Background: For patients with anemia undergoing hemodialysis, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) are typically dosed via precise algorithms. Using one such algorithm, we assessed the maintenance of hemoglobin levels in patients switched from epoetin alfa reference product (Epogen®) to epoetin alfa-epbx (RetacritTM; a biosimilar to US-licensed Epogen®/Procrit®).
Methods: This randomized, open-label, non-inferiority study was conducted at Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) hemodialysis centers. Patients with anemia and chronic kidney disease undergoing maintenance hemodialysis and receiving routine intravenous (IV) Epogen® were randomized 1: 1 to switch to IV RetacritTM or continue standard-of-care (Epogen®) for 24 weeks, using analogous versions of the FMCNA ESA-dosing algorithm. The primary endpoint was the proportion of time patients' hemoglobin was 9-11 g/dL during weeks 17-24.
Results: Of 432 randomized patients, 418 received treatment (RetacritTM, n = 212; standard-of-care, n = 206) and comprised the full analysis set. A similar proportion of patients discontinued from each arm. The proportion of time patients' hemoglobin was within the target range was 61.9% (95% CI 57.5-66.2) in the RetacritTM arm and 63.3% (95% CI 58.7-67.7) in the standard-of-care arm. The difference in proportions between treatment arms was -1.4% (95% CI -7.6 to 4.9), and the lower bound of the confidence interval was within the pre-specified non-inferiority margin of -12.5%. There was no statistically significant difference between arms in the mean change from baseline in the weekly mean ESA dose during weeks 17-24, and no clinically relevant differences in safety outcomes.
Conclusions: Switching to RetacritTM was non-inferior to continuing -Epogen® in maintaining hemoglobin levels in patients receiving hemodialysis, when both ESAs were dosed using a specified algorithm (ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02504294).
Keywords: Anemia; Biosimilar; Chronic kidney disease; Dialysis; Epoetin alfa; Epoetin alfa-epbx; Erythropoietin; Switching.
© 2018 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.