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Amgen Announces Modifications to U.S. Prescribing Information for Use of Erythropoies

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  • Amgen Announces Modifications to U.S. Prescribing Information for Use of Erythropoies
    Modified Labeling Provides Different Treatment Guidance for Patients on Dialysis and Not on Dialysis
    Changes to Prescribing Information Include Modification to the Boxed Warning

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

    Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved modified language in the prescribing information for the use of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), including Aranesp® (darbepoetin alfa) and EPOGEN® (Epoetin alfa), in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The modified language, including changes to the Boxed Warning, provides important new information for the treatment of patients with CKD who are on dialysis, as well as those not on dialysis, to inform prescribers and patients of safety risks that have been identified in clinical trials. In recognition of the different benefit-risk profiles of ESA therapy in patients on dialysis compared to patients not on dialysis, the modified labeling provides separate treatment guidance for these two CKD populations.

    Specifically, for patients on dialysis, the label advises physicians to initiate ESA therapy when the hemoglobin level is less than 10 g/dL and guides physicians to reduce or interrupt the dose when the hemoglobin approaches or exceeds 11 g/dL. For patients not on dialysis, physicians are asked to consider initiating ESA therapy when the hemoglobin level is below 10 g/dL, when reducing red blood cell transfusion-related risks is a clinical goal and when the rate of hemoglobin decline suggests a transfusion will be likely. Further, for those not on dialysis, physicians should reduce or interrupt the dose when the hemoglobin exceeds 10 g/dL. This guidance replaces the previous label language specifying a hemoglobin target range of 10-12 g/dL for both populations. The modified prescribing information continues to recognize the benefit of reducing the need for transfusions in CKD patients.

    In addition, the Boxed Warning, Warnings and Precautions and Clinical Studies sections have been modified to advise that the use of ESAs to target a hemoglobin level of greater than 11 g/dL increases the risk of serious adverse cardiovascular reactions.

    For complete dosing and safety information for Aranesp and EPOGEN, see the full prescribing information.

    "Amgen supports the modified ESA prescribing information as it informs physicians of important safety information," said Roger M. Perlmutter, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen. "The revised label also provides physicians with more individualized treatment guidance by distinguishing between patients undergoing dialysis as compared with those who are not on dialysis."

    The language in the prescribing information was informed by the results from clinical trials, including TREAT (the Trial to Reduce Cardiovascular Events with Aranesp® Therapy), which targeted high hemoglobin levels (13 g/dL) in CKD patients who were not on dialysis and found an increased risk of stroke in the patients treated with ESAs compared to those receiving placebo. While TREAT was a study of patients who were not on dialysis, the modified Boxed Warning and other warnings in the label apply to all CKD patients.

    Amgen is informing healthcare professionals about the revisions to the prescribing information through a joint "Dear Healthcare Professional" letter with Janssen Products, LP and will post the letter, along with the modified prescribing information on Amgen's website,

    Amgen is in ongoing discussions with the FDA regarding additional post-marketing required studies to further understand the benefit-risk profile of ESAs in CKD patients on dialysis and not on dialysis.

    About Aranesp and EPOGEN

    Aranesp is indicated for the treatment of anemia due to CKD, including patients on dialysis and not on dialysis.

    EPOGEN is indicated for the treatment of anemia due to CKD, including patients on dialysis and not on dialysis to decrease the need for red blood cell (RBC) transfusions.

    Aranesp and EPOGEN have not been shown to improve quality of life, fatigue, or patient well-being.

    Aranesp and EPOGEN are not indicated for use as a substitute for RBC transfusions in patients who require immediate correction of anemia.



    Chronic Kidney Disease:
    ■In controlled trials, patients experienced greater risks for death, serious adverse cardiovascular reactions, and stroke when administered erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) to target a hemoglobin level of greater than 11 g/dL.
    ■No trial has identified a hemoglobin target level, ESA dose, or dosing strategy that does not increase these risks.
    ■Use the lowest Aranesp or EPOGEN dose sufficient to reduce the need for red blood cell (RBC) transfusions.

    ■ESAs shortened overall survival and/or increased the risk of tumor progression or recurrence in clinical studies of patients with breast, non-small cell lung, head and neck, lymphoid, and cervical cancers.
    ■Prescribers and hospitals must enroll in and comply with the ESA APPRISE Oncology Program to prescribe and/or dispense Aranesp or EPOGEN to patients with cancer.
    ■Use the lowest dose to avoid RBC transfusions.
    ■Use ESAs only for anemia from myelosuppressive chemotherapy.
    ■ESAs are not indicated for patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy when the anticipated outcome is cure.
    ■Discontinue following the completion of a chemotherapy course.

    Perisurgery: (EPOGEN)
    ■Due to increased risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), DVT prophylaxis is recommended.
    ■Aranesp and EPOGEN are contraindicated in patients with uncontrolled hypertension; pure red cell aplasia that begins after treatment with Aranesp, EPOGEN, or other erythropoietin protein drugs; or serious allergic reactions to Aranesp or EPOGEN.
    ■EPOGEN from multidose vials is contraindicated in neonates, infants, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.

    For all patients who take Aranesp or EPOGEN, including patients with cancer or chronic kidney disease:
    ■If you decide to take Aranesp or EPOGEN, your healthcare provider should prescribe the smallest dose of Aranesp or EPOGEN that is needed to reduce your chance of getting red blood cell transfusions.
    ■You may get serious heart problems such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and may die sooner if you are treated with Aranesp or EPOGEN to reach a normal or near-normal hemoglobin level.
    ■You may get blood clots at any time while taking Aranesp or EPOGEN. If you are receiving Aranesp or EPOGEN for any reason and you are going to have surgery, talk to your healthcare provider about whether or not you need to take a blood thinner to lessen the chance of blood clots during or following surgery. Clots can form in blood vessels (veins), especially in your leg (deep venous thrombosis or DVT). Pieces of a blood clot may travel to the lungs and block the blood circulation in the lungs (pulmonary embolus).
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