This white paper provides a summary of presentations and discussions that were held at an Anticoagulant-Induced Bleeding and Reversal Agents Think Tank co-sponsored by the Cardiac Safety Research Consortium and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the FDA's White Oak Headquarters on April 22, 2014. Attention focused on a development pathway for reversal agents for the novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs). This is important because anticoagulation is still widely underused for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. Undertreatment persists, although NOACs, in general, overcome some of the difficulties associated with anticoagulation provided by vitamin K antagonists. One reason for the lack of a wider uptake is the absence of NOAC reversal agents. As there are neither widely accepted academic and industry standards nor a definitive regulatory policy on the development of such reversal agents, this meeting provided a forum for leaders in the fields of cardiovascular clinical trials and cardiovascular safety to discuss the issues and develop recommendations. Attendees included representatives from pharmaceutical companies; regulatory agencies; end point adjudication specialist groups; contract research organizations; and active, academically based physicians. There was wide and solid consensus that NOACs overall offer improvements in convenience, efficacy, and safety compared with warfarin, even without reversal agents. Still, it was broadly accepted that it would be helpful to have reversal agents available for clinicians to use. Because it is not feasible to do definitive outcomes studies demonstrating a reversal agent's clinical benefits, it was felt that these agents could be approved for use in life-threatening bleeding situations if the molecules were well characterized preclinically, their pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profiles were well understood, and showed no harmful adverse events in early human testing. There was also consensus that after such approval, efforts should be made to augment the available clinical information until such time as there is a body of evidence to demonstrate real-world clinical outcomes with the reversal agents. No recommendations were made for more generalized use of these agents in the setting of non-life-threatening situations. This article reflects the views of the authors and should not be construed to represent FDA's views or policies.
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