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Growing insights into the potential benefits and risks of activated protein C administration in sepsis: a review of preclinical and clinical studies

Authors Altaweel L, Sweeney D, Cui X, Barochia A, Natanson C, Eichacker PQ

Published 15 September 2009 Volume 2009:3 Pages 391—406


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Laith Altaweel, Daniel Sweeney, Xizhong Cui, Amisha Barochia, Charles Natanson, Peter Q Eichacker

Critical Care Medicine Department, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA

Abstract: Recombinant human activated protein C (rhAPC) was developed to reduce excessive coagulant and inflammatory activity during sepsis. Basic and clinical research has suggested these pathways contribute to the pathogenesis of this lethal syndrome and are inhibited by rhAPC. Based in large part on the results of a single multicenter randomized controlled trial, rhAPC was first approved in 2001 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as adjunctive therapy in septic patients with a high risk of death. This was followed closely by approval in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. At the original FDA review of rhAPC, concerns were raised as to whether a confirmatory trial should be done before final regulatory approval because of concerns that rhAPCs bleeding risk might outweigh its potential benefit during clinical use. Since 2001, continuing basic and clinical research has further elucidated the complex role activated protein C may have in both adaptive and maladaptive responses during sepsis. Moreover, subsequent controlled trials in other types of septic patients and observational studies appear to support earlier concerns that the benefit-to-risk ratio of rhAPC may not support its clinical use. This experience has prompted additional trials presently underway, to define whether treatment with rhAPC as it was originally indicated in septic patients with persistent shock, is safe and effective. Until such trials are complete, physicians employing this agent must carefully consider which patients may be appropriate candidates for rhAPC administration.

Keywords: rhAPC, treatment, sepsis

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