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Possible increased risk of stroke in patients who take Spiriva HandiHaler

Boehringer Ingelheim has informed the FDA ( Food and Drug Administration ) that ongoing safety monitoring has identified a possible increased risk of stroke in patients who take this Spiriva HandiHaler.

Spiriva HandiHaler contains Tiotropium bromide and is used to treat bronchospasm associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ).

Additional information is needed to further evaluate this preliminary information about stroke in patients who take Spiriva HandiHaler.

Boehringer Ingelheim reported to the FDA that it has conducted an analysis of the safety data from 29 placebo controlled clinical studies.
In 25 of the clinical studies, patients were treated with Spiriva HandiHaler.
In the other 4 clinical studies patients were treated with another formulation of Tiotropium approved in Europe, Spiriva Respimat.
The 29 clinical studies included approximately 13,500 patients with COPD.

Based on data from these studies, the preliminary estimates of the risk of stroke are 8 patients per 1000 patients treated for one year with Spiriva, and 6 patients per 1000 patients treated for one year with placebo.This means that the estimated excess risk of any type of stroke due to Spiriva is 2 patients for each 1000 patients using Spiriva over a one year period.

It is important to interpret these preliminary results with caution. FDA has not confirmed these analyses.
Pooled analyses can provide early information about potential safety issues. However, these analyses have inherent limitations and uncertainty that require further investigation using other data sources.

FDA is working with Boehringer Ingelheim to further evaluate the potential association between Spiriva and stroke. FDA has requested additional information and is currently reviewing post-marketing adverse event reports with Spiriva.
In addition, the manufacturer of Spiriva has conducted a large study called UPLIFT ( Understanding the Potential Long-Term Impacts on Function with Tiotropium ), which is a large four year study that will provide additional long term safety data with Spiriva and additional insight into the risk of stroke or other safety findings with tiotropium.
The data from UPLIFT is expected to be available in June 2008.

Source: FDA, 2008