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New Blood Thinner May Help Fight Dangerous Leg Clots
Date:12/5/2010

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

SATURDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A new anti-clotting pill, rivaroxaban (Xarelto), may be an effective, convenient and safer treatment for patients coping with deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), a pair of new studies indicate.

According to the research, published online Dec. 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine, the drug could offer a new option for these potentially life-threatening clots, which most typically form in the lower leg or thigh.

The findings are also slated for presentation Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), in Orlando, Fla.

"These study outcomes may possibly change the way that patients with DVT are treated," study author Dr. Harry R. Buller, a professor of medicine at the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam, said in an ASH news release. "This new treatment regimen of oral rivaroxaban can potentially make blood clot therapy easier than the current standard treatment for both the patient and the physician, with a single-drug and simple fixed-dose approach."

Another heart expert agreed.

"Rivaroxiban is at least as effective as the older drug [warfarin] and seems safer. It is also far easier to use since it does not require blood testing to adjust the dose," said cardiologist Dr. Alan Kadish, currently president of Touro College in New York City.

The study was funded in part by Bayer Schering Pharma, which markets rivaroxaban outside the United States. Funding also came from Ortho-McNeil, which will market the drug in the United States should it gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. In March 2009, an FDA advisory panel recommended the drug be approved, but agency review is ongoing pending further study.

The authors note that upwards of 2 million Americans experience a DVT each year. These leg clots -- sometimes called "economy flight syndrome" since they've been as
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