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FDA Warns Against Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.'s Pradaxa in Patients With Mechanical Prosthetic Heart Valves  
12/20/2012 8:40:32 AM

RIDGEFIELD, Conn., Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that the U.S. prescribing information for Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) capsules was updated to include a contraindication related to use in patients with mechanical prosthetic heart valve replacement.

The decision to add the contraindication was made following an interim analysis of results from the Phase II RE-ALIGN study in patients with mechanical prosthetic heart valve replacement, a patient population different than the currently labeled indication for PRADAXA. The RE-ALIGN study did not enroll any U.S. patients. The interim analysis showed an increased incidence of thromboembolic and bleeding events in this specific patient population treated with dabigatran etexilate compared to warfarin.

"Patient safety is our top priority and the company took appropriate action to stop the trial and inform regulatory authorities," said Sabine Luik, M.D., senior vice president, Medicine & Regulatory Affairs, U.S. Regional Medical Director, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "These findings do not affect the positive benefit-risk profile of PRADAXA 150mg twice daily when used as indicated to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation."

PRADAXA has not been evaluated in the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AFib) caused by heart valve problems and cannot be recommended in these patients. The use of PRADAXA has not been evaluated in patients with bioprosthetic valves and use cannot be recommended for such patients.

"Boehringer Ingelheim is a science-based company that is proud to bring innovative products to patients and the medical community," commented Greg Behar, president and Chief Executive Officer, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "Our commitment to exploring innovation in areas with high unmet medical need remains unchanged."

The efficacy and safety of PRADAXA capsules was established in the RE-LY® trial, one of the largest stroke prevention clinical studies ever conducted in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). PRADAXA 150mg twice daily is the only treatment compared to warfarin to demonstrate superior reduction in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.

Nearly nine out of 10 strokes caused by AFib are ischemic strokes. In RE-LY, PRADAXA was proven to be 36 percent better than warfarin at reducing the risk of stroke in patients with NVAF. PRADAXA 150mg twice daily also showed a 59 percent lower rate of intracranial bleeding in the RE-LY trial, compared to warfarin.

About RE-LY®
RE-LY was a global, Phase III, randomized trial of 18,113 patients enrolled in 951 centers in 44 countries, investigating whether dabigatran etexilate (two blinded doses) was as effective as open label warfarin INR 2.0 - 3.0 for stroke prevention. Patients with NVAF and at least one other risk factor for stroke (i.e., previous ischemic stroke, transient ischemic attack, or systemic embolism, left ventricular ejection fraction <40 percent, symptomatic heart failure, New York Heart Association Class > 2, age > 75 years, age > 65 years with either diabetes mellitus, history of coronary artery disease, or hypertension) were enrolled in the study for two years with a minimum follow-up period of one year.

The RE-LY trial utilized the established PROBE (prospective, randomized, open-label, blinded endpoint evaluation) clinical trial protocol, which has been used in the previous trials of anticoagulation for stroke prevention in patients with AFib. A PROBE design may reflect the differences in the management of warfarin and dabigatran in clinical practice.

The primary endpoint of the trial was incidence of stroke (including ischemic and hemorrhagic) and systemic embolism. The primary safety endpoint was major bleeding, defined as a reduction in the hemoglobin level of at least 2.0 g/dL, transfusion of at least two units of blood, or symptomatic bleeding in a critical area or organ. Other safety endpoints included bleeding events (major and minor), intracerebral hemorrhage, other intracranial hemorrhage, elevations in liver transaminases, bilirubin and hepatic dysfunction and other adverse events.

In the RE-LY trial, all clinical outcomes were adjudicated in a blinded manner to assess outcomes for each treatment.

About Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) Capsules

Indications and Usage
Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate) capsules is indicated to reduce the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT PRADAXA

CONTRAINDICATIONS
PRADAXA is contraindicated in patients with:

  • Active pathological bleeding
  • A known serious hypersensitivity reaction to PRADAXA (e.g., anaphylactic reaction or anaphylactic shock)
  • A mechanical prosthetic heart valve

WARNINGS & PRECAUTIONS
Risk of Bleeding

  • PRADAXA increases the risk of bleeding and can cause significant and, sometimes, fatal bleeding. Promptly evaluate any signs or symptoms of blood loss (e.g., a drop in hemoglobin and/or hematocrit or hypotension). Discontinue PRADAXA in patients with active pathological bleeding.
  • Risk factors for bleeding include concomitant use of medications that increase the risk of bleeding (e.g., anti-platelet agents, heparin, fibrinolytic therapy, and chronic use of NSAIDs). PRADAXA's anticoagulant activity and half-life are increased in patients with renal impairment.
  • A specific reversal agent for dabigatran is not available. Hemodialysis can remove dabigatran; however clinical experience for hemodialysis as a treatment for bleeding is limited. Activated prothrombin complex concentrates, recombinant Factor VIIa, or concentrates of factors II, IX or X may be considered but their use has not been evaluated. Protamine sulfate and vitamin K are not expected to affect dabigatran anticoagulant activity. Consider administration of platelet concentrates where thrombocytopenia is present or long-acting antiplatelet drugs have been used.

