The newest generation of anti-coagulants may free patients from the dietary restrictions and regular blood test required by Warfarin, but they present great risks for bleeding events. Unlike Warfarin, these drugs do not have an antidote to stop these life-threatening events. Until, possibly, now. Portola, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer have teamed up to create an Eliquis antidote.
The new drug, andexanet alfa, quickly reverses the anti-coagulant effect of Eliquis. It should be noted though, that it doesn’t work to counteract Xarelto or Pradaxa bleeding (two of the other new generation anti-coagulants). The Big Pharma team has studied andexanet alfa in 30+ healthy volunteers in the 50 to 75 age bracket.
So far, the results have been positive. The team said the antidote not only worked, but also was well tolerated by the volunteers. They further report that there were “no serious adverse events, thrombotic events, or antibodies to Factor X or Xa.” Neither were there any adverse reactions that required volunteers to stop the study.
The overall conclusion is that andexanet alfa works well for counteracting Eliquis, both in short-term and sustained situations. Once the andexanet alfa is discontinued, Eliquis’ anti-coagulation effects begin again with no difficulties.
Eliquis (apixaban) is used to reduce the risk of stroke in those with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, as well as deep vein thrombosis after knee or hip surgery.
This is very good news for patients taking Eliquis. Unlike Warfarin, whose effects can be counteracted with vitamin K, there hasn’t been any other course of action in bleeding events but to wait for Eliquis to metabolize out of the patient’s system. Therefore, spontaneous bleeding events were life threatening in some cases.
Another benefit to having this antidote is that patients need no longer delay unplanned surgery until Eliquis is metabolized out. Up until now, such delays were necessary to prevent dangerous excessive blood loss during surgery.