News from the FDA/CDC

FDA update: Higher late mortality with paclitaxel-coated devices


Paclitaxel-coated devices, which are used to treat peripheral artery disease (PAD), appear to have a nearly 60% higher mortality risk than uncoated devices, according to a letter to health care providers from the Food and Drug Administration.

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This letter updates details about long-term follow-up data and panel conclusions reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration, as well as recommendations from the agency regarding these devices. On Jan. 17, 2019, the FDA notified providers regarding an apparent increased late mortality risk seen with paclitaxel-eluting stents and paclitaxel-coated balloons placed in the femoropopliteal artery in patients with PAD. The agency issued an update March 15.

In a public meeting June 19-20, the Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee discussed long-term follow-up data that demonstrated a 57% relative increase in mortality among PAD patients treated with paclitaxel-coated devices when compared with those receiving uncoated devices. The panel concluded that the late mortality signal was real and warranted further study and action, a conclusion with which the FDA has concurred.

Among other recommendations issued by the FDA, health care professionals should continue to closely monitor patients who’ve already received the devices and fully discuss the risks and benefits of these devices with patients. The FDA has decided that, given the demonstrated short-term benefits of these devices, clinical studies may continue and should collect long-term safety and effectiveness data.

The magnitude of this late mortality signal should be interpreted with caution, the FDA noted in the update, because of the wide confidence intervals (although the relative risk was 1.57, the 95% confidence interval was 1.16-2.13, which translates to 16%-113% higher relative risk), pooling studies of different devices that weren’t meant to be combined, missing data, and other reasons.

The full letter, including more detailed data and the full list of recommendations, is available on the FDA’s website.

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