Monday, March 11, 2013

New drug improves on standard blood thinner Plavix

An experimental new drug may prove a useful alternative to a standard anti-clotting drug, among patients undergoing angioplasty to open up a clogged blood vessel, researchers said Sunday.

Doctors commonly give patients anti-clotting drugs during angioplasty procedures, in which balloons are used to unclog blood vessels, which are then propped up with wire mesh.

One of the most common anti-clotting drugs, clopidogrel, or Plavix, prevents blood cells called platelets from sticking together and creating a clot that can block blood vessels.

In a study of 11,145 patients presented Sunday at an American College of Cardiology meeting in San Francisco, researchers found that cangrelor was slightly better at preventing death, heart attacks and re-clogging of the blood vessel. About 5.9% of those taking Plavix experience one of these problems, compared with 4.7% of those taking cangrelor.

The two drugs were about equal in terms of the risk of causing bleeding problems, according to the study, led by Deepak Bhatt, chief of cardiology at VA Boston Healthcare System. About 1.2% of those taking cangrelor developed shortness of breath, a rate that was four times higher than in the Plavix group.


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