The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued a final recommendation for Sankyo’s bloodthinner Lixiana (edoxaban) for the treatment and prevention of recurrent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in adults.

Clinical trials show that the drug - a once-daily selective factor Xa-inhibitor belonging to the Non-VKA Oral Anti-Coagulants class - works as well veteran anticoagulant warfarin but with a superior safety profile, significantly reducing the risk of major bleeds.

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

VTE is associated with considerable clinical burden and is often fatal. As Sankyo notes, the number of casualties in Europe annually due to VTE is double that of deaths from breast cancer, prostate cancer, AIDS and traffic accidents combined.

High rate of recurrence

There is a high rate of recurrence after a first VTE event, which is reduced with anticoagulant treatment. Without subsequent bloodthinners, around half of patients who experience an initial VTE will experience recurrence within three months.

“We need more tools to protect patients from a second incident and edoxaban will be of great use to doctors to help tailor treatments to specific patients,” said Alexander Cohen, Consultant Vascular Physician from Guys and St Thomas Hospitals, Kings College London, who has researched the drug for VTE.

NICE has also recommended Lixiana in draft guidelines for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in adult patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.