Blood cellNICE has recommended Lixiana (edoxaban) to help patients suffering from blood clots in the legs and lungs, saying it is a “cost-effective use of NHS resources”.

The draft guidance states: “Edoxaban is recommended, within its marketing authorisation, as an option for treating and for preventing recurrent deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in adults.”

Edoxaban, is part of the Non-VKA Oral Anti-Coagulants (NOACs) drugs class. The drugs are used as an alternative to warfarin, which has been widely used for patients aged over 50 years but requires frequent monitoring to ensure the drug is working properly and is also associated with many food or drug interactions.

After a 5 day lead-in with heparin treatment, edoxaban can be taken once a day and was shown to have comparable efficacy to warfarin but with a more favourable safety profile.

The term venous thromboembolism (VTE) is used to cover both deep vein thrombosis and the potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.

Figures from NICE say there are around 83,500 new cases of VTE each year in England - 1 in every 500 people. In addition to new annual cases, approximately 42,000 other people require long-term treatment.

The NICE approval comes shortly after edoxaban received European marketing authorisation for two indications:

  • Treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), and prevention of recurrent DVT and PE in adults
  • Prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in adult patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) with one or more risk factors, such as congestive heart failure, hypertension, age ≥ 75 years, diabetes mellitus, prior stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

Dr Alexander Cohen, Consultant Vascular Physician from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, Kings College London, who has researched edoxaban for venous thromboembolism, welcomed the additional resource to tackle the condition.

“No two patients are identical and what suits one may not suit another,” he said. “Venous thromboembolism has a high rate of recurrence, which can be fatal. We need more tools to protect patients from a second incident and edoxaban will be of great use to doctors to help tailor treatments to specific patients.”

The key clinical evidence for edoxaban in VTE came from a global phase 3 study, called Hokusai VTE, which investigated the efficacy and safety of edoxaban compared with warfarin in 8,292 patients with either acute symptomatic deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or both. This represents the largest single study carried out to date with a NOAC in this indication.