More Questions Raised About Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa 1

Once again dabigatran (Pradaxa) has raised the wrath of the critics. Several articles and an editorial published today in The BMJ raise more questions and concerns about the drug, which is the first of the new oral anticoagulants. Relying on new evidence along with previously disclosed data, Deborah Cohen, the  investigations editor for The BMJ, casts doubt on the reliability of the data supporting the drug as well as the behavior and decisions of regulatory authorities, trial investigators, and employees  of Boehringer Ingelheim, the drug’s manufacturer.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Boehringer Ingelheim Settles US Pradaxa Litigation For $650 Million Reply

Boehringer Ingelheim said today that it will pay $650 million in a “comprehensive settlement” of lawsuits over Pradaxa (dabigatran), the company’s novel anticoagulant. The company said that it expects the settlement will resolve about 4,000 current cases against the company in the US.

Click here to read the full 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.

Anticoagulation Update: New Agent For Urgent Anticoagulation Reversal, Pradaxa Label Revised 1

Here are two small but important changes in the anticoagulation field:

FDA approves new product for urgent reversal of anticoagulation. 

Pradaxa label gains boxed warning.

 

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

 

English: Logo of the .

 

Registry Study Offers Reassurance About Safety And Efficacy Of Dabigatran Reply

As the first new oral anticoagulant since warfarin, dabigatran (Pradaxa, Boehringer-Ingelheim) has been subject to intense concerns over its safety and efficacy in a real-world population. Last November an FDA investigation found no indication that bleeding rates for dabigatran were any higher than bleeding rates for warfarin. A new study from Scandinavia, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (see note at bottom of story), provides more real-world information that helps to confirm the safety and efficacy of the new drug.

Using data from the Danish Registry of Medicinal Product Statistics, researchers compared 4978 patients treated with dabigatran to 8936 matched patients who received warfarin. They found similar rates of stroke or systemic embolism and major bleeding with dabigatran and warfarin. In addition, mortality, intracranial bleeding, pulmonary embolism,and myocardial infarction were significantly lower in the dabigatran-treated group.

Here are the adjusted hazard ratios (and 95% confidence intervals) for dabigatran 110 mg and 150 mg, respectively, compared with warfarin:

  • Stroke: 0.73 (0.53 -1.00), 1.18 (0.85 – 1.64)
  • Systemic embolism: 0.60 (0.19 – 1.60), 1.00 (0.26 – 3.35)
  • Death: 0.79 (0.65 – 0.95), 0.57 (0.40 – 0.80)
  • MI: 0.30 (0.18 – 0.49), 0.40 (0.21 – 0.70)
  • Pulmonary embolism: 0.33 (0.12 – 0.74), 0.24 (0.06 – 0.72)
  • Intracranial bleeding: 0.24 (0.08 – 0.56), 0.08 (0.01 – 0.40)
  • Major bleeding: 0.82 (0.59 -1.12), 0.77 (0.51 – 1.13)

The authors concluded that ”previous concerns about an excess of bleeding events or myocardial infarction amongst dabigatran treated patients were not evident in this propensity-matched comparison against warfarin in a large post-approval registry study.” However, they noted one limitation of their study: The Danish AF patients included in the study were at lower risk and had a lower event rate than the patients studied in the pivotal RE-LY randomized trial of dabigatran.

Note to readers: This study is now available on Science Direct and the manuscript has been posted on CardioSource. Due to technical problems the article will be published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology website on Wednesday, April 10.

 

FDA Officials Calm Concerns Over Excessive Bleeding With Dabigatran 1

Concerns over excessive bleeding complications with dabigatran (Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim) as compared with warfarin are most likely due to the heightened sensitivity and vigilance that can accompany a new drug, according to FDA officials in a perspective published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We believe that the large number of reported cases of bleeding associated with dabigatran provides a salient example of stimulated reporting,” write Mary Ross Southworth, Marsha Reichman, and Ellis Unger. “In this case, such reporting provided a distorted estimate of the comparative bleeding rates associated with dabigatran and warfarin in clinical practice.”

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

 

Pradaxa To Be Contraindicated In Patients With Mechanical Heart Valves 1

Boehringer Ingelheim is starting to inform physicians about a new contraindication for its oral anticoagulant drug Pradaxa (dabigatran). The company has told investigators in trials utilizing dabigatran that it will shortly be sending a “Dear Doctor Letter,” also known as a Direct Healthcare Professional Communication (DHPC), to healthcare professionals. The letter will inform physicians that Pradaxa is now contraindicated in patients with mechanical heart valves. The change was based on a recent decision of the FDA, BI told its investigators.

The FDA action follows a similar decision by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency, which announced last week that it had recommended that Pradaxa be contraindicated in patients with prosthetic heart valves.

Both the FDA and the CHMP actions appear to be based on findings from the RE-ALIGN trial in patients with mechanical heart valves, which Boehringer Ingelheim announced last week had been stopped prematurely. (Click here for the CardioBrief story.As reported here in October, the company had previously terminated one arm of the study after an interim review of the data by the trial’s Data Safety Monitoring Board

One cardiologist who is a dabigatran investigator told CardioBrief that the label change

is consistent with the findings in Re-Align, although I wish it were presented and published in a peer reviewed journal. I do understand the urgency on behalf of the FDA to ensure that the use does not stray beyond its labeling for A-fib given both the prospective, randomized data from Re-Align and case reports of strokes on Pradaxa with mechanical valves. I don’t think this is the final word on Pradaxa (or other new generation anticoagulants), but if we are to use them, the doses will undoubtedly be different, and presumably higher, than the doses used for A-fib. The question is whether one can find a dose that prevents thromboembolic strokes with the new generation anticoagulants at an acceptable level of bleeding. It’s also worth noting that they did not recommend Pradaxa in patients with bioprosthetic valves, but didn’t absolutely contraindicate it. Yet.

