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KEYCODE BAYER #228

February 8, 2006

US reviewing safety of Bayer heart-surgery drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday urged doctors to limit the use of Bayer AG's Trasylol heart-surgery drug while the agency reviews research showing the medication heightened risks of heart attack, stroke and kidney problems. The drug is used to prevent blood loss in patients who undergo artery bypass graft surgery, said the FDA, which issued the advisory to doctors and patients.

"We're working to evaluate the potential risks and determine whether there is a need for further action," Dr. Steven Galson, Director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. "In the meantime, we advise providers to carefully assess the benefits and risks of the drug for their patients." The FDA urged physicians to consider limiting the use of Trasylol to only those situations where the benefit of reducing blood loss during surgery outweighed the risks.

The FDA said it plans to hold an advisory committee meeting later this year to discuss existing data on the benefits and risks of the drug as well as to determine if more safety measures are needed.
Researchers reported last month in the New England Journal of Medicine that Trasylol doubled the risk of kidney failure and stroke and increased the chance of heart failure or heart attack by 55 percent.

German-based Bayer last month said the results were "not consistent with the more than 15 years of clinical data and experience Bayer has amassed on this drug." A company spokesman in Germany said Bayer will cooperate with the FDA and other regulators. "We're analyzing the data we have on the drug," he said.

Bayer also said that it will send out an information letter in the next few days to heart surgeons, anesthetists and hospital pharmacists about Trasylol. Shares of Bayer were down 31 cents to $40.01 in mid-afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Feb 14 2006

Parker & Waichman, LLP Evaluating Trasylol Claims after Study Links Medication to Kidney Failure

Parker & Waichman, LLP (www.yourlawyer.com) announces that in addition to numerous inquiries from potential clients it has been retained in a case involving the use of Trasylol and is actively evaluating claims concerning Trasylol, a drug commonly used during heart surgery to reduce blood loss. Trasylol, known generically as Aprotinin, is manufactured by Bayer AG (NYSE:BAY) and is estimated to have generated $600 million in sales in 2005.

A study reported last week in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that Trasylol is linked to serious side effects. The study of 4,374 patients demonstrated that Trasylol at least doubles the risk of kidney failure and stroke, or encephalopathy, and raises the risk of heart failure or heart attack by 55 percent. Parker & Waichman, LLP represents victims of Trasylol and is actively evaluating claims on their behalf. For more information about Trasylol and the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine please visit http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/trasylol or http://www.trasylol-lawsuit.com.

Trasylol was initially approved by the FDA in 1993 and is indicated to reduce perioperative blood loss and the need for blood transfusion in patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) in the course of coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). While Trasylol is only approved for specific heart surgeries, it is commonly used for other surgeries including orthopedic procedures. Prior to the publication of the study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, Bayer AG filed a request with the FDA seeking Trasylol approval for hip and spinal surgeries.

Trasylol, which is derived from the lungs of bovine, is significantly more dangerous than similar drugs used to reduce blood loss. The two generic drugs examined in the New England Journal of Medicine study, aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid, were found to be significantly safer and just as effective as Trasylol. Furthermore, these generics are significantly less expensive than Trasylol; Trasylol costs more than $1,000 per patient versus $10 to $50 per patient for the generic drugs. The researchers estimated that using one of these generic drugs instead of Trasylol could prevent as many as 11,050 dialysis complications worldwide, and reduce drug costs by $250 million per year.

"This has all the signs of a drug that should not be on the market. It's more dangerous than the alternatives, which are just as effective. It's also more costly to patients and the healthcare system as a whole. There is no reason for this drug to be on the market today" said Jason Mark, an attorney with Parker & Waichman, LLP

Most surgical patients are unaware of the medications they are given during the course of a surgical procedure. Trasylol is used during surgery, and it is therefore unlikely that patients would be aware that this drug was administered. For this reason, Parker & Waichman, LLP is encouraging all patients who suffered kidney failure, heart attack, heart failure or stroke after any surgical procedure to request a free case evaluation at http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/trasylol

Parker & Waichman, LLP is a leading products liability and personal injury law firm that represents plaintiffs nationwide, with offices in New York and New Jersey. Parker & Waichman, LLP has assisted thousands of clients in receiving fair compensation for injuries resulting from defective medications and medical devices. For more information on Parker & Waichman, LLP please visit: (http://www.yourlawyer.com) or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).


