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.

 

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FDA Once Again Rejects New Indication For Rivaroxaban Reply

The third time wasn’t the charm. The FDA today turned turned down– for the third time– the supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) for use in acute coronary syndrome patients to reduce MI, stroke or death. In addition, the FDA– for the second time– turned down the sNDA for rivaroxaban in the same population for the reduction of stent thrombosis.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

FDA Panel Once Again Rejects New Indication For Rivaroxaban Reply

The FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee once again turned down the supplemental new drug application for an acute coronary syndrome indication for Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto (rivaroxaban). The nearly unanimous vote (10-0, with 1 abstention) was in line with a highly negative review from FDA staff members.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

English: Logo of the band Rejected Español: Lo...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Rivaroxaban Faces Uphill Battle At FDA Advisory Panel Reply

The third time may not be the charm. Twice before the FDA has turned down the supplemental new drug application for an acute coronary syndrome indication for Johnson & Johnson’s Xarelto (rivaroxaban). On Thursday the Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee will take up the sNDA yet again, but FDA review documents posted today suggest that the company will again face an uphill battle.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

Stone wall of an English barn

 

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

Possible New Lease On Life For Two Cardiology Drugs From Merck And J&J Reply

Early next year an FDA panel will review a new drug from Merck and a new indication for Xarelto (rivaroxaban), Johnson & Johnson’s highly successful new oral anticoagulant. Both drugs have had a rocky road getting to this stage and their success is by no means assured, but the announcement of the meeting of the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee suggests that the companies have made progress resolving earlier problems.

Merck’s new drug application for vorapaxar (Zontivity is the proposed trade name) will be discussed on January 15 for the proposed indication of reduction of atherothrombotic events in patients with a history of myocardial infarction (MI).

On January 16 the panel will discuss the supplemental new drug application for J&J’s Xarelto (rivaroxaban) to reduce the risk of thrombotic cardiovascular events in patients in the first 90 days after suffering acute coronary syndrome.

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

English: Logo of the .

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.

FDA Turns Back New Indication For Rivaroxaban To Prevent Stent Thrombosis In ACS Patients Reply

Johnson & Johnson said today that it had received a complete response letter from the FDA for the supplemental new drug application for rivaroxaban (Xarrelto) for the prevention of stent thrombosis in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Earlier this year the FDA turned down for the second time the sNDA for the  general use of rivaroxaban to treat ACS patients.

Click here to read the full story on Forbes.

 

English: Logo of the .

 

 

Rivaroxaban Gains Approval In Europe For ACS Indication Reply

Rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Bayer) has been approved in Europe for the prevention of atherothrombotic events (cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction or stroke) following an acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The drug was approved at a dose of 2.5 mg twice-daily and should be used in combination with standard antiplatelet therapy. Rivaroxaban is now the only oral anticoagulant to receive an ACS indication.

The approval is based on data from the pivotal ATLAS ACS 2-TIMI 51 trial. In the United States, where Xarelto is marketed by Johnson & Johnson, the FDA has twice rejected an ACS indication for rivaroxaban.

The new indication joins the already-approved indications for higher doses of rivaroxaban for the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients undergoing elective hip or knee replacement surgery, for the treatment of, (and prevention of recurrent) DVT and PE, and for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation.

“We know that thrombin levels remain elevated long after an ACS event, leaving patients at risk. In the ATLAS ACS 2-TIMI 51 study, we’ve shown that treating these patients with a low dose of rivaroxaban in combination with standard antiplatelet therapy targets both pathways of clot formation providing more complete long-term protection, including significant reduction in mortality risk,” said C. Michael Gibson, the Principal Investigator of the ATLAS ACS2-TIMI 51 trial, in a Bayer press release. “This approval marks an important shift in the way we deliver protection to patients who are at risk of a secondary atherothrombotic event.”

 

CHMP And FDA Diverge On Mipomersen And Rivaroxaban Reply

The US FDA and Europe’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) have taken opposite views of two important and controversial new cardiovascular drugs. Although earlier this month the FDA rejected– for the second time– an ACS indication for the oral anticoagulant rivaroxaban (Xarelto), CHMP announced today that it had adopted a positive opinion for the same indication. In contrast, although the FDA recently approved the new cholesterol-lowering agent mipomersen (Kynamro, Isis and Genzyme), CHMP, after reviewing its previous negative position, reaffirmed today that it would not recommend approval of the drug in Europe.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

European Medicines Agency

 

FDA Again Rejects ACS Indication for Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) Reply

For the second time the FDA has turned down the supplemental new drug application (NDA) for the proposed indication of rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) to treat patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

