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  • Thrombocytopenia is the most common blood-related complication of CLD, and although severe thrombocytopenia is less common it can prevent or lead to delays in crucial interventions, so new and effective treatments are urgently needed[4][5][6][7]

·         Oral treatments like lusutrombopag can provide several benefits for patients and healthcare systems, including fewer transfusions, fewer hospital stays, a decreased chance of transfusion-related complications and a longer treatment window in which to do planned invasive procedures[2]

  • Data from two pivotal Phase III randomised clinical trials, L-PLUS 1[8] and L-PLUS 2[9], showed that lusutrombopag met the primary endpoints of superiority to placebo in reducing the need for platelet transfusions in thrombocytopenic patients with chronic liver disease undergoing invasive procedures by raising platelet counts above recommended treatment guidelines[10] of 50,000/µL for an average of 20.9[11] days

OSAKA, Japan, and AMSTERDAM, NL – March 9, 2020 - Shionogi & Co., Ltd. and its European subsidiary, Shionogi B.V. (hereafter "Shionogi"), today announce the launch of Mulpleo® (lusutrombopag) in the UK for the treatment of severe thrombocytopenia in adult patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) undergoing invasive procedures.[2][3] It is the first licensed treatment available on the NHS in the UK to treat this condition and has also been approved for funding across the health services in England &Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.[12]


The approval and launch of lusutrombopag is based on evidence from L-PLUS 1[8] and L-PLUS 2[9], two multicentre, randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, phase III studies where 312 patients with CLD, severe thrombocytopenia with a platelet count of <50,000/µL and a scheduled invasive procedure received either lusutrombopag or placebo once daily for up to seven days. Lusutrombopag met the pre-specified primary endpoint and all key secondary endpoints with statistically significant results. In L-PLUS 1, 79.2% (38/48) of patients receiving lusutrombopag required no platelet transfusion prior to the primary invasive procedure, compared with 12.5% (6/48) receiving placebo (P< 0.0001).[8] In L-PLUS 2, 64.8% (70/108) of patients who received lusutrombopag required no platelet transfusion prior to the primary invasive procedure or rescue therapy for bleeding within seven days post-procedure, compared to 29% (31/107) receiving placebo (P< 0.0001)[1][9]. Across the two trials, platelet counts remained above 50,000/µL for a median of 20.9 days in patients treated with lusutrombopag not requiring platelet transfusion vs a median of 9.5 days in patients treated with placebo and requiring platelet transfusion.[11] The rate of adverse events observed in the trials, including that of thromboembolic events, was comparable between lusutrombopag and placebo. The most common adverse reactions were headache (4.7% in the lusutrombopag arm vs 3.5% in the placebo arm), nausea (2.3% vs 4.1%), portal vein thrombosis (1.2% vs 1.2%) and rash (1.2% vs 0%)[1].


“It is great news that lusutrombopag is now available on the NHS following approvals from both the SMC and NICE. The number of people with chronic liver disease has increased significantly in recent years and we expect this trend to continue. Until now, there have been no specific therapies available to treat thrombocytopenia, a common blood-related complication of chronic liver disease which can complicate or delay crucial interventions for these patients,” commented Dr Andrew Holt, Consultant Physician (GI, HPB & Liver), University Hospitals, Birmingham. “Physicians now have an effective tool to help enable these interventions to go ahead safely and when planned.”


Chronic liver disease is a huge burden in the UK; over 600,000 people have a form of serious liver disease and 60,000 have cirrhosis.[13] The number of deaths has increased by 400% since 1970 and it is now responsible for the highest number of premature deaths in 35-49 year olds.[12] Currently, the only option available to doctors and their patients to manage platelet counts is a transfusion of platelets. An estimated 3,300 patients with cirrhosis in the UK receive prophylactic platelet transfusions prior to a procedure every year[14]. This is an invasive procedure itself, often requiring a hospital inpatient stay and careful scheduling of the subsequent planned procedure within the narrow therapeutic window provided by a platelet transfusion. Platelet transfusions also carry the general risks associated with the transfer of blood products between humans and may be particularly undesirable for some patients.


“We are happy to announce that following positive recommendations from both NICE and the SMC, lusutrombopag is now available for use in the UK as the first licensed treatment for severe thrombocytopenia in patients with chronic liver disease undergoing invasive procedures. We hope this new treatment option will reduce the need for platelet transfusions for the majority of these patients, additionally making clinical practice more predictable for the healthcare professionals treating them.” said Jonathan Osborne, General Manager of Shionogi UK.


About Thrombocytopenia in Chronic Liver Disease

Thrombocytopenia is defined as a platelet count of less than 150,000/µL. CLD-associated thrombocytopenia may be caused by multiple factors including splenic sequestration and decreased production of thrombopoietin (TPO). It is the most common haematologic complication of CLD[4][5][6][7] with studies suggesting that it occurs in up to 78% of patients with cirrhosis. Severe thrombocytopenia (platelet count of less than 50,000/µL) is less common, occurring in up to 11% of patients with cirrhosis.[15] Patients with CLD and severe thrombocytopenia are at increased risk for bleeding, requiring recurrent platelet transfusions, increased ambulatory visits and inpatient hospital stays compared with patients with CLD without thrombocytopenia[16] There is evidence that the annual health care cost of a CLD patient with thrombocytopenia is more than three times that of a CLD patient without thrombocytopenia.[15] In addition to the potential of severe thrombocytopenia to increase surgical or traumatic bleeding, it may also significantly complicate routine diagnostic procedures and patient care, such as liver biopsy and other scheduled procedures for cirrhotic patients, resulting in delayed or cancelled interventions.[17] Currently, platelet transfusion is the standard of care used to mitigate bleeding risks associated with severe thrombocytopenia prior to invasive procedures, but variable efficacy in patient with chronic liver disease and adverse reactions limit the use of platelet transfusions, resulting in a need for new therapies.[5]


About Mulpleo (lusutrombopag)

Lusutrombopag 3mg is a once-daily, orally administered, small molecule thrombopoietin (TPO) receptor agonist that triggers the production of endogenous platelets by interacting with the transmembrane domain of human TPO receptors expressed on megakaryocytes to induce the proliferation and differentiation of megakaryocytic progenitor cells from hematopoietic stem cells, and megakaryocyte maturation.


On February 18, 2019, lusutrombopag received marketing authorisation by the EC for the treatment of severe thrombocytopenia in adult patients with CLD undergoing invasive procedures. Prior to this, lusutrombopag was approved by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan in September 2015 for the improvement of thrombocytopenia associated with CLD in patients undergoing an elective invasive procedure, and by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 31, 2018 for the treatment of thrombocytopenia in adult patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) who are scheduled to undergo a procedure. It is currently available in Japan and the US, where it is marketed under the brand name Mulpleta®.  Both the SMC and NICE recommended lusutrombopag for use on the NHS in the UK on December 9, 2019 and January 8, 2020 respectively.[2][3]


About Shionogi

Shionogi & Co., Ltd. is a 141-year-old global, research driven pharmaceutical company headquartered in Osaka, Japan, that is dedicated to bringing benefits to patients based on its corporate philosophy of “supplying the best possible medicine to protect the health and wellbeing of the patients we serve.” The company currently markets products in several therapeutic areas including anti-infectives, pain, CNS disorders, cardiovascular diseases and gastroenterology.

Shionogi B.V. is the European headquarters of Shionogi & Co., Ltd. For more information on Shionogi B.V., please visit

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Last Updated: 09-Mar-2020