Lopez, Hodes, Restiano, Milman & Skikos Assessing Trasylol Claims After Study Finds Heart Drug Causes Heart Attack, Stroke, Kidney Failure, and Brain Disease.

(PRWEB) February 8, 2006 -- After the release of a study linking heart drug Trasylol (aprotinin) with serious and potentially fatal side effects, the law offices of Lopez, Hodes, Restaino, Milman & Skikos have received numerous inquires from consumers who may have been injured by this drug. The law firm is actively assessing potential client’s claims concerning this dangerous medication.

Trasylol (aprotinin) is manufactured by Bayer AG and has been administered to over one million patients in more than 60 countries worldwide. Trasylol was approved by the FDA in December 1993, to reduce blood loss and the need for transfusion for patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Last year, the company announced plans to apply for FDA approval of Trasylol’s use during hip replacement surgery. In 2005 alone, this popular medication is estimated to have generated over $500 million in sales. Bayer shares fell 2.8 percent after the initial release of the Trasylol safety study.

A study appearing in a January 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that Trasylol can double a heart surgery patient’s risk of kidney failure, heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and encephalopathy (degenerative brain disease). Researchers with the Ischemic Researcher and Education Institute in California also found that Trasylol’s two generic alternatives—aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid—did not pose these same risks of serious drug side effects. These generic medications are also much less expensive.

Experts believe that at least 10,000 patients are currently on dialysis to treat serious kidney failure caused by Trasylol. It is also estimated that if patients are treated with a generic alternative to Trasylol, over 11,000 kidney dialysis complications could be prevented and millions of dollars could be saved in healthcare and drug costs worldwide. The lead author of the study believes the risks associated with Trasylol clearly outweigh the drug’s intended benefits.

The Law Offices of Lopez, Hodes, et al are currently evaluating claims on behalf of those who have suffered serious personal injury due to Trasylol. Because this drug is administered during surgery, patients do not always know if they were given Trasylol during a surgical procedure. For this reason, Lopez, Hodes, et al encourages those who have suffered heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or brain disease following surgery to contact their law offices for a full evaluation of their case.

For more information about the Lopez, Hodes, Restaino, Milman & Skikos law firm and Trasylol / Aprotinin litigation information please visit http://www.onlinelawyersource.com/aprotinin-trasylol/index.html


FDA, Feb 8, 2006

FDA Issues Public Health Advisory for Trasylol

Published below are 1) FDA Issues Public Health Advisory for Trasylol; 2) Patient Information Sheet; 3) FDA Public Health Advisory: Aprotinin Injection; 4) Questions and Answers on Aprotinin; and 5)Information for Healthcare Professionals.

The Food and Drug Administration today issued a Public Health Advisory alerting doctors who perform heart bypass surgery, and their patients, that Trasyolol (aprotinin injection), a drug used to prevent blood loss during surgery, has been linked in two scientific publications to higher risks of serious side effects including kidney problems, heart attacks and strokes in patients who undergo artery bypass graft surgery.

"FDA is conducting a thorough evaluation of the safety profile for this drug in light of the recent publications," said Dr. Steven Galson, Director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "We're working to evaluate the potential risks and determine whether there is a need for further action. In the meantime, we advise providers to carefully assess the benefits and risks of the drug for their patients."

FDA advises health care providers to be aware of the following:

Trasylol (aprotinin injection) is the only product approved by FDA for the prevention of peri-operative blood loss and the need for blood transfusion among patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery. The drug aids the body's ability to stop bleeding and is used to lessen the bleeding risk during this surgical procedure. This surgery is done to bypass clogged arteries.

FDA is evaluating the studies more closely, along with other scientific literature and reports submitted to the FDA through the MedWatch program, to determine if labeling changes or other actions are warranted. One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that patients who received Trasylol had higher rates of serious kidney problems, heart attacks, and stroke compared to treatment with other drugs to prevent bleeding or to no treatment; the second study, reported in Transfusion, reported more cases of decreased kidney function in patients treated with Trasylol compared to another treatment to prevent bleeding. A limitation of both studies was that doctors chose which patients were to receive Trasylol or another treatment. It is possible that patients treated with Trasylol may have been sicker than other patients. The studies used complex statistical methods to adjust for possible differences in patient risk factors.

