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Mechanism Of Action

The precise mechanism by which anagrelide reduces blood platelet count is unknown. In cell culture studies, anagrelide suppressed expression of transcription factors including GATA-1 and FOG-1 required for megakaryocytopoiesis, ultimately leading to reduced platelet production.


In blood withdrawn from normal volunteers treated with anagrelide, a disruption was found in the postmitotic phase of megakaryocyte development and a reduction in megakaryocyte size and ploidy. At therapeutic doses, anagrelide does not produce significant changes in white cell counts or coagulation parameters, and may have a small, but clinically insignificant effect on red cell parameters. The active metabolite, 3-hydroxy anagrelide, has similar potency and efficacy to that of anagrelide in the platelet lowering effect; however, exposure (measured by plasma AUC) to 3-hydroxy anagrelide is approximately 2-fold higher compared to anagrelide. Anagrelide and 3-hydroxy anagrelide inhibit cyclic AMP phosphodiesterase 3 (PDE3) and 3-hydroxy anagrelide is approximately forty times more potent than anagrelide (IC50s = 0.9 and 36nM, respectively). PDE3 inhibition does not alter platelet production. PDE3 inhibitors, as a class can inhibit platelet aggregation. However, significant inhibition of platelet aggregation is observed only at doses of anagrelide higher than those typically required to reduce platelet count. PDE3 inhibitors have cardiovascular (CV) effects including vasodilation, positive inotropy and chronotropy.

Cardiac Electrophysiology

The effect of anagrelide dose (0.5 mg and 2.5 mg single doses) on the heart rate and QTc interval prolongation potential was evaluated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-and active-controlled, cross-over study in 60 healthy adult men and women.

A dose-related increase in heart rate was observed, with the maximum increase occurring around the time of maximal drug concentration (0.5 – 4 hours). The maximum change in mean heart rate occurred at 2 hours after administration and was +7.8 beats per minute (bpm) for 0.5 mg and +29.1 bpm for 2.5 mg.

Dose-related increase in mean QTc was observed. The maximum mean (95% upper confidence bound) change in QTcI (individual subject correction) from placebo after baseline-correction was 7.0 (9.8) ms and 13.0 (15.7) ms following anagrelide doses of 0.5 mg and 2.5 mg, respectively.


Dose proportionality has been found in the dose range 0.5 mg to 2.5 mg.


Following oral administration of AGRYLIN, at least 70% is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. In fasted subjects, anagrelide peak plasma concentrations occur within about 1 hour after administration.

Pharmacokinetic data obtained from healthy volunteers comparing the pharmacokinetics of anagrelide in the fed and fasted states showed that administration of a 1 mg dose of anagrelide with food decreased the Cmax by 14%, but increased the AUC by 20%. Food decreased the Cmax of the active metabolite 3-hydroxy-anagrelide by 29%, although it had no effect on the AUC.


Anagrelide is primarily metabolized by CYP1A2 to the active metabolite, 3-hydroxy-anagrelide, which is subsequently metabolized by CYP1A2 to the inactive metabolite, RL603. Less than 1% of the administered dose is recovered in the urine as anagrelide, and approximately 3% and 16-20% of the administered dose is recovered as 3-hydroxy-anagrelide and RL603, respectively.


Anagrelide and 3-hydroxy-anagrelide are eliminated with plasma half-lives of approximately 1.5 and 2.5 hours, respectively. Anagrelide and 3-hydroxy-anagrelide do not accumulate in plasma when the clinical dose regimens are administered.

Drug Interactions

Aspirin: In two pharmacodynamic interaction studies in healthy subjects, co-administration of single-dose anagrelide 1 mg and aspirin 900 mg or repeat-dose anagrelide 1 mg once daily and aspirin 75 mg once daily showed greater ex vivo anti-platelet aggregation effects than administration of aspirin alone. Co-administered anagrelide 1mg and aspirin 900mg single-doses had no effect on bleeding time, prothrombin time (PT) or activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT).

Digoxin or warfarin: In vivo interaction studies in humans have demonstrated that anagrelide does not affect the pharmacokinetic properties of digoxin or warfarin, nor does digoxin or warfarin affect the pharmacokinetic properties of anagrelide.

Specific Populations

Pediatric: Dose-normalized Cmax and AUC of anagrelide were higher in children and adolescents (age range 7-16 years) with essential thrombocythemia, by 17% and 56%, respectively, than in adult patients (19-57 years).

