FDA Grants New Indication For Apixaban Reply

The FDA today approved an expanded indication for  the oral anticoagulant apixaban (Eliquis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer). Apixaban will now be indicated for the treatment of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), and for the reduction in the risk of recurrent DVT and PE (collectively known as venous thromboembolism) after initial therapy.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

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Apixaban Gains Indication For DVT Prophylaxis After Knee And Hip Replacement Surgery Reply

The FDA has approved a new indication for apixaban (Eliquis), the anticoagulant drug manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer. The new indication is for the prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgery. DVT can lead to the life-threatening condition of pulmonary embolism (PE). The DVT prophylaxis indication joins the previously approved indication of stroke prevention in patients who have nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

Click here to read the entire post on Forbes.

 

New Trial Confirms Role For Pradaxa In Venous Thromboembolism Reply

A new study helps support a role for  the new oral anticoagulant dabigatran (Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim) in patients with venous thrombosis (VTE).  The RE-COVER II trial, published online in Circulation, confirms the finding of the earlier and highly similar RE-COVER trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009, that dabigatran is as safe and effective as warfarin for the treatment of  deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). Dabigatran is currently approved only for the treatment of stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

In RE-COVER II 2,589 patients with acute VTE were  randomized to dabigatran or warfarin following standard heparin treatment for 5 to 11 days. At 6 months the rate of recurrent VTE and related deaths was 2.3% in the dabigatran group versus 2.2% in the warfarin group (HR 1.08, CI 0.64 – 1.80; p<0.001 for noninferiority). There were no significant differences in the incidence of deaths, adverse events, and acute coronary syndromes.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Pradaxa

Large Study Finds Favorable Risk-Benefit Profile For The New Anticoagulants Reply

A very large new meta-analysis finds a favorable risk-benefit for the new oral anticoagulant drugs in the setting of atrial fibrillation. The findings, published online in the Lancet, were remarkably consistent for all four of the new agents which have been fighting to replace warfarin, which was the only oral anticoagulant available for decades until the arrival of the new agents. Although warfarin is inexpensive, it has numerous interactions with other drugs and foods and requires regular monitoring and dose adjustments. The new agents can be taken once or twice a day and do not require dose changes.

Christian Ruff and colleagues combined data from the nearly 72,000 patients randomized in the four large mega-trials: RE-LY, which studied dabigatran (Pradaxa, Boehringer-Ingelheim); ROCKET AF, which studied rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson); ARISTOTLE, which studied apixaban (Eliquis, Pfizer and BristolMyers Squibb); and ENGAGE-AF-TIMI 48, which studied edoxaban (Daiichi Sankyo).

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

New Anticoagulant From Daiichi Sankyo Works Well In AF Patients Reply

Edoxaban, a direct oral factor Xa inhibitor under development by Daiichi Sankyo, is the latest in the series of new oral anticoagulants seeking to take over the troubled role of warfarin in clinical practice. The results of ENGAGE-AF-TIMI 48 were presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Dallas and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine. The results of the trial were promising, but edoxaban may have a hard time finding its footing as the fourth new oral anticoagulant to enter the market, following dabigatran (Pradaxa), Boehringer Ingelheim; rivaroxaban (Xarelto), Johnson & Johnson; and apixaban (Eliquis), Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

In the trial, more than 21,000 patients with moderate-to-high-risk AF were randomized to one of two regimens of edoxaban or warfarin. Both high-dose and low-dose edoxaban were found to be noninferior to warfarin for the primary endpoint of stroke or systemic embolism. Here are the on-treatment annual rates of stroke or systemic embolism:

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Roller Coaster Path To Approval For Eliquis Uncovered By FDA Documents Reply

After the presentation and publication of the pivotal ARISTOTLE trial,  the novel anticoagulant apixaban (Eliquis, Pfizer and BristolMyers Squibb) was widely expected to be  a blockbuster. But then it got bogged down at the FDA where initial hopes for a speedy approval were dashed after highly critical reviews. Ultimately approval of the drug was delayed for 9 months past the original deadline as a result of both a PDUFA date extension and a complete response letter from the FDA. Now an article by Sue Sutter in  Pharmaceutical Approvals Monthlybased on documents posted by the FDA on its website, offers an inside look at the drug’s roller coaster ride through the FDA.

The article describes in detail the efforts of the FDA to investigate evidence of fraud and dispensing errors in ARISTOTLE. As Sutter writes: “To many looking in from the outside, the apixaban NDA filing seemed like a sure thing.” Initial results of ARISTOTLE suggested that it had “the potential to be best-in-class if the published ARISTOTLE data were to be believed.”

