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FDA to Review Clotting Drug After Trial Suggests Death Risk
Date:10/25/2007

Findings come as another blow to Trasylol, used to cut down on bleeding during cardiac surgery

THURSDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said it will review the safety of the clotting drug aprotinin (Trasylol), after a major Canadian trial was stopped early due to an increase in deaths for cardiac surgery patients placed on the drug.

Trasylol, first approved by the FDA in 1993, is typically used to limit blood loss in patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

While less bleeding was noted in the aprotinin group versus patients assigned one of two other drugs, "a trend toward increased mortality in the aprotinin group had been observed throughout the study," the FDA noted in a statement released Thursday.

That elevated 30-day and overall death risk caused the Canadian study's Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) to recommend stopping patient enrollment in the so-called BART trial. The trial was set to recruit about 3,000 adults who were candidates for a variety of cardiac surgeries and were at high risk of bleeding.

"The DSMB concluded that continued enrollment of patients into the aprotinin group was unlikely to significantly change the study findings," the FDA said.

Trasylol's maker, Bayer, also issued a new "guidance" to doctors on Thursday. The German company advises "that physicians use Trasylol only in accordance with approved product labeling." Bayer said it believes the drug "remains a safe and effective treatment option for physicians," but it is working with the FDA and international health authorities to see if any label changes might become necessary as new data emerges.

Trasylol has had a checkered history since it was first approved by the FDA in 1993.

On Sept. 12, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended that aprotinin remain on the market, despite evidence that it might have serious side effects.'/>"/>

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