Eliquis launched in the UK
Eliquis, the latest entrant to the competitive oral anticoagulant market, has been launched in the UK.
Co-developed and co-marketed by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb Eliquis (apixaban) is now available for the prevention of venous thromboembolic events in adult patients who have undergone elective total hip or knee replacement surgery.
The drug will compete with two other new anticoagulants, Boehringer Ingelheim’s Pradaxa and Bayer’s Xarelto, in what is becoming one of the most competitive and fast-growing therapy areas.
Pradaxa was launched in the UK in 2008, and Xarelto followed in 2009, and both swiftly gained NICE recommendation for use after orthopaedic surgery. Eliquis will also pursue the other licensed indications, prevention of stroke and atrial fibrillation, for which its competitors are now gaining approval.
All of the drugs are aimed at replacing the injectable anticoagulant enoxaparin (Sanofi’s Clexane) and the older oral treatment warfarin.
Dr Ander Cohen, honorary consultant vascular physician at King’s College Hospital, London said:
“Clinical data showed that apixaban was more effective than the anticoagulant enoxaparin and importantly, it also showed no increase in bleeding rates compared to enoxaparin.”
Professor Michael Rud Lassen, Glostrup Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and lead investigator for the phase III orthopaedic trials for apixaban said: “The initiation of treatment after surgery is an option recommended in guidelines. Doctors have to consider the benefits of treatment before or after surgery against the risk of bleeding, which can be caused by anticoagulation. The first dose of apixaban is given 12-24 hours after surgery, which allows the doctor time to ensure bleeding has stopped.”
The licensing of apixaban is based on the ADVANCE-2 and ADVANCE-3 clinical trials in patients who underwent elective total hip or knee replacements. These trials included over 8,000 patients and assessed the efficacy (in preventing clotting and death) and bleeding risk of apixaban compared to enoxaparin.
“By making apixaban available to doctors and their patients in the UK – an important milestone for the alliance – we hope to help reduce the burden of blood clots in patients undergoing elective hip and knee replacement,” said Dr Rick Lones, UK executive medical director, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Blood clots are responsible for around 25,000 preventable deaths in the UK annually, and the new drugs are aimed at preventing them following major joint surgery, or other conditions.
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