Geriatric: Cmax and AUC of anagrelide were 36% and 61% higher, respectively, in elderly patients (age range 65-75 years), than in younger adults (age range 22-50 years), but Cmax and AUC of the active metabolite, 3-hydroxy anagrelide, were 42% and 37% lower, respectively, in the elderly patients.

Renal Impairment: Pharmacokinetic study at a single dose of 1 mg anagrelide in subjects with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance < 30 mL/min) showed no significant effects on the pharmacokinetics of anagrelide.

Hepatic Impairment: A pharmacokinetic study at a single dose of 1 mg anagrelide in subjects with moderate hepatic impairment (Child Pugh score 7-9) showed a 2-fold increase in mean anagrelide Cmax and an 8-fold increase in total exposure (AUC) to anagrelide compared with healthy subjects. Additionally, subjects with moderate hepatic impairment showed 24% lower mean 3-hydroxy-anagrelide Cmax and 77% higher mean 3-hydroxy-anagrelide AUC compared to healthy subjects.

Animal Toxicology And/Or Pharmacology

In the 2-year rat study, a significant increase in non-neoplastic lesions was observed in anagrelide treated males and females in the adrenal (medullary hyperplasia), heart (myocardial hypertrophy and chamber distension), kidney (hydronephrosis, tubular dilation and urothelial hyperplasia) and bone (femur enostosis). Vascular effects were observed in tissues of the pancreas (arteritis/periarteritis, intimal proliferation and medial hypertrophy), kidney (arteritis/periarteritis, intimal proliferation and medial hypertrophy), sciatic nerve (vascular mineralization), and testes (tubular atrophy and vascular infarct) in anagrelide treated males.

Clinical Studies

Clinical Studies in Adult Patients

A total of 942 patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms including 551 patients with Essential Thrombocythemia (ET), 117 patients with Polycythemia Vera (PV), 178 patients with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), and 96 patients with other myeloproliferative neoplasms (OMPN), were treated with AGRYLIN in three clinical trials. Patients with OMPN included 87 patients who had Myeloid Metaplasia with Myelofibrosis (MMM), and 9 patients who had unclassified myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Patients were enrolled in clinical trials if their platelet count was ≥ 900,000/μL on two occasions or ≥ 650,000/μL on two occasions with documentation of symptoms associated with thrombocythemia. The mean duration of anagrelide therapy for ET, PV, CML, and OMPN patients was 65, 67, 40, and 44 weeks, respectively; 23% of patients received treatment for 2 years. Patients were treated with AGRYLIN starting at doses of 0.5-2.0 mg every 6 hours. The dose was increased if the platelet count was still high, but to no more than 12 mg each day. Efficacy was defined as reduction of platelet count to or near physiologic levels (150,000-400,000/μL). The criteria for defining subjects as “responders” were reduction in platelets for at least 4 weeks to ≤ 600,000/μL, or by at least 50% from baseline value. Subjects treated for less than 4 weeks were not considered evaluable. The results are depicted graphically below:

Patients with Thrombocytosis Secondary to Myeloproliferative Disorders: Mean Platelet Count During Anagralide Therapy

Mean Platelet Count During Anagralide Therapy - Illustration
  Time on Treatment
Baseline Weeks Years
4 12 24 48 2 3 4
Mean 1131 683 575 526 484 460 437 457
N 923† 868 814 662 530 407 207 55
x 103/μL
†Nine hundred and forty-two subjects with myeloproliferative neoplasms were enrolled in three research studies. Of these, 923 had platelet counts measured over the duration of the studies.

AGRYLIN was effective in phlebotomized patients as well as in patients treated with other concomitant therapies including hydroxyurea, aspirin, interferon, radioactive phosphorus, and alkylating agents.

Clinical Study in Pediatric Patients

An open label safety and PK/PD study was conducted in 18 pediatric patients 7-16 years of age (8 patients 7-11 years of age and 10 patients 12-16 years of age, mean age of 12 years; 8 males and 10 females) with thrombocythemia secondary to ET as compared to 17 adult patients (mean age of 66 years, 9 males and 8 females). Prior to entry on to the study, 17 of 18 pediatric patients and 12 of 17 adult patients had received anagrelide treatment for an average of 2 years. The median starting total daily dose, determined by retrospective chart review, for pediatric and adult patients with ET who had received anagrelide prior to study entry was 1mg for each of the three age groups (7-11 and 12-16 year old patients and adults). The starting dose for 6 anagrelide-naive patients at study entry was 0.5 mg once daily. At study completion, the median total daily maintenance doses were similar across age groups, median of 1.75 mg for patients of 7-11 years of age, 2.25 mg in patients 12-16 years of age, and 1.5 mg for adults.


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