Meeting highlights from the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) 6-9 April 2021

News 09/04/2021

PRAC conclusion on very rare cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets with Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine)

EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) has concluded that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca).

In reaching its conclusion, the committee took into consideration all currently available evidence, including the advice from an ad hoc expert group.

EMA is reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring very rarely within 2 weeks of vaccination.

For more information see EMA’s public health communication.

PRAC reviews signal of capillary leak syndrome with Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine)

PRAC has started a review of a safety signal to assess reports of capillary leak syndrome in people who were vaccinated with Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca).

Five cases of this very rare disorder, characterised by leakage of fluid from blood vessels causing tissue swelling and a drop in blood pressure, were reported in the EudraVigilance database.

At this stage, it is not yet clear whether there is a causal association between vaccination and the reports of capillary leak syndrome. These reports point to a ‘safety signal’ - information on new or changed adverse events that may potentially be associated with a medicine and that warrants further investigation.

PRAC will evaluate all the available data to decide if a causal relationship is confirmed or not. In cases where a causal relationship is confirmed or considered likely, regulatory action is necessary in order to minimise the risk. This usually takes the form of an update of the summary of product characteristics and the package leaflet.

EMA will further communicate on the outcome of the PRAC’s review.

PRAC investigating thromboembolic events after vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen

PRAC has started a review of a safety signal to assess reports of thromboembolic events (formation of blood clots, resulting in the obstruction of a vessel) in people who received COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen.

Four serious cases of unusual blood clots with low blood platelets have been reported post-vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen. One case occurred in a clinical trial and three cases occurred during the vaccine rollout in the USA. One of them was fatal.

COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen is currently only used in the USA, under an emergency use authorisation. COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen was authorised in the EU on 11 March 2021. The vaccine rollout has not started yet in any EU Member State but is expected in the next few weeks. These reports point to a ‘safety signal’, but it is currently not clear whether there is a causal association between vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen and these conditions. PRAC is investigating these cases and will decide whether regulatory action may be necessary, which usually consists of an update to the product information.

EMA will further communicate once the evaluation has concluded.

PRAC statistics: April 2021

prac april 2021

Glossary:

  • Safety signal assessments. A safety signal is information on a new or known adverse event that is potentially caused by a medicine and that warrants further investigation. Signals are generated from several sources such as spontaneous reports, clinical studies and the scientific literature. More information can be found under Signal management.
  • Periodic safety update reports, abbreviated as PSURs, are reports prepared by the marketing authorisation holder to describe the worldwide safety experience with a medicine in a defined period after its authorisation. PSURs for medicinal products that contain the same active substance or the same combination of active substances, but have different marketing authorisations and are authorised in different EU Member States, are jointly assessed in a single assessment procedure. More information can be found under Periodic safety update reports: questions and answers.
  • Risk management plans, abbreviated as RMPs, are detailed descriptions of the activities and interventions designed to identify, characterise, prevent or minimise risks relating to medicines. Companies are required to submit an RMP to EMA when applying for a marketing authorisation. RMPs are continually updated throughout the lifetime of the medicine as new information becomes available. More information is available under Risk management plans.
  • Post-authorisation safety studies, abbreviated as PASSs, are studies carried out after a medicine has been authorised to obtain further information on its safety, or to measure the effectiveness of risk-management measures. The PRAC assesses the protocols (aspects related to the organisation of a study) and the results of PASSs. More information can be found under Post-authorisation safety studies (PASS).
  • Referrals are procedures used to resolve issues such as concerns over the safety or benefit-risk balance of a medicine or a class of medicines. In a referral related to safety of medicines, the PRAC is requested by a Member State or the European Commission to conduct a scientific assessment of a particular medicine or class of medicines on behalf of the EU. More information can be found under Referral procedures.

Ongoing referrals

Procedure

Status

Update

Zynteglo – Article -20 ReferralUnder evaluationPRAC continued its assessment.
Amfepramone-containing medicinal products – Article -31 ReferralUnder evaluationPRAC continued its assessment.

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