Mitsubishi Pharma Europe has launched its bloodthinner Exembol in the UK for adult patients with Heparin-Induced Thrombocytopenia type II (HIT) who require parenteral antithrombotic therapy.

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is an antibody-mediated adverse drug reaction that causes patients receiving the blood thinner heparin to develop a low platelet count. 

The problem with this is that HIT actually predisposes these patients to developing blood clots, potentially leading to devastating thromboembolic complications, such as pulmonary embolism, acute myocardial infarction and stroke. 

Treatment of the condition is thereofre two fold, aiming to protect patients from blood clots while ensuring that the subsequent anticoagulant used will not further reduce the platelet count.

Mitsubishi's Exembol (argatroban) is now available to patients in the UK and has an added advantage of being suitable for patients with renal problems as it is predominantly metabolised by the liver.

Touting the drug's benefits, the firm stressed that its anticoagulant effects are "produced rapidly with a predictable dose response effect", that it has a short half- life, and that its anticoagulant effects are "rapidly reversible".

Timely launch

Its introduction in the UK is certainly timely given the recent withdrawal of Celgene's Refludan (lepirudin) because of supply issues (not safety concerns), and that Exembol's closest remaining competitor, Orgaran (danaparoid) is not suitable for patients with renal impairment.

The NHS list price of Exembol is £248.50 for a vial, which contains 250 mg in 2.5 mL, a company spokesperson told PharmaTimes UK News.