The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued final guidance recommending Daiichi Sankyo’s bloodthinner Lixiana to prevent blood clots in adult patients with a certain heart rhythm disorder.

The move means that patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), who also have one or more further risk factors, should be able to routinely access the drug on the NHS in England and Wales to prevent stroke and systemic embolism within three months.

NVAF affects around 8,000 patients in the UK, leaving them at greater risk from developing blood clots because of inefficient pumping of the heart. 

Traditionally, patients were treated with warfarin to reduce this risk, but more recently other bloodthinners such as dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaba have arrived on the market increasing treatment options significantly.

Superior safety

Clinical trials show that Lixana (edoxaban) - a once-daily selective factor Xa-inhibitor belonging to the Non-VKA Oral Anti-Coagulants class - works as well warfarin but with a superior safety profile, significantly reducing the risk of major bleeds, and without the need for monitoring.

Daily treatment with the drug costs £2.10 per patient (excluding locally negotiated discounts), and the Institute concluded that its incremental cost effectiveness ratio was likely to fall in line with other oral anticoagulants.

NICE has also recently recommended Lixiana’s use for the treatment and prevention of recurrent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in adults, in line with the drug’s other approved use in Europe.