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Gene Mutations May Blunt Plavix's Effectiveness, Study Finds
Date:10/26/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- People with certain gene variants who take the blood-thinning drug Plavix (clopidogrel) may be at increased risk for serious complications after coronary stent placement, a new study finds.

Having the gene variants seems to reduce the effectiveness of Plavix and put patients at higher risk of developing blood clots in the stent, suffering a heart attack or stroke, or even dying, according to the research.

"Clopidogrel is one of the most commonly prescribed medications worldwide," said lead researcher Dr. Jessica L. Mega, an instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

But, "not all patients experience the same anti-clotting effects of the medication. Some of this variation is based on genetic variants in the CYP2C19 gene," she said.

For the study, published in the Oct. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Mega's team conducted a meta-analysis of nine studies involving a total of 9,685 people. In a meta-analysis, researchers review published studies to tease out data about particular outcomes.

In this case, the researchers looked for the effect that variants of the CYP2C19 gene had on people taking the antiplatelet drug and undergoing angioplasty and stent placement to open a blocked artery.

Among the patients studied, 863 died or had a heart attack or stroke, and 84 developed blood clots in their stents.

The researchers found that 71.5 percent of the total patient group had no variant of the CYP2C19 gene. However, 26.3 percent had one variant and 2.2 percent had two variants of the CYP2C19 gene that appeared to affect the body's response to Plavix.

Having one or two variants significantly increased the risk of death, heart attack or stroke, or developing blood clots in the stents, the researchers found.

Plavix uses a liver
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