In a new press release issues on Monday afternoon, the company restated its confidence “in the robustness and results of the ATLAS ACS 2 TIMI 51 trial.” Criticism of ATLAS from the FDA and the advisory panel members had focused on missing data from the ATLAS trial. In today’s press release J&J provided more information about its efforts to address this question:

Click here for the complete 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

 

 

 

Rivaroxaban Effective In Medically Ill Patients But At High Bleeding Cost Reply

The recent arrival of novel oral anticoagulants has provided important new options for venous thromboembolism (VTE) treatment and prevention. New indications for these drugs have been granted for patients with atrial fibrillation and following orthopedic surgery. But an additional indication, for acutely ill medical patients at risk for VTE, does not appear likely in the near future, as a new trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that one of these novel drugs, though effective at preventing VTE, also resulted in a significant increase in bleeding risk.

In the Multicenter, Randomized, Parallel Group Efficacy and Safety Study for the Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism in Hospitalized Acutely Ill Medical Patients Comparing Rivaroxaban with Enoxaparin (MAGELLAN), first presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in 2011, more than 8,000 medically ill patients were randomized to subcutaneous enoxaparin for 1o days or oral rivaroxaban for 35 days.

Click here to read the full post in Forbes.

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…

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…

High Rate Of Warfarin Discontinuation Observed In Study Reply

One of the many potential problems with warfarin-based anticoagulant therapy is the poor rate of adherence and persistence among patients who are prescribed the drug. Now a new observational study published in Archives of Internal Medicine raises the possibility that the problem may be even worse than many may have previously suspected, as discontinuation rates in clinical trials appear to be much lower than in the real world.

Tara Gomes and colleagues analyzed data from more than 125,000 new users of warfarin in Ontario, Canada and found very high rates of discontinuation over time:

  • 8.9% never filled a second prescription
  • 31.8% discontinued warfarin within 1 year
  • 43.2% discontinued warfarin with 2 years
  • 61.3% discontinued warfarin within 5 years

People at higher risk for stroke, as assessed by the CHADS2 score, were more likely to continue taking warfarin over the course of the study.

In an invited commentary, Whitney Maxwell and Charles Bennett write that the results are consistent with previous observational studies but that warfarin discontinuation can be appropriate and is often initiated by the physician. “Appropriateness of anticoagulation discontinuation is perhaps a more important outcome to evaluate rather than absolute discontinuation rates,” they write. An additional plausible explanation for the study finding is that few patients in Canada were treated at anticoagulation clinics.

Maxwell and Bennett write that any potential problem with anticoagulation discontinuation is not limited to warfarin. In the RE-LY trial, they note, more patients discontinued therapy in the dabigatran arm than in the warfarin arm, and a similar trend was observed with rivaroxaban in ROCKET AF.

News Briefs: Cholesterol Trends, AHA Late-Breakers, FDA Updates On Rivaroxaban And Heartware HVAD Reply

Cholesterol Trends

The Centers for Disease Control issued a new report with the latest details about the prevalence of cholesterol screening and high blood cholesterol in US adults. Here is their summary of the key findings:

…cholesterol screening increased from 72.7% in 2005 to 76.0% in 2009, whereas the percentage of those screened who reported being told they had high cholesterol increased from 33.2% to 35.0%. Previously identified demographic disparities persist.

AHA Previews LBCTs

The American Heart Association has published a preview of the late-breaking clinical trials scheduled for presentation in November at the scientific sessions in Los Angeles. 28 LBCTs have been selected, including the NIH’s FREEDOM (Future REvascularization Evaluation in patients with Diabetes mellitus: Optimal management of Multivessel disease) trial and the controversial Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT).

J&J Provides More Information To FDA About Rivaroxaban

Johnson & Johnson said today that it had fully responded to the FDA’s request for more information about the use of rivaroxaban (Xarelto) in patients with acute coronary syndromes. The company also said it had resubmitted its supplemental New Drug Application (sNDA) for the drug to reduce the risk of stent thrombosis in ACS patients.

Heartware HVAD Close To FDA Approval

The Heartware HVAD ventricular assist system may be approved soon by the FDA, according to Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen. Robert Kormos, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh, who also consults for Heartware,  said during a session at a Society of Thoracic Surgeons symposium that the device would be approved in the next few weeks.

Republished with permission from CardioExchange, a NEJM group publication.

FDA Rejects ACS Indication for Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) 2

The FDA has issued a complete response letter to the supplemental new drug application (NDA) for the proposed indication of rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The action was expected, since last month the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee voted against recommending the new indication, which was based on the pivotal ATLAS ACS 2-TIMI 51 trial.