The agency also anticipates convening an advisory committee meeting in 2006 to discuss the existing data about the risks and benefits of Trasylol, and if additional safety measures need to be taken. The FDA will notify health care providers and patients in a timely manner following further scientific investigation of adverse event reports.

FDA also urges health care providers and patients to report adverse event information to FDA via the MedWatch program by phone (1800-FDA-1088), by fax (1-800-FDA-1078) or internet.

FDA Public Health Advisory: Aprotinin Injection (marketed as Trasylol)

On January 26, 2006, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an article by Mangano et al. reporting an association of Trasylol (aprotinin injection) with serious renal toxicity and ischemic events (myocardial infarction and stroke) in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG). Another publication (Transfusion, on-line edition, January 20, 2006, Karkouti, et al.) suggests an association between aprotinin administration and renal toxicity among patients undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. FDA is evaluating these studies, along with other studies in the literature and reports submitted to the FDA through the MedWatch program, to determine if labeling changes or other actions are warranted.

While FDA is continuing its evaluation, we are providing the following recommendations to healthcare providers and patients:

The study reported in the NEJM was an observational study of patients undergoing CABG who received either Trasylol, one of two other drugs intended to decrease peri-operative bleeding (aminocaproic acid or tranexamic acid), or no specific drug treatment.

A limitation of the study was that patients were not assigned at random to receive the treatments, but rather had their treatment chosen by their physician as part of their standard medical care. Consequently, patients receiving Trasylol may have been at higher risk to begin with for these serious adverse events compared to patients receiving no treatment or treatment with another drug intended to decrease bleeding. This possibility prevents a direct assessment of whether Trasylol altered the risk for serious adverse events. The study investigators used statistical procedures (multivariable logistic regression and propensity-score adjustment) to try to adjust for known differences between the treatment groups. Using these procedures, their study concluded that Trasylol was associated with more adverse outcomes. Other findings in the study suggested that patients receiving higher Trasylol dosages were at greater risk than those receiving lower dosages.

The study reported in the on-line edition of Transfusion was also an observational study that used statistical methodology to compare outcomes from patients undergoing CABG. The patients in this study received, at physician direction, either Trasylol or another drug intended to decrease the risk for perioperative bleeding. This study suggested that Trasylol administration increased the risk for renal dysfunction. This study has some of the same limitations as the NEJM publication.

In pre-marketing clinical studies conducted among approximately 3,000 patients undergoing CABG, the risks and benefits of Trasylol were determined in clinical studies that randomized patients to either a placebo or Trasylol. In these studies, the risks for serious renal toxicity and cardiovascular events were determined to be similar between patients receiving Trasylol and those receiving placebo. However, in one study assessing coronary graft patency, Trasylol administration was associated with an increased risk of graft closure. The FDA will work with the authors of the publications and the manufacturer of Trasylol to carefully evaluate the risks and benefits associated with use of Trasylol in CABG. The FDA anticipates the public presentation of the recently reported information and other data at an advisory committee in the near future. The FDA will notify health care providers and patients in a timely fashion as new information becomes available.

The FDA urges health care providers and patients to report adverse event information to FDA via the MedWatch program by phone (1-800-FDA-1088), by fax (1-800-FDA-0178), or by the Internet at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/index.html.

Questions and Answers on Aprotinin (marketed as Trasylol)

1. What is Trasylol and what is it used to treat?

Trasylol, or aprotinin, a product derived from bovine lung tissue, inhibits certain enzymes that increase the risk for bleeding. Trasylol administration aids the body's ability to prevent bleeding.

Patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) using cardiopulmonary bypass may be at risk for bleeding complications due to prior use of anticoagulants or clinical conditions that predispose to bleeding. Trasylol is used to decrease this bleeding risk.

