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Blood. 2001 Feb 15;97(4):863-6.

Long-term use of anagrelide in young patients with essential thrombocythemia.

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Division of Hematology and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.


Anagrelide is a novel platelet-lowering agent that has recently been approved for use in essential thrombocythemia (ET) and related disorders. Short-term drug efficacy and toxicity data have previously been presented. The purpose of this study was to obtain additional information regarding long-term anagrelide use. This is a retrospective series of 35 young patients (17 to 48 years) with ET who received anagrelide treatment before 1992. Initial drug dosage ranged between 1 and 10 mg/d, and the median maintenance dosage was 2.5 mg/d. The overall initial response rate of 94% included 74% complete remissions and 20% partial remissions. Of the 33 responding patients, 27 (82%) remained on anagrelide therapy for a median of 10.8 years (range, 7 to 15.5). Of these, 66% maintained a complete and 34% a partial remission over the study period. In general, the reporting of somatic side effects decreased over time, and anemia was the only new side effect that emerged after long-term therapy. Eight patients (24%) experienced a more than 3 g/dL decrease in hemoglobin level. Despite active therapy, 20% of the patients experienced a total of 10 thrombotic episodes, and a similar proportion experienced major hemorrhagic events. All thrombohemorrhagic complications occurred at a platelet count of more than 400 x 10(9)/L. It is concluded that long-term treatment of ET with anagrelide is associated with decreased reporting of initial side effects and the development of mild-to-moderate anemia. Complete normalization of platelet counts may be needed to minimize residual thrombohemorrhagic risk during therapy. (Blood. 2001;97:863-866).

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