Thromboembolic and Bleeding Events in Patients with Prosthetic Heart Valves
The safety and efficacy of PRADAXA in patients with bileaflet mechanical prosthetic heart valves (recently implanted or implanted more than 3 months prior to enrollment) was evaluated in the phase 2 RE-ALIGN trial. RE-ALIGN was terminated early because of significantly more thromboembolic events (valve thrombosis, stroke, transient ischemic attack, and myocardial infarction) and an excess of major bleeding (predominantly post-operative pericardial effusions requiring intervention for hemodynamic compromise) for PRADAXA vs warfarin. Therefore, the use of PRADAXA is contraindicated in patients with mechanical prosthetic valves.

Use of PRADAXA for the prophylaxis of thromboembolic events in patients with atrial fibrillation and other forms of valvular heart disease, including bioprosthetic heart valve, has not been studied and is not recommended.

Temporary Discontinuation of PRADAXA
Discontinuing PRADAXA for active bleeding, elective surgery, or invasive procedures places patients at an increased risk of stroke. Minimize lapses in therapy.

Effect of P-gp Inducers & Inhibitors on Dabigatran Exposure
The concomitant use of PRADAXA with P-gp inducers (e.g., rifampin) reduces exposure to dabigatran and should generally be avoided. P-gp inhibition and impaired renal function are major independent factors in increased exposure to dabigatran. Concomitant use of P-gp inhibitors in patients with renal impairment is expected to increase exposure of dabigatran compared to either factor alone.

  • For patients with moderate renal impairment (CrCl 30-50 mL/min), consider reducing the dose of PRADAXA to 75 mg twice daily when dronedarone or systemic ketoconazole is coadministered with PRADAXA.
  • For patients with severe renal impairment (CrCl 15-30 mL/min), avoid concomitant use of PRADAXA and P-gp inhibitors.

ADVERSE REACTIONS
In the pivotal trial comparing PRADAXA to warfarin, the most frequent adverse reactions leading to discontinuation of PRADAXA were bleeding and gastrointestinal (GI) events. PRADAXA 150 mg resulted in a higher rate of major GI bleeds and any GI bleeds compared to warfarin. In patients 75 years of age, the risk of major bleeding may be greater with PRADAXA than with warfarin. Patients on PRADAXA 150 mg had an increased incidence of GI adverse reactions. These were commonly dyspepsia (including abdominal pain upper, abdominal pain, abdominal discomfort, and epigastric discomfort) and gastritis-like symptoms (including GERD, esophagitis, erosive gastritis, gastric hemorrhage, hemorrhagic gastritis, hemorrhagic erosive gastritis, and GI ulcer). Drug hypersensitivity reactions were reported in <0.1% of patients receiving PRADAXA.

Other Measures Evaluated
In the pivotal trial, a higher rate of clinical myocardial infarction was reported in patients who received PRADAXA (0.7 per 100 patient-years for 150 mg dose) than in those who received warfarin (0.6).

For full PRADAXA prescribing information, please visit www.pradaxa.com or contact Boehringer Ingelheim's Medical and Technical Information Unit at 1-800-542-6257.

About the Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation Patient Assistance Programs
For more than 125 years, Boehringer Ingelheim has been focused on improving the lives of patients. In keeping with the company commitment to do the most good for the most people, Boehringer Ingelheim works hard to ensure its medicines are accessible to everyone who needs them, including senior citizens and families on limited incomes. The Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation Patient Assistance Programs (BI-PAP) make Boehringer Ingelheim medicines available free of charge to patients who are without pharmaceutical insurance coverage, and who meet certain household income levels.

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 145 affiliates and more than 44,000 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

As a central element of its culture, Boehringer Ingelheim pledges to act socially responsible. Involvement in social projects, caring for employees and their families, and providing equal opportunities for all employees form the foundation of the global operations. Mutual cooperation and respect, as well as environmental protection and sustainability are intrinsic factors in all of Boehringer Ingelheim's endeavors.

In 2011, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about $17.1 billion (13.2 billion euro). R&D expenditure in the business area Prescription Medicines corresponds to 23.5% of its net sales.

For more information, please visit http://us.boehringer-ingelheim.com and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/boehringerus.

PRADAXA® is a registered trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH and Co. KG and used under license.

RE-LY® is a registered service mark of Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH and used under license.

SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


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