Drug May Prevent Hemophilia Bleeds

FEIBA therapy may prevent bleeding events in hemophilia patients

(RxWiki News) A common drug that stops bleeding in patients with severe hemophilia, a rare bleeding disorder in which the blood doesn't clot normally, may also be able to prevent such bleeds altogether.

The international study is the first to confirm the safety and effectiveness of the drug FEIBA in preventing bleeding in those with hemophilia A, generally the more severe type of the condition.

"Ask your doctor about the latest treatments for hemophilia."

Dr. Cindy Leissinger of Tulane University School of Medicine, and Dr. Alessandro Gringeri from the University of Milan, found that the drug was effective in preventing joint and other bleeds in hemophilia A patients. Bleeding treatment hasn't always been effective in these patients, who typically experience repeated joint bleeding and progressive disease.

The research examined bleeding in patients with hemophilia A with inhibitors. Those with the condition produce antibodies known as inhibitors, which can make traditional hemophilia treatments ineffective. The usual treatment involves replacement of the blood clotting factor called Factor VIII, which is not present in those with hemophilia.

About a third of severe hemophilia patients develop inhibitors, and it generally requires treatment with alternate clotting factor concentrates known as bypassing agents. These agents are traditionally given when episodes of bleeding occur and haven't been used to prevent them.

Researchers enrolled 34 patients with hemophilia A with inhibitors in the 15-month study. They found that as compared to on-demand therapy, infusing FEIBA three times a week resulted in a 62 percent decrease in all bleeding events and a 72 percent reduction in bleeding in joints where repetitive bleeding had previously occurred. About two-thirds of patients showed a very good response to the preventative treatment, experiencing a bleeding event reduction of 82 percent.

The clinical study was published in the Nov. 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Review Date: 
November 4, 2011