Rivaroxaban gains indication for prevention of major cardiovascular events in CAD/PAD


The direct oral anticoagulant rivaroxaban is now approved for prevention of major cardiovascular events in patients with chronic coronary or peripheral artery disease when taken with aspirin, Janssen Pharmaceuticals announced on October 11.

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The Food and Drug Administration’s approval was based on a review of the 27,000-patient COMPASS trial, which showed last year that a low dosage of rivaroxaban (Xarelto) plus aspirin reduced the combined rate of cardiovascular disease events by 24% in patients with coronary artery disease and by 28% in participants with peripheral artery disease, compared with aspirin alone. (N Engl J Med. 2017 Oct 5;377[14]:1319-30)

The flip side to the reduction in COMPASS’s combined primary endpoint was a 51% increase in major bleeding. However, that bump did not translate to increases in fatal bleeds, intracerebral bleeds, or bleeding in other critical organs.

COMPASS (Cardiovascular Outcomes for People Using Anticoagulation Strategies) studied two dosages of rivaroxaban, 2.5 mg and 5 mg twice daily, and it was the lower dosage that did the trick. Until this approval, that formulation wasn’t available; Janssen announced the coming of the 2.5-mg pill in its release.

The new prescribing information states specifically that Xarelto 2.5 mg is indicated, in combination with aspirin, to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, cardiovascular death, MI, and stroke in patients with chronic coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease.

This is the sixth indication for rivaroxaban, a factor Xa inhibitor that was first approved in 2011. It is also the first indication for cardiovascular prevention for any factor Xa inhibitor. Others on the U.S. market are apixaban (Eliquis), edoxaban (Savaysa), and betrixaban (Bevyxxa).

COMPASS was presented at the 2017 annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology. At that time, Eugene Braunwald, MD, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, commented that the trial produced “unambiguous results that should change guidelines and the management of stable coronary artery disease.” He added that the results are “an important step for thrombocardiology.”

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