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

New Studies Examine Prolonged Anticoagulation For VTE Recurrence Reply

Three studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine provide important new information about the risks and benefits of extended prophylaxis using two of the new oral anticoagulants in patients who have had venous thromboembolism (VTE).

In an accompanying editorial, Jean Connors writes that “deciding how to balance the risks and benefits of extended anticoagulation is difficult” in patients with unprovoked VTE, since the risk of recurrent VTE may reach 40% at 5 years. Patients at low-to-moderate risk of recurrence may benefit from aspirin, which “may be safer than the newer agents,” though “it appears to have less efficacy in reducing recurrent events.” For patients at higher risk, “the new targeted anticoagulants are attractive alternatives to warfarin. The finding that a low prophylactic dose of apixaban has the same efficacy as the full therapeutic dose, with no increased risk of major bleeding, may tip the risk-to-benefit ratio in favor of extended treatment for this patient population. The wide therapeutic window of this agent enables use of a lower dose that retains great efficacy with no or only a minimal increase in bleeding.”

Click here to read the entire post in Forbes.

The New England Journal of Medicine

 

 

 

Two Experts Help Sort Out The New Generation Of Anticoagulants Reply

Don’t miss this very practical discussion about the new generation of anticoagulants and the short term loan costs to cover them over on CardioExchange. Here are a few excerpts.

Christian Thomas Ruff:

I believe the addition of the 3 currently approved novel anticoagulants (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban) will eventually translate into a greater proportion of eligible patients being treated; it certainly has in my practice…

Although I think it is important to continue to develop reversal agents for the novel anticoagulants, I don’t think the lack of such an agent is sufficient reason to avoid using a novel anticoagulant.

I think that price is one of the most important factors that has hindered uptake of the novel agents. Although these drugs may well be “cost-effective” in complicated analyses that focused on the costs and benefits to society at large, it is the out of pocket expense for the drugs that really matters to patients…

Andrew E. Epstein:

 It is highly unlikely that a direct comparison of the new anticoagulants will ever be done. Thus, we will have to choose between one or another based on pharmacokinetics, convenience, and perhaps formulary availability. Substudy analyses are also important…

I am concerned that although the elderly often have the most to gain from the new anticoagulants, they are also the patients at greatest risk for bleeding, especially if renal function is labile with drugs cleared by the kidneys. For such patients, warfarin should be considered.

FDA Approves Eliquis (Apixaban) For Stroke Prevention In AF 2

The FDA has finally approved apixaban (Eliquis, Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer) to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. The action comes after the widely-anticipated drug had been plagued by delays at the FDA but well before the PDUFA deadline of March 17, 2013. Eliquis is the latest member of the new generation of oral anticoagulants, which also includes dabigatran (Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson).

The FDA said that apixaban should not be taken by patients with prosthetic heart valves or by patients with AF caused by a heart valve problem. (Recently the FDA added a contraindication to the dabigatran label against using the drug in patients with mechanical heart valves.) The FDA said that the most serious risk associated with apixaban, as with other anticoagulants, is bleeding, including life-threatening and fatal bleeding. Patients taking apixaban will receive a patient Medication Guide. The FDA is advising health care professionals to counsel patients about the signs of symptoms of possible bleeding.

The FDA approval was based largely on the results of the highly positive ARISTOTLE trial which found that apixaban was superior to warfarin in AF patients. The FDA will likely allow BMS and Pfizer to claim that apixaban is superior to warfarin, as the press release states that “patients taking Eliquis had fewer strokes than those who took warfarin.”

Click here to download a PDF of the package insert.

Click here to read the FDA press release…

2012 In Review: A Bad Year For Conventional Wisdom 3

This was a really grim year for anyone who thought we had things pretty well figured out. Time and again conventional wisdom was thrown out the window. 2012 forced the cardiology community to reconsider what it thought it knew about HDL cholesterol, platelet function tests, aspirin resistance, triple therapy, IABP, and more.

One device company, with a lot of help, did just about everything right when it introduced a radical, highly disruptive new technology. Another device company did just about everything wrong in handling a series of crises. The new generation oral anticoagulants continued to make gains– slowly– but also failed to achieve the early blockbuster success that some had thought they might achieve.

And it was another bad year for scientific integrity.

