FDA approves new antiplatelet drug used during heart procedure

FDA approves new antiplatelet drug used during heart procedure

June 22, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Kengreal (cangrelor), an intravenous antiplatelet drug that prevents formation of harmful blood clots in the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. It is approved for adult patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), a procedure used to open a blocked or narrowed coronary artery to improve blood flow to the heart muscle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PCI is performed on approximately 500,000 people in the United States each year. The coronary arteries are opened by inflating a balloon at the site of the narrowing, usually followed by placement of a small mesh tube, called a stent, to keep the artery open.

By preventing platelets from accumulating, Kengreal reduces the risk of serious clotting complications related to the procedure, including heart attack and clotting of the stent (stent thrombosis). 

"For patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention, blood clotting can cause serious problems," said Norman Stockbridge, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "The approval of Kengreal provides another treatment option for patients."

As with other FDA-approved anti-platelet drugs, bleeding, including life-threatening bleeding, is the most serious risk of Kengreal.

In a clinical trial that compared Kengreal to Plavix (clopidogrel) in more than 10,000 participants, Kengreal significantly reduced the occurrence of heart attack, the need for further procedures to open the artery and stent thrombosis. The overall occurrence of serious bleeding was low but more common with Kengreal than with clopidogrel. Approximately one in every 170 Kengreal patients had a serious bleed versus approximately one in every 275 clopidogrel patients.

Kengreal is manufactured by The Medicines Company based in Parsippany, New Jersey.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation and for regulating tobacco products.

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