Boehringer Ends Phase 2 Trial Of Dabigatran In Mechanical Valve Patients 2

Boehringer Ingelheim today announced that it had discontinued a phase 2 trial of its anticoagulant drug dabigatran (Pradaxa) in patients with mechanical heart valves. As reported here in October, the company had previously terminated one arm of the study after an interim review of the data by the trial’s Data Safety Monitoring Board

The RE-ALIGN trial was an open-label, 12-week randomized comparison of warfarin and dabigatran in 400 patients who received a mechanical valve. The first arm randomized patients during their initial hospital stay. The second arm randomized patients more than 3 months after their surgery.

Despite the recent advent of novel oral anticoagulants, the much-maligned warfarin remains the only current option available for patients who have received a mechanical valve. Now the first trial to explore this indication for one of the newer oral anticoagulants has been stopped.

In October Boehringer told members of its speakers bureau that the post-surgery arm of the trial had been terminated due to “lower than projected plasma levels of dabigatran in this population, and an imbalance in reports of thromboembolic events (primarily strokes).” At that time the company said the second arm of the trial would continue.

Dabigatran has been approved in Europe, but not in the United States, for venous thromboemoblism (VTE) prevention after knee and hip replacement surgery. Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) has been approved for both VTE prevention in the United States and Europe. To date there have been no head-to-head comparisons of the newer anticoagulants.

According to a recent study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes dabigatran now has about 19% of the oral anticoagulant market, mostly for the approved treatment of AF “but increasingly for off-label indications” as well. A recent letter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology provided information about the off-label use of dabigatran in two mechanical valve patients. Both patients developed thrombosis after switching to dabigatran from warfarin. The authors noted that “while there is a wealth of data and clinical experience on dosing and therapeutic response to warfarin in this context, these data are unavailable for dabigatran.” Although newer anticoagulants “hold tremendous promise for mechanical valve anticoagulation… there is a need for dose-finding studies and clinical trials to demonstrate safety and efficacy in this setting.”
Click here to read the press release from Boehringer…

Setback For Trial Studying Dabigatran After Mechanical Valve Surgery 2

Despite the recent advent of novel oral anticoagulants, the much-maligned warfarin remains the only current option available for patients who have received a mechanical valve. Now the first trial to explore this indication for a newer oral anticoagulant has suffered a setback.

Last year Boehringer Ingelheim announced the launch of the RE-ALIGN trial, a phase 2, open-label, 12-week randomized comparison of warfarin and dabigatran (Pradaxa) in 400 patients who received a mechanical valve. There were two arms in the trial. The first arm randomized patients during their initial hospital stay. The second arm randomized patients more than 3 months after their surgery.

Now, following the advice of the trial’s Data Safety Monitoring Board, Boehringer Ingelheim said it had discontinued the first arm of the trial, the post-surgery arm, due to “lower than projected plasma levels of dabigatran in this population, and an imbalance in reports of thromboembolic events (primarily strokes).” The trial’s second arm with patients who received a valve more than 3 months before enrollment in the trial is unaffected by this decision and will continue as planned.

Boehringer-Ingelheim said that the  news about RE-ALIGN does “not affect the positive benefit/risk profile of Pradaxa 150 mg for the current labeled indication” of stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. “RE-ALIGN is evaluating a different patient population and different doses than were studied in the RE-LY trial.”

Dabigatran has been approved in Europe, but not in the United States, for venous thromboemoblism (VTE) prevention after knee and hip replacement surgery. Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) has been approved for both VTE prevention in the United States and Europe. To date there have been no head-to-head comparisons of the newer anticoagulants.

According to a recent study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomesdabigatran now has about 19% of the oral anticoagulant market, mostly for the approved treatment of AF “but increasingly for off-label indications” as well. A recent letter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology provided information about the off-label use of dabigatran in two mechanical valve patients. Both patients developed thrombosis after switching to dabigatran from warfarin. The authors noted that “while there is a wealth of data and clinical experience on dosing and therapeutic response to warfarin in this context, these data are unavailable for dabigatran.” Although newer anticoagulants “hold tremendous promise for mechanical valve anticoagulation… there is a need for dose-finding studies and clinical trials to demonstrate safety and efficacy in this setting.”

One clinical cardiologist who did not wish to be identified offered the following perspective:

This is similar to the case reports (with all the usual caveats) where we have seen this signal with the novel anticoagulants…. it’s not intuitively clear why this is the case.  It may be that the dose is not optimized for mechanical valves.  It is worth noting that the drug levels in patients with mechanical valves were lower than anticipated based on pharmacokinetic calculations.  Maybe patients with mechanical valves have a different metabolism of the drug versus those that don’t have mechanical valves?  There may be an interaction with von Willebrand factor in the pharmacokinetics of dabigatran. Or maybe the dose is just too low and patients with mechanical valves need higher doses, just as we use a higher INR in patients with mechanical valves?  The science keeps evolving!

Sanjay Kaul made a similar point:

The anticoagulant dose requirement for mechanical valves is higher even for warfarin (INR targeted for 2.5 to 3.5) compared with atrial fibrillation or VTE indication (Target INR of 2 to 3). It is likely that the dabigatran dose tested in RE-ALIGN was not sufficiently effective early post surgery when the thrombotic risk is the highest.

Click here to read a letter sent by Boehringer Ingelheim to members of its speakers bureau…