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Anagrelide: a review of its use in the management of essential thrombocythaemia.

Author(s): Wagstaff AJ, Keating GM

Affiliation(s): Adis International Limited, Auckland, New Zealand.

Publication date & source: 2006, Drugs., 66(1):111-31.

Anagrelide (Agrylin((R)), Xagrid((R))) is an oral imidazoquinazoline agent which is indicated in Europe for the reduction of elevated platelet counts in at-risk patients with essential thrombocythaemia who are intolerant of or refractory to their current therapy, and in the US for the reduction of elevated platelet counts and the amelioration of thrombohaemorrhagic events in patients with thrombocythaemia associated with myeloproliferative disorders.Anagrelide is well established as an effective platelet-lowering agent in most patients with essential thrombocythaemia, including both treatment-naive patients and those refractory to other cytoreductive therapy. Results of the only randomised trial to date (the Primary Thrombocythaemia 1 [PT1] study) indicated that the composite primary endpoint (arterial or venous thrombosis, serious haemorrhage or death from vascular causes) occurred more often in recipients of anagrelide plus aspirin than in those receiving hydroxycarbamide (hydroxyurea) plus aspirin. This trial also indicated that the incidence of the secondary endpoints transient ischaemic attack and gastrointestinal bleeding favoured hydroxycarbamide plus aspirin, while the incidence of venous thrombosis favoured anagrelide plus aspirin. There were no differences between the groups in the incidence of secondary endpoints myocardial infarction, stroke, unstable angina, pulmonary embolism, hepatic-vein thrombosis, other serious haemorrhage or related deaths. The design of the PT1 study has been queried with respect to the heterogeneous nature of the study population (possible inclusion of patients with early myelofibrotic disease) and the concomitant use of aspirin (interaction with anagrelide causing increased bleeding events). Further data are therefore required before the role of anagrelide in essential thrombocythaemia can be finalised. In the meantime, when considering treatment options for patients with this disorder, anagrelide's positive effects on platelet function, lack of mutagenicity and lack of association with leukaemia or angiogenesis must be balanced against its comparative expense and positive inotropic effects. Thus, the role of anagrelide in the management of high-risk patients with essential thrombocythaemia will ultimately depend on individual patient assessment and future clarification of the potential leukaemogenicity of hydroxycarbamide.

Page last updated: 2006-02-01

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