The Judicious Use of Recombinant Factor VIIa.
Recombinant activated factor VIIa (rFVIIa) is a prohemostatic agent initially approved for use in hemophilia patients with inhibitors and recently for Glanzmann thrombasthenia. Despite its approval indications, rFVIIa has also been used for a diverse range of off-label indications to treat bleeding related to traumatic injury, major hemorrhage following surgery, intracranial hemorrhage, and for uncontrolled bleeding as a prothrombotic hemostatic agent. Despite its off-label use, the benefit of rFVIIa in most nonhemophilia settings remains uncertain as the majority of clinical trials have not consistently demonstrated beneficial effects as determined by reduced bleeding, decreased blood product utilization, or have not demonstrated a mortality benefit. As with any prohemostatic agent, the risk of thromboembolic events is increased when rFVIIa is used off-label. Pooled data from randomized nonhemophilia studies report an increased risk in the elderly for arterial thromboses, although most individual trials have been underpowered to determine adverse thrombotic events. The causes of thrombotic adverse events associated with off-label use of rFVIIa may be due to an increased risk of adverse events due to critical illness or due to higher doses of rFVIIa used in off-label trials. Without clearly supportive data, physicians should consider risk versus benefit and exercise restraint using rFVIIa in off-label settings. Further, evidence-based guidelines should be developed by professional organizations, and additional randomized controlled clinical trials are needed to further assess the efficacy and safety of off-label rFVIIa use.
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