FDA Approves New Once-Weekly Prophylactic Treatment For Hemophilia A With Inhibitors

November 16th, 2017

On November 16, the FDA approved HEMLIBRA® (emicizumab-kxwh) for routine prophylaxis (preventative treatment) to prevent or reduce the frequency of bleeding episodes in adults and children with hemophilia A with factor VIII inhibitors.


News in brief

  • HEMLIBRA is the first new FDA-approved medicine in nearly 20 years to treat hemophilia A with inhibitors
  • Only treatment option that can be self-administered once-weekly by injection under the skin (subcutaneously)
  • Nearly one in three people with severe hemophilia A can develop inhibitors to factor VIII replacement therapies, putting them at greater risk for life-threatening bleeds or repeated bleeds that can cause long-term joint damage

Important Safety Information

What is the most important information I should know about HEMLIBRA?

HEMLIBRA increases the potential for your blood to clot. Discontinue prophylactic use of bypassing agents the day before starting HEMLIBRA prophylaxis. Carefully follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding when to use an on-demand bypassing agent, and the dose and schedule you should use. HEMLIBRA may cause the following serious side effects when used with aPCC (FEIBA®), including:

  • Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). This is a condition involving blood clots and injury to small blood vessels that may cause harm to your kidneys, brain, and other organs. Get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms during or after treatment with HEMLIBRA:
    • confusion
    • weakness
    • swelling of arms and legs
    • yellowing of skin and eyes
    • stomach (abdomen) or back pain
    • nausea or vomiting
    • feeling sick
    • decreased urination
  • Blood clots (thrombotic events). Blood clots may form in blood vessels in your arm, leg, lung or head. Get medical help right away if you have any of these signs or symptoms of blood clots during or after treatment with HEMLIBRA:
    • swelling in arms or legs
    • pain or redness in your arms or legs
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain or tightness
    • fast heart rate
    • cough up blood
    • feel faint
    • headache
    • numbness in your face
    • eye pain or swelling
    • trouble seeing

If aPCC (FEIBA®) is needed, talk to your healthcare provider in case you feel you need more than 100 U/kg of aPCC (FEIBA®) total.

Before using HEMLIBRA, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if HEMLIBRA may harm your unborn baby. Females who are able to become pregnant should use birth control (contraception) during treatment with HEMLIBRA.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if HEMLIBRA passes into your breast milk.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

How should I use HEMLIBRA?

See the detailed “Instructions for Use” that comes with your HEMLIBRA for information on how to prepare and inject a dose of HEMLIBRA, and how to properly throw away (dispose of) used needles and syringes.

HEMLIBRA may interfere with laboratory tests that measure how well your blood is clotting and may cause a false reading. Talk to your healthcare provider about how this may affect your care.

What are the other possible side effects of HEMLIBRA?

The most common side effects of HEMLIBRA include: redness, tenderness, warmth, or itching at the site of injection; headache; and joint pain.

These are not all of the possible side effects of HEMLIBRA. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

General information about the safe and effective use of HEMLIBRA.

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use HEMLIBRA for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give HEMLIBRA to other people, even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them. You can ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for information about HEMLIBRA that is written for health professionals.

You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.

Please see the HEMLIBRA full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for more important safety information including Serious Side Effects.


Sandra Horning, M.D.

"Today’s approval of HEMLIBRA represents an important advancement for people with hemophilia A with inhibitors, who have struggled to manage their bleeding disorder and haven’t had a new medicine in almost 20 years. We believe HEMLIBRA will improve protection against bleeds and reduce the treatment administration burden for people with hemophilia A with inhibitors, and we are committed to helping them access this medicine.”


“Before HEMLIBRA, my 7-year-old son needed intravenous infusions that could take up to two hours at least three times a week, so our lives revolved around his treatment. With HEMLIBRA, he now has an injection once a week that he has proudly learned to administer himself to help prevent bleeds. Not only has he had fewer bleeds compared to his prior treatment, he has more time to be a kid and we have more quality time as a family because of the new treatment schedule.”