ESC: Pfizer, BMS' Eliquis tops Xarelto, vitamin K drugs for site-specific bleeding risks in French real-world study

Eliquis not only leads in prescriptions in the U.S. warfarin alternative market but has also overtaken warfarin itself. (Bristol Myers Squibb)

Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibb's anticoagulant superstar Eliquis has raced out to blockbuster sales in recent years and a big-time lead over its its warfarin alternative competitors. Looking to pad that lead, the partners are building a body of real-world evidence for their drug, and in one French study the results are mostly promising.

Eliquis topped a common family of blood thinners and Johnson & Johnson and Bayer's Xarelto in reducing the risk of major bleeds at two targeted bodily sites and elsewhere, according to a subanalysis of French real-world data presented at the European Society of Cardiology virtual annual meeting. 

Eliquis beat out vitamin K antagonists, a group of anticoagulants commonly used in French practice, and Xarelto for both intracranial and gastrointestinal bleeds, as well as general bleeding, the drugmakers said.

The 321,000-patient Naxos study also pitted Eliquis against Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa, but the results were more mixed: Eliquis beat out Pradaxa in reducing the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, but only matched Boehringer's drug in general bleeding and was outperformed in intracranial bleeds. 

While the massive Naxos study only included French patients, Pfizer and Bristol see the data as part of a growing body of real-world evidence that allows physicians to "fill in the gaps" in clinical trial evidence, said Danny Wiederkehr, Pfizer's senior director of global health economics and outcomes research team lead. 

"We thought it was important to give a little more context to French physicians and all physicians to have a little bit better understanding of the risks when they’re contextualizing all of this data," Wiederkehr said. 

RELATED: ESC: New Pfizer, BMS real-world data could boost Eliquis in Europe