Conventional Wisdom Isn’t

Raising HDL cholesterol had to be great. Then the evidence arrived. Just last week HPS2-THRIVE put the final  nail in the niacin coffin. (I wonder what all the critics of AIM-HIGH have to say now?) And another CETP inhibitor bit the dust. The HDL hypothesis is far from dead, but any claim of benefit due to raising HDL will need to be rigorously demonstrated in a large, well-designed clinical trial.

Platelet function tests just had to be useful in guiding therapy. Then ARCTIC came along and blew a cold wind on the idea.

On a related note, many believed that testing for aspirin resistance might be a good idea. Then a paper in Circulation presented strong evidence that the entire concept of aspirin resistance might be a myth.

Triple therapy for PCI patients already receiving anticoagulation was standard clinical practice, endorsed by the guidelines. Now, after WOEST, we know that what we knew was wrong. Drop the aspirin.

Intraaortic balloon counterpulsation (IABP) has a class 1 recommendation for patients in cardiogenic shock following myocardial infarction for whom early revascularization is planned. Until IABP-SHOCK II was presented at the ESC and published in NEJM.

Depending on your perspective the FREEDOM trial either confirmed or denied conventional wisdom. We now know with near certainty that diabetics with multivessel disease have better outcomes with CABG than with PCI. An important lesson from an important trial.

Conventional wisdom had it that chelation therapy was worthless. The conventional wisdom may still be valid, but the NIH’s TACT trial means the debate will continue. It’s hard to imagine a satisfactory result to this controversy, despite the good intentions of the NIH and at least some of the TACT investigators. In general I support the concept of testing alternative therapies, especially if they gain traction in clinical practice, but it’s not clear yet whether we really learned anything from TACT (except that doing trials like this is extraordinarily hard). A trial like TACT should only be performed if it has a good chance of actually answering the big clinical question. Unfortunately, TACT didn’t do this.

TAVR: Bright Spot in a Dark Year

Click to continue reading…

Prolonged Anticoagulation With Apixaban Found Beneficial In Venous Thromboembolism Reply

A new study suggests that extending anticoagulant therapy for an additional year may be beneficial after patients with venous thromboembolism complete their initial course of therapy. The results of AMPLIFY-EXT (Apixaban after the Initial Management of Pulmonary Embolism and Deep Vein Thrombosis with First-Line Therapy-Extended Treatment) were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology meeting in Atlanta and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of  Medicine.

After completing a standard anticoagulation regimen for 6-12 months, 2,486 VTE patients were randomized to either placebo or apixaban (2.5 or 5 mg twice daily) for an additional 12 months. At both doses, apixaban treatment was associated with a large reduction in clinical events and no increase in major bleeding events.

The primary endpoint, the composite of death or symptomatic recurrent VTE, was significantly reduced in the apixaban groups, from  11.6% in the placebo group to 3.8% in the low-dose apixaban and 4.2% in the high-dose apixaban groups (p<0.001 for both comparisons).

There were very few major bleeding events: 4 (0.5%) in the placebo group, 2 (0.2%) in the low dose apixaban group and 1 ((0.1%) in the high dose apixaban group. Clinically relevant non-major bleeds occurred in 2.3% of the placebo group, 3% of the low dose apixaban group, and 4.2% of the high dose apixaban group.

The investigators concluded that the results of the study “provide a rationale for continuing anticoagulation therapy” in VTE patients for whom there is uncertainty about the worth of continued anticoagulant therapy. They calculated that 14 patients would need to be treated to prevent one VTE case.

FDA Sets New Decision Date For Eliquis (Apixaban) Reply

The FDA will decide the fate of apixaban (Eliquis) by March 17, 2013. The new Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) goal date was announced yesterday by the drug’s manufacturers, Pfizer and BristolMyers Squibb.

The new drug application (NDA) for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation has been delayed twice. Although the pivotal ARISTOTLE trial was highly praised when it was first published, the FDA first extended its review by three months and then issued a complete response letter (CRL) on June 25 requesting “additional information on data management and verification from the ARISTOTLE trial.” According to Pfizer and BristolMyers Squibb, the FDA has now accepted for evaluation their response to the CRL.

In Europe last week the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended approval for apixaban for the same indication.

Click here to read the press release from Pfizer and BMS…

Apixaban (Eliquis) For Atrial Fibrillation Gets Positive European Recommendation 2

The European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended approval for apixaban (Eliquis, Pfizer and BristolMyers Squibb) for atrial fibrillation (AF). The drug is already approved in Europe for the prevention of venous thromboembolic events (VTE) following hip or knee replacement surgery. The drug has not yet been approved in the United States.

