NICE Recommends Pfizer and BMS’ Eliquis to Treat Dangerous Blood Clots
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer’s Eliquis won a positive nod in the UK, with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence deeming it clinically effective and cost-effective in treating and preventing blood clots in the lungs, pelvis, legs or arms.
According to the draft guidance, Eliquis is the lowest-dose new oral blood thinner indicated for secondary prevention — a fact that should appeal to patients and doctors when considering the risks and benefits of continued treatment.
Patients on warfarin, for example, experience higher rates of bleeding than patients given Eliquis. The BMS-Pfizer drug also doesn’t require frequent blood tests to check if the blood is clotting normally, as do other anticoagulants such as warfarin, says Carole Longson, director of NICE’s Health Technology Evaluation Centre.
NICE reviewers concluded that Eliquis (apixaban) would cost less than $30,300 annually either for a six-month treatment or for long-term use. The institute’s usual upper limit is between that and $45,500.
In the U.S., Eliquis is approved for this use, as well as to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in patients with heart arrhythmias and to prevent deep vein thrombosis, which can lead to clots in the lungs of patients who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgery.
The FDA requires boxed warnings that stopping the drug early increases the risk of blood clots, that patients who have epidural anesthesia or spinal puncture may develop hematomas and that there is a risk of potentially fatal bleeding.
Comments on NICE’s draft guidance are due March 20. Read it at www.fdanews.com/03-06-15-eliquis.pdf. — Lena Freund