In a press release a J&J company official said the company remains “confident in the robust results of the ATLAS ACS 2 TIMI 51 trial and the positive benefit-risk profile of rivaroxaban in patients with ACS. We will continue to work with the FDA to fully address their questions as quickly as possible.” Rivaroxaban is currently approved for the prevention of clots following knee replacement and hip replacement surgery and for the prevention of strokes and blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation.

Click here to read the press release from J&J…

FDA Advisory Committee Recommends Against ACS Indication For Rivaroxaban 1

The FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee voted against adding an indication for acute coronary syndromes (ACS) to the label  of the anticoagulant rivaroxaban (Xarelto). The vote was 6 to 4 against approval, with 1 abstention.

The advisory panel spent most of the day trying to reconcile diametrically opposed views of the pivotal ATLAS ACS 2-TIMI 51 trial. On the one hand, the sponsor (Johnson & Johnson) and the TIMI investigators (Jessica Mega, C. Michael Gibson, and Eugene Braunwald) portrayed a robustly positive trial that strongly demonstrated the beneficial effects of low dose rivaroxaban in ACS when added to dual antiplatelet therapy. On the other hand, one FDA reviewer, Medical Team Leader Tom Marciniak, raised multiple questions about the validity of the trial and its conclusions because of an alarming amount of early withdrawals and missing data. His view was largely endorsed by several committee members, including Steve Nissen and Sanjay Kaul.

In a press release, J&J said it “will ensure the questions raised today are addressed with the FDA.”

See my previous post for a detailed live account of the advisory committee meeting.

Live Blog: The FDA Advisory Panel For Rixaroxaban for ACS 1

Here’s my live-blogg of the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee meeting to consider the supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) for use in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) already taking dual antiplatelet therapy. Here is a link to the FDA briefing documents.

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4:48: Meeting adjourned! J&J has just issued a press release saying they will “ensure the questions raised today are addressed with the FDA.”

4:45: Temple is raising the possibility that the FDA might ultimately approve rivaroxaban for ACS. I would not be shocked if this were to happen.

4:38: Now discussing whether the FDA should say about the use of rivaroxaban with thienopyridine. All agree that people should be on a thienopyridine. What about prasugrel and ticagrelor? Nissen says the reality is that rivaroxaban will be given with these drugs, even though there’s no evidence. This was part of his reasoning in voting no. Sager said he would be more concerned about prasugrel, because of the excess risk of bleeding associated with prasugrel. But he notes there is no evidence to support use with either drug.

4:33: Moving on to questions about what to do if rivaroxaban is approved. Everyone agrees that the 2.5 dose is the dose that would get approved.

4:30: Kaul said he wished he had had the courage to abstain (to general laughter) and said he agrees with Fleming that he’d rather advise than vote, and that there was a very fine line between yes and no today.

4:24: Nissen thinks the decision to use mITT– which is counting events at 30 days after stopping treatment– is what doomed ATLAS. With mITT, he says, you’re telling the investigators and the patients that you don’t care so much about what happens to them long term. Nissen thinks the drug could be approvable if there were a second trial, but he also says its possible that the mortality benefit would not be replicated. He’s worried about exposing hundreds of thousands of patients to a three-drug regimen and causing lots of bleeding complications.

4:18: Results: Yes 4, No 6, 1 Abstain!

Voting breakdown:
Click to continue reading…

Rivaroxaban For ACS Gets Positive FDA Review, But Questions About ATLAS Trial Conduct Persist 2

The FDA will offer generally positive but also highly mixed advice to the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee  when it meets on Wednesday to consider the supplemental new drug application for rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) for use in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) already taking dual antiplatelet therapy. The FDA posted the briefing documents on its website this morning.

Although the primary clinical review and the statistical review support approval for the new indication (the drug is already approved for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis and stroke prevention in AF), one reviewer, Thomas Marciniak, the Medical Team Leader, issued a blistering memorandum suggesting that the supporting data, plagued by missing and inconsistent records in the pivotal ATLAS ACS 2-TIMI 51 trial, “may not support the favorable statistical results.”

The primary clinical reviewer, Karen Hicks, recommended approval for the 2.5 mg BID dose (but not the 5 mg dose) of rivaroxaban for ACS. She noted that the lower dose reduced the combined endpoint of CV death, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal stroke  in the ATLAS trial, with most of the benefit driven by a reduction in CV death, with little or no difference in MI or stroke. The higher 5 mg dose increased bleeding risk in the trial without providing additional efficacy, she concluded. She did not recommend a mortality indication for the label. Her views generally coincide with the reception of the ATLAS trial following its presentation and publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It should be noted that Hicks hedged her endorsement with a potentially significant caveat:
Click to continue reading…

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…