Here is the CHMP proposed indication for the existing 2.5 mg dose and a new 5 mg dose:

“Prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in adult patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), with one or more risk factors, such as prior stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA); age ≥ 75 years; hypertension; diabetes mellitus; symptomatic heart failure (NYHA Class ≥ II).”

CHMP proposed that apixaban should be contraindicated in patients at high risk for major bleeding and in patients receiving other anticoagulants.

The CHMP decision was based on data from the ARISTOTLE and AVERROES pivotal clinical trials.

Click here to download the PDF of the CHMP summary of opinion.

Click here to read the press release from Pfizer and BMS…

FDA Once Again Delays Approval Of Apixaban (Eliquis) 2

The FDA has once again delayed approval of apixaban (Eliquis), the much-anticipated oral anticoagulant. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer announced today that it had received a a Complete Response Letter (CRL) to the New Drug Application (NDA) for the drug for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

The two companies reported that the FDA had asked for “additional information on data management and verification from the ARISTOTLE trial”  No new trials were requested by the FDA, according to the companies, who said they “will work closely with the FDA on the appropriate next steps” for the NDA.

Following the widely praised publication and presentation of ARISTOTLE, it was widely anticipated that apixaban would sail through the FDA approval process. This view gained early confirmation when the FDA granted priority review for the NDA last November, but the picture grew cloudier earlier this year when the FDA extended the action date by three months.

Wall Street analyst Tim Anderson speculated that apixaban might still gain FDA approval in 2012, though firm predictions are difficult since Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer have not released details about the questions raised by the FDA in the CRL.

Click here to read the press release from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer

When You’re Hot You’re Hot: Salim Yusuf Second Most Influential Scientist in 2011 1

McMaster University’s Salim Yusuf has tied for second place in the annual ranking of the “hottest” scientific researchers, according to Thomson Reuter’s Science Watch.  Yusuf was a co-author of 13 of the most cited papers in 2011. Only one other researcher, genomic pioneer Eric Lander of the Broad Institute of MIT, had more highly-cited papers than Yusuf.

Two of Yusuf’s most-cited papers tested novel anticoagulants in the setting of atrial fibrillation: the RE-LY trial with dabigatran and the AVERROES trial with apixaban. “It’s a new experience to be called a hottie,” Yusuf joked in an interview with the Hamilton Spectator“This means it has impact on other scientists. It’s nice to know you’re doing something useful.” The Science Watchreport also included a list of “red-hot” research papers published in 2011. Five of the top 38 papers were cardiology-related:

Click here to read the press release from Thomson Reuters…

Decision on Apixaban (Eliquis) Pushed Back By Three Months 1

Update, March 1, 5 PM: Ramsay Baghadi of the RPM Report says that the Cardiorenal committee will take up the apixaban NDA on Mary 22 and the rivaroxaban supplemental NDA for the ACS indication on May 23, but this information has not been confirmed.

Confirming earlier speculation by a Wall Street analyst, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb announced on Wednesday evening that the FDA had extended by three months the action date for the new drug application (NDA) for the highly anticipated oral anticoagulant Eliquis (apixaban). The application is for their important indication of stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. The FDA had previously granted the application a 6-month priority review, resulting in a March 28th decision date. The new decision date is June 28,2012.

Sanford Bernstein research analyst Tim Anderson first raised the idea that the decision date might be delayed back on February 10th. On Tuesday Anderson released another note with additional evidence for the delay, based on the release of the tentative FDA advisory committee calendar for 2012, suggesting that the apixaban NDA will be subject to an advisory panel meeting. According to the calendar, the Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on March 27 and May 23. The agenda for the March 27 session is already set for a discussion of Replagal for Fabry disease. Recall that yesterday the FDA granted a priority review to the NDA for rivaroxaban for ACS, resulting in a decision date of June 29. One might speculate then that another day might be added to the May 23rd meeting for consideration of the rivaroxaban and apixaban NDAs.

Anderson wonders why the FDA has suddenly put the brakes on the apixaban approval, which had heretofore seemed uncomplicated. He writes:

Our best guess remains that FDA may be seeking cover, given the safety experience following competing drug Pradaxa’s approval in 2010.  Additionally, FDA may be seeking advice on things like product labeling and what claims would be allowed.

We might also note that the approval of rivaroxaban was far more difficult than had been expected. Remember that the ROCKET AF trial had been presented and published with broad approval, but then came under heavy fire from FDA reviewers. It is possible that FDA reviewers may also raise previously unsuspected concerns about the pivotal apixaban trial, ARISTOTLE, though no serious criticisms have been publicly raised so far.
Click here to read the press release from Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb…