients. Risdiplam is the third overall and first oral drug approved for SMA with disease-modifying potential. Risdiplam acts as a survival motor neuron 2 (SMN2) pre-mRNA splicing modifier with satisfactory safety and efficacy profile. This review aims to critically appraise the place of risdiplam in the map of SMA therapeutics.Areas coveredThis review gives an overview of the current market for SMA and presents the mechanism of action and the pharmacological properties of risdiplam. It also outlines the development of risdiplam from early preclinical stages through to the most recently published results from phase 2/3 clinical trials. Risdiplam has proved its efficacy in pivotal trials for SMA Types 1, 2, and 3 with a satisfactory safety profile.Expert opinionIn the absence of comparative data with the other two approved drugs, the role of risdiplam in the treatment algorithm of affected individuals is examined in three different patient populations based on the age and diagnosis method (newborn screening or clinical, symptom-driven diagnosis). Long-term data and real-world data will play a fundamental role in its future.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert opinion on investigational drugs

Publication Date



MDUK Oxford Neuromuscular Center, Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.