Shionogi & Co. has launched Mulpleo (lusutrombopag) in the UK for the treatment of severe thrombocytopenia in adult patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) undergoing invasive procedures.

The decision marks the first licensed treatment available on the NHS in the UK to treat this condition and has also been approved for funding across the health services in England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The company says the approval and launch of the drug is based on evidence from the L-PLUS 1 and L-PLUS 2 trials, in which Mulpleo met the pre-specified primary endpoint and all key secondary endpoints with statistically significant results.

The decision is being hailed as “great news”, with Dr Andrew Holt, Consultant Physician going on to say: “The number of people with chronic liver disease has increased significantly in recent years and we expect this trend to continue.

Until now, there have been no specific therapies available to treat thrombocytopenia, a common blood-related complication of chronic liver disease which can complicate or delay crucial interventions for these patients. Physicians now have an effective tool to help enable these interventions to go ahead safely and when planned.”

Currently, the only option available to doctors and their patients to manage platelet counts is a transfusion of platelets. An estimated 3,300 patients with cirrhosis in the UK receive prophylactic platelet transfusions prior to a procedure every year.

Unfortunately, this is an invasive procedure itself, often requiring a hospital inpatient stay and careful scheduling of the subsequent planned procedure within the narrow therapeutic window provided by a platelet transfusion.

Chronic liver disease is a huge burden in the UK; over 600,000 people have a form of serious liver disease and 60,000 have cirrhosis.