Department of Medicine Publications

Recombinant Activated Factor VII in the Treatment of Non-haemophilia Patients: Physician Under-reporting of Thromboembolic Adverse Events

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Transfusion Medicine





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The objective of this study was to determine if clinically important thromboembolic adverse events (TAEs) because of recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa) administration are being under-reported. rFVIIa is a potent haemostatic agent with a short half-life of 2.6 h that is increasingly used in 'off-label' situations. Retrospective review of 94 patients who received rFVIIa during 1 January 2003 to 30 June 2007 was carried out at a tertiary care centre. Sixty-nine patients, 32 females and 37 males, mean age 55 years (18-84 years), satisfied study criteria of off-label usage. This was a high-risk population with 33 (48%) deaths. A mean dose of 8.2 mg (2.4-19.2 mg) was administered in two average divided doses. Thirty-six potential TAEs were identified in 29 patients, and of these, 12 patients had TAEs deemed to be rFVIIa related and were identified on average 8.8 days after exposure to rFVIIa. Forty-eight (70%) physician questionnaires were completed; however, no TAEs were reported in these questionnaires or on chart review. Potential clinically significant TAEs are being under-reported by treating physicians. Until further evidence, we suggest the urgent need to develop consensus recommendations for utilization and required follow up to monitor the safety of rFVIIa and that at a minimum, all use of rFVIIa should be regulated through a gate-keeping mechanism that ensures adherence to these policies. Furthermore, prospective registries and trials are necessary to evaluate the efficacy and safety of rFVIIa in off-label settings.

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