Background: The extended use of vitamin K antagonists for prophylaxis against venous thromboembolism is often constrained by risk-benefit limitations and inconvenience. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of a 6-month extension of prophylaxis against recurrent venous thromboembolism with idraparinux in patients who had initially received 6 months of prophylaxis with an anticoagulant.
Methods: We randomly assigned patients who had completed 6 months of prophylaxis with idraparinux or a vitamin K antagonist and in whom extended anticoagulation was warranted to receive once-weekly injections of 2.5 mg of idraparinux or placebo for 6 months without monitoring. The primary efficacy and safety outcomes were recurrent venous thromboembolism and major bleeding.
Results: Of 1215 patients, 6 of 594 (1.0%) in the idraparinux group and 23 of 621 (3.7%) in the placebo group had recurrent venous thromboembolism (P=0.002). Major bleeding occurred in 11 patients (1.9%) in the idraparinux group and in none in the placebo group (P<0.001). Of these 11 episodes, 3 were fatal intracranial hemorrhages. As compared with patients whose initial treatment was a vitamin K antagonist, patients whose initial treatment was idraparinux who were assigned to 6 months in the placebo group had a lower incidence of recurrent thromboembolism (0.7% vs. 5.9%); patients who received 6 additional months of idraparinux therapy had a higher incidence of major bleeding (3.1% vs. 0.9%).
Conclusions: During a 6-month extension of thromboprophylaxis, idraparinux was effective in preventing recurrent thromboembolism but was associated with an increased risk of a major hemorrhage. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00071279 [ClinicalTrials.gov].).
Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.