INTRODUCTION: Oral anticoagulation is an effective therapy to prevent and treat thromboembolic events. So far, Vitamin K antagonists have been the main drug of choice. Recently, the advent of the direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) has changed medical practice significantly; nevertheless all anticoagulants are associated with an increased risk of bleeding. Bleeding management can be achieved through established therapies; however specific antidotes are not yet available for these agents to further facilitate patient management in cases needed. Previously the dabigatran antidote (idarucizumab) has demonstrated immediate, complete and sustained reversal of dabigatran induced anti-coagulation in healthy male volunteers. In the present study it was determined whether and to what extent doses of up to 5 g idarucizumab would reverse the anticoagulant effects of dabigatran in male and female healthy mid-aged, elderly and renally impaired volunteers. In addition, it was tested whether oral intake of dabigatran etexilate 24 hrs after idarucizumab treatment could restore dabigatran related anticoagulation. It was further tested if a second administration of idarucizumab 2 months later was safe and well tolerated.
METHODS: Safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of idarucizumab were investigated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled two-way cross-over study in 46 male and female volunteers. Dabigatran etexilate (DE), 220 mg bid in healthy subjects and 150 mg bid in subjects with mild or moderate renal impairment (CLCR60 to <90 or 30 to <60 [mL/min], respectively) was given over 4 days to achieve the steady state conditions. Idarucizumab doses of 1 g, 2.5 g, 5 g or 5 g given as 2x2.5 g one hour apart were administered as 5 min i.v. infusion 2 hrs after the last dose of DE. Concentrations of unbound dabigatran were determined as a measure of pharmacologically active dabigatran. The anticoagulant effect of dabigatran and its reversal were assessed by coagulation time measurements, including diluted Thrombin Time (dTT, Hemoclot® DTI assay), Ecarin Clotting Time (ECT) and activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT).
RESULTS: All administered doses of idarucizumab were safe and well tolerated. PK measurements of unbound dabigatran indicated that idarucizumab binding and thus reversal of the anticoagulant effect of dabigatran occurred immediately after end of infusion. Prolongation of clotting times induced by dabigatran was reversed to baseline at the end of the 5 minute infusion of the antidote. This was consistently demonstrated by all clotting assays. Sustained reversal over the entire observation period was observed for idarucizumab doses of 2.5 g, 5 g and 2x2.5 g. For the 1g dose, there was partial return of dabigatran induced anticoagulation around 2-4 hours after i.v. infusion. Also a second administration of idarucizumab (two months after the first) was safe and resulted in complete reversal. In addition, PD and PK measurements at selected time points and in comparison to placebo treatment confirmed that effective dabigatran anticoagulation could be re-established 24 hours after administration of idarucizumab.
CONCLUSIONS: The dabigatran antidote, idarucizumab, was well tolerated under all conditions tested. The administration of 5 g or 2x2.5 g led to sustained reversal of dabigatran induced anticoagulation in male and female subjects of different age and renal function. In addition, idarucizumab administered 2 months apart achieved the same degree of reversal. Dabigatran anticoagulation could be re-established 24 hrs after idarucizumab dosing. These results support the use of a total dose of 5 g idarucizumab as an effective dose in further clinical testing.