2. What is the concern regarding Trasylol?

A January 26, 2006 report in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests that Trasylol administration may increase the risk for serious side-effects among some patients undergoing CABG. This report describes the occurrence of serious kidney damage, heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke among CABG patients receiving Trasylol. More patients receiving Trasylol experienced these events than patients receiving either no medications intended to decrease blood loss or other medications intended to decrease blood loss.

Another recently published study has suggested that patients receiving Trasylol may be at higher risk for kidney damage. This report (published January 20, 2006 in the on-line edition of Transfusion) used methods similar to those used in The New England Journal of Medicine study but included a smaller number of patients.

3. Did the patients who developed these serious side-effects have other possible reasons to develop these reactions?

It is not known if the patients receiving Trasylol in The New England Journal of Medicine report were sicker and thus at higher risk prior to receiving Trasylol than the patients in the other study groups. The study report authors used statistical procedures to try to adjust for this consideration. In the Transfusion report, the patients seemed to be similar in both study groups.

4. Have other studies indicated problems with Trasylol?

In addition to the previously described studies, one additional study suggested that Trasylol administration may increase the risk for clot formation within coronary artery bypass grafts. In this study, patients receiving Trasylol were compared to those receiving a placebo. The study reported an increased rate of bypass graft closure for patients receiving Trasylol.

5. What are the strengths and limitations of The New England Journal of Medicine Report when compared to other reports?

The major strength of The New England Journal of Medicine study is the collection of information from a large number of patients who were managed according to common medical practice.

The major limitation of The New England Journal of Medicine study is that patients were not randomly assigned to any of the treatments (or to no treatment) for preventing bleeding. The treating physicians determined, based on their experience and judgment, whether to administer Trasylol, another drug to prevent bleeding, or no treatment. It is possible that the treating physicians may have chosen to administer Trasylol only to the sicker patients while the less sick patients received other products or no therapy to prevent bleeding. Consequently, the study outcomes may not truly indicate Trasylol side-effects. Instead, the study outcomes may indicate the seriousness of the underlying condition of the patients chosen to receive Trasylol. It is important to note that the study investigators used statistical analyses to try to correct for this limitation.

In clinical studies where the choice to use Trasylol or not was decided by chance alone, Trasylol administration was not associated with the detection of any increase in the risks for the serious side-effects described in The New England Journal of Medicine report. These types of studies were performed in order to rigorously detect the Trasylol effects. However, these studies also have limitations; for example, the patients enrolled in the study may not truly reflect all types of patients undergoing CABG and the other cardiovascular therapies used in the studies may differ from those routinely used in medical practice. These considerations are especially important when clinical advances may rapidly change the practice of medicine.

6. Was Trasylol responsible for the serious side-effects detected in The New England Journal of Medicine report?

The report suggests that Trasylol administration was associated with the serious side-effects. However, the limitations of the reported study require that the study findings be examined more closely.

7. Based on this report, why isn't FDA immediately removing this product from the market?

The findings from The New England Journal of Medicine report differ from the data submitted to the FDA in support of a marketing application. These other reports indicate that Trasylol has benefits that outweigh the risks associated with the product. The FDA is re-examining all these study findings in light of The New England Journal of Medicine report and other information.

8. Are other drugs available to decrease the risk for bleeding during CABG?

No other products are approved by FDA for use to reduce perioperative blood loss and the need for blood transfusion in patients undergoing CABG with cardiopulmonary bypass. However, other products have been used by physicians in order to try to prevent bleeding during CABG. As described in The New England Journal of Medicine report, these other products include aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid.

9. What actions will FDA take regarding these reports?

FDA is continuing to evaluate these reports, assessing other reports and working with the Trasylol manufacturer in order to determine if product labeling changes or other actions are necessary.

10. What information was known about serious side-effects prior to Trasylol approval?

In pre-marketing clinical studies, Trasylol was administered to approximately 2,000 patients undergoing CABG with cardiopulmonary bypass. In these studies, approximately 1,000 patients received a placebo instead of Trasylol. These studies found that Trasylol decreased the need for blood cell transfusion. The studies did not detect an increased risk for serious kidney or heart side-effects. Certain pre-marketing clinical studies showed that some patients may experience allergic-type reactions to Trasylol, especially patients who receive more than one Trasylol administration. These reactions, including hypersensitivity reactions and anaphylaxis, were rare among patients who received a single Trasylol administration (package insert provides more information about Trasylol.

