King of Prussia, PA – 11 July 2012 –Findings of a first-of-its-kind study of women with von Willebrand disease (VWD) show that current postpartum treatment strategies do not increase levels of von Willebrand factor (VWF) to normal range or even to the levels of women with milder, untreated VWD. VWF is a blood protein important for preventing postpartum hemorrhage. Results of this nationwide study are being presented at the World Federation of Hemophilia 2012 World Congress in Paris. This investigator-initiated study was supported by a $1.2 million unrestricted grant from CSL Behring.
In healthy women, VWF levels fell rapidly after childbirth, approached baseline one week postpartum and reached baseline three weeks postpartum. The pattern of decrease in these levels was consistent among all patient groups, but levels were significantly lower in women with VWD. VWF levels were lowest among treated VWD patients.
"While a rapid decrease in VWF levels after delivery is normal, significant decreases following childbirth can result in an increased risk for postpartum hemorrhage, especially since women continue to bleed for days to weeks after delivery," said Andra James, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Virginia, and principal investigator of the study while she was at Duke University. "Given that current postpartum treatment strategies do not effectively manage VWF levels in the VWD patient, we hope to conduct further study into the benefits of prophylaxis treatment for preventing the potentially serious complication of delayed postpartum hemorrhage."
This prospective, observational cohort study compared changes in blood levels of VWF proteins postpartum between 31 women with and 40 women without VWD. Fourteen of the women with VWD were treated during the postpartum period - 12 with VWF concentrate, one with desmopressin plus VWF concentrate and one with desmopressin. At periodic intervals in the immediate postpartum period, von Willebrand factor: Ristocetin cofactor activity (VWF:RCo), factor VIII (FVIII) and von Willebrand factor antigen (VWF:Ag) levels were measured.
About von Willebrand disease
Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is the most common hereditary bleeding disorder in the United States, and is caused by a deficiency or abnormality of von Willebrand factor, a protein in the blood that is necessary for normal blood clotting. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), von Willebrand disease affects 1 to 2 percent of Americans - as many as 2.8 million people - more than half of whom are women. Men and women are equally likely to be affected by VWD. Women, though, may suffer severe health consequences, such as life-threatening bleeding following childbirth, if their condition is not correctly diagnosed and managed. Other common symptoms of VWD include easy bruising; frequent or prolonged nosebleeds; heavy, prolonged menstruation; prolonged bleeding following injury or surgery; and prolonged bleeding during dental procedures.
About CSL Behring
CSL Behring is a global leader in the plasma protein biotherapeutics industry. Passionate about improving the quality of patients' lives, CSL Behring manufactures and markets a range of safe and effective plasma-derived and recombinant products and related services. The company's therapies are used in the treatment of immune deficiency disorders, hereditary angioedema, haemophilia, von Willebrand disease, other bleeding disorders and inherited emphysema. Other products are used for the prevention of hemolytic diseases in the newborn, in cardiac surgery, organ transplantation and in the treatment of burns. The company also operates one of the world's largest plasma collection networks, CSL Plasma.
CSL Behring is a subsidiary of CSL Limited, a biopharmaceutical company with headquarters in Melbourne, Australia. For more information, visit www.cslbehring.com.
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