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New Anti-Clotting Drug Shows Promise in Heart Patients
Date:11/4/2007

Prasugrel reduced heart risks after angioplasty/stenting, but raised bleeding risks when compared to Plavix

SUNDAY, Nov. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A new anti-clotting drug might one day challenge Plavix, the current standard of therapy for people who have undergone procedures to open blocked coronary arteries, a new study suggests.

But a sizable subset of the heart patients studied -- notably those who had had a prior stroke, were elderly, or had a low body weight -- faced a significantly higher risk of potentially fatal bleeding on the new drug, known as prasugrel.

Experts said it's hard to tell whether prasugrel will replace Plavix as the first medication doctors turn to after angioplasty and stenting when trying to reduce the chances of clotting and its attendant risks, which include heart attack and stroke.

"This is not an FDA-approved drug," Dr. Dan Jones, president of the American Heart Association (AHA), said Sunday during a news conference at the AHA's annual meeting in Orlando. "Many of the questions today had to do with whether this data will be sufficient for FDA approval, and I just don't know."

The trial, funded by Daiichi Sankyo Co. Ltd. and Eli Lilly & Co., will also be published in the Nov. 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

To see if the standard therapy could be improved, researchers randomly chose 13,608 patients at 707 sites in 30 countries to receive either prasugrel (60 milligrams as a one-time "loading" dose, followed by a 10-milligram maintenance dose) or Plavix (300 milligrams initially, followed by a daily 75-milligram maintenance dose) for up to 15 months following angioplasty and stenting to open blocked arteries.

"We sought to test whether a regimen that is associated with higher degrees of inhibition of platelet aggregation, meaning it inhibits the ability of platelets to clot more effectively, would reduce events in patients undergo
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