The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Fragmin (dalteparin sodium) injection, for subcutaneous use, to reduce the recurrence of symptomatic venous thromboembolism (VTE) in pediatric patients one month of age and older. VTE can include deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the deep veins of the leg) and pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs), which can lead to death.
“Most children who have VTE are fighting a serious underlying primary illness such as cancer or congenital heart disease. Not only are they fighting a serious illness, having a condition like VTE can then lead to significant complications and even death,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Prior to this approval, there had been no FDA-approved therapies to treat VTE in pediatric patients. Given the unmet need, we granted the Fragmin application priority review and today we are approving it as the first anticoagulant (blood thinner) indicated for pediatric patients. We remain committed to advancing treatments for children with unmet medical needs.”
VTE usually develops as a secondary complication of underlying clinical conditions such as a venous catheter, cancer, infection, congenital heart disease, and trauma or surgery. Pediatric VTE is associated with an increased risk of in-hospital mortality, recurrent VTE and post-thrombotic syndrome (damage to vein).
Fragmin was initially approved by the FDA in 1994 for adults and is a type of heparin, which works as an anticoagulant. The efficacy of Fragmin in children was based on a single trial with 38 pediatric patients with symptomatic deep vein thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism. Patients were treated with Fragmin for up to three months, with starting doses by age and weight. At study completion, 21 patients achieved resolution of the qualifying VTE, seven patients showed regression, two patients showed no change, no patients experienced progression of the VTE and one patient experienced recurrence of VTE.
Common side effects of patients taking Fragmin are bleeding, including hemorrhage (heavy discharge of blood from a blood vessel), thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count), hematoma (collection of blood) or pain at the injection site and transient elevation of transaminases (elevated level of liver enzymes).
Health care professionals are advised to use caution in conditions with increased risk of hemorrhage and monitor thrombocytopenia of any degree closely. Health care professionals are warned not to use benzyl alcohol preservative multiple-dose formulations in infants as they contain benzyl alcohol and should not be used.
The FDA granted this application Priority Review designation. Pfizer holds the application for Fragmin.
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