Patient education 'useless' when it comes to Eliquis adherence: study

LONDON--Good news for partners Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer: In a Phase IV study of their new-age anticoagulant, Eliquis, atrial fibrillation patients posted adherence rates near 90%. And the icing on the cake? The company didn't need to shell out on patient education to get them there.

According to 6-month results from the AEGEAN trial, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, two groups of Eliquis patients--one made up of those who had participated in an adherence education program, and one composed of those who had received normal adherence advice from healthcare professionals--each topped 88% adherence.

And what's more, there was no difference between results for the two groups; the patient education group--whose participants received information booklets, reminder tools and access to a virtual clinic--put up an 88.3% adherence rate after 24 weeks of Eliquis treatment, while the control group's rate came in at 88.5%.

"We used the best possible tools for the educational program … and all of this was useless," lead investigator Gilles Montalescot said in a statement. The high adherence rates left "little room for improvement with an educational program," anyway, he added.

The findings are welcome for Bristol-Myers ($BMY) and Pfizer ($PFE), whose third-to-market med still trails competitors Xarelto from Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Bayer and Pradaxa from Boehringer Ingelheim--despite a recent sales surge.

And they may bode well for the rest of Eliquis' class of novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs), too. Because the new drugs don't require the frequent monitoring of old-guard treatment warfarin, researchers "feared to have less than 80%" adherence, Montalescot told reporters at a press briefing.

But the results for Eliquis suggest that its rivals--fellow twice-daily med Pradaxa, and once-daily options Xarelto and Savaysa, Daiichi Sankyo's new entrant--could maintain high adherence rates of their own.

If they can, it'll be another point in favor of the next-gen clot-busters, which have had trouble stealing market share from warfarin despite a wealth of positive trial results.

"From all our data, we know that NOACs are better for these patients than warfarin is," Jörg Kreuzer, Boehringer's cardiovascular medicine head, told FiercePharma in an interview Sunday. "More and more people are being initiated on NOACs for stroke prevention, but still more than half of the patients are on warfarin. So there is still quite a ways to go."

- read the release

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