Information for Healthcare Professionals: Aprotinin (marketed as Trasylol)

FDA ALERT 2/2006: FDA is issuing this alert to provide notice of two recently published studies reporting serious renal and cardiovascular toxicity following Trasylol administration to patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG). An observational study published on January 26, 2006 in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), reported that Trasylol may be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction or heart failure), cerebrovascular events such as stroke, encephalopathy or coma and renal dysfunction or failure. Another publication (Transfusion, on-line edition, January 20, 2006) has reported that Trasylol administration may increase the risk for renal toxicity (dysfunction or failure). Neither study was randomized, and both compared Trasylol to products that are not FDA approved for use in the management of cardiac surgery patients.

FDA is evaluating these observational studies in the context of the pre-marketing clinical studies supporting the safety and efficacy of Trasylol and the post-marketing reports submitted to the MedWatch program.

This information reflects FDA's preliminary analysis of data concerning this drug. FDA is considering, but has not reached a final conclusion about, this information. FDA intends to update this sheet when additional information or analyses become available.

To report any unexpected adverse or serious events associated with the use of this drug, please contact the FDA MedWatch program and complete a form on line at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/report/hcp.htm or report by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178, by mail using the postage-paid address form provided on line, or by telephone to 1-800-FDA-1088.

Physicians should consider the following:

Data Summary:

Trasylol is indicated "for prophylactic use to reduce peri-operative blood loss and the need for blood transfusion in patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass in the course of coronary artery bypass graft surgery."

New Study Results from the NEJM

A January 26, 2006 NEJM publication described the findings from an observational study of 4,374 patients (1,295 treated with Trasylol) scheduled for CABG at multiple centers in multiple countries. Baseline and outcome data were prospectively collected from patients who were prescribed either no preventive drug therapy for blood loss or one of three drugs intended to prevent blood loss (Trasylol, aminocaproic acid or tranexamic acid). Patients were not randomized to these treatments. Instead, the choice of study drug (or no treatment) was at physician discretion. Aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid are anti-fibrinolytic drugs approved by the FDA for indications other than prevention of blood loss in the CABG setting. The following information provides the major findings from the NEJM publication.

o a renal event (dialysis or increase in creatinine), p = 0.006
o either myocardial infarction or heart failure, p = 0.01
o stroke, encephalopathy, or coma, p = 0.02

New Study Results from Transfusion

A January 20, 2006 Transfusion (on-line edition) publication described the findings from an observational study of 898 patients (449 treated with Trasylol) undergoing CABG with cardiopulmonary bypass at a single center. Baseline and outcome data were obtained from a prospectively developed database for these patients. Patients received either Trasylol or tranexamic acid. Patients were not randomized to these treatments. Instead, the choice of study drug was at physician discretion. The 898 patients studied were a subset of a larger group of 10,870 patients selected on the basis of propensity scores to adjust for imbalances in measured baseline characteristics. Major findings from the Transfusion publication were:

Premarketing Studies

The premarketing clinical studies supporting Trasylol safety and efficacy enrolled a total of approximately 3,000 patients (2,002 treated with Trasylol). The studies, including six placebo-controlled trails, consistently showed that Trasylol decreased peri-operative blood loss and the need for blood transfusion. The risks for serious renal and cardiovascular adverse events and deaths were similar between patients receiving Trasylol and those receiving placebo. One study of approximately 800 subjects showed that patients receiving Trasylol had higher rates of coronary graft occlusion than patients receiving a placebo; however, this altered coronary patency was not associated with differences in myocardial infarction and mortality risk between the two study groups. The major pre-market safety signal was a risk for anaphylaxis, especially among subjects re-exposed to Trasylol. The Trasylol label carries a black box warning relating to anaphylaxis.

Implications:

The FDA will work with the authors of the reports and the manufacturer of Trasylol to evaluate the risks and benefits associated with use of Trasylol among patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass for CABG surgery. The FDA will notify health care providers and patients in a timely fashion as new information becomes available. Physicians should carefully monitor patients for the occurrence of toxicity and promptly report toxicity to Bayer, the Trasylol manufacturer, or to the FDA MedWatch program.