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Blood thinner prasugrel (Effient) cheaper to treat heart vessel blocks than clopidogrel (Plavix): Study

Thursday, January 7, 2010, 16:20 This news item was posted in Clinical Trials, Consumer category and has 0 Comments so far.

The leading blood-thinning drug prasugrel (Effient) has been found cost-effective for patients with heart disease compared to the popular clopidogrel (Plavix), according to a study.

Prasugrel (Effient) is an oral antiplatelet agent co-developed by Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited, and Eli Lilly.

Prasugrel (Effient), which was originally discovered by Daiichi Sankyo and its Japanese research partner, Ube Industries, Ltd, helps keep blood platelets from clumping together and developing a blockage in an artery.

Effient is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the reduction of thrombotic cardiovascular events (including stent thrombosis) in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) who are managed with an artery-opening procedure known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). PCI usually includes the placement of a stent to help keep the artery open.

Results from a health economic sub-study of the TRITON-TIMI 38 clinical trial showed that among patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) managed with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), including stenting, treatment with Effient (prasugrel) compared with branded clopidogrel (Plavix) was more cost effective, and in most cases cost saving. These results were published in Circulation on January 5, 2010.

TRITON-TIMI 38 was a Phase III, randomized, double-blind, head-to-head clinical trial comparing the effects of Effient versus clopidogrel in patients with ACS who were managed with PCI, a procedure to open blockages in heart arteries, including the use of coronary stenting. The study enrolled 13,608 patients at 707 trial sites in 30 countries.

In the pre-specified analysis of 6,705 patients, treatment with prasugrel (Effient) compared with clopidogrel reduced total hospitalization costs over approximately 15 months, not including the cost of study drugs, by $530 per patient. This cost offset estimate includes bleeding-related costs that a sensitivity analysis showed were not a major driver of the overall cost difference between the two treatments.

The analysis also found that, including cost of the active study drugs as well as costs associated with the initial and subsequent hospitalizations, treatment with Effient compared with clopidogrel decreased cumulative medical costs by $221 per patient over the 14.7-month study.

Study drug costs used in the analysis were the net wholesale price as of August 2009, which was $5.45 per day for prasugrel (Effient) and $4.62 per day for clopidogrel.

“Results of the cost-effectiveness analysis showed that treatment with Effient was highly cost effective and an economically dominant option compared with Plavix,” said David J. Cohen, M.D., M.Sc., director of cardiovascular research, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and professor of medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“Dominant” is a health economics term used when a new treatment yields greater clinical effectiveness at lower costs.

In TRITON-TIMI 38, prasugrel (Effient) plus aspirin (ASA) was shown to significantly reduce the rate of a combined endpoint of cardiovascular death, nonfatal heart attack, or nonfatal stroke compared to clopidogrel plus ASA.

Patients treated with prasugrel (Effient) also had significantly fewer stent thromboses (stent-related blood clots) compared to those treated with clopidogrel.

These benefits were accompanied by a significantly higher risk of bleeding, which in some cases were life-threatening or even fatal in patients treated with Effient compared with clopidogrel.

The analysis also compared Effient to generic clopidogrel at a hypothetical cost of $1 per day. When compared to clopidogrel at this lower cost, treatment with Effient in the subpopulation as a whole was economically dominant (e.g., cost saving) during the first 30 days of treatment. After day 31, although not cost-saving, it continued to be a cost-effective therapy relative to many other accepted medical interventions.

The patent exclusivity for clopidogrel (Plavix) will expire in 2011 or 2012.

The primary endpoint of the study was the combined incidence of cardiovascular death, non-fatal heart attack or non-fatal stroke during a median period of at least 12 months following PCI.

Patients were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups and given a loading dose of either Effient 60 mg or the FDA-approved loading dose of clopidogrel 300 mg, followed by a daily maintenance dose of either Effient 10 mg or clopidogrel 75 mg. All patients also received a daily dose of aspirin (75 mg to 325 mg).

The economic analysis was completed using data from 6,705 study patients enrolled in eight pre-specified countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom.

The primary economic measure was total in-trial costs including hospitalization and medication costs.

The approach to estimating costs was to multiply counts of resource use (hospitalizations, physician costs, procedures, medications) by price weights derived from comparable populations of US patients.

All costs other than study drug costs were assessed in 2005 US dollars.

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