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

sociated with the immobilization of long flights -- can migrate to the lungs to form potentially deadly pulmonary embolisms.

The current standard of care typically involves treatment with relatively well-known anti-coagulant medications, such as the oral medication warfarin (Coumadin) and/or the injected medication heparin.

While effective, in some patients these drugs can prompt unstable responses, as well as problematic interactions with other medications. For warfarin in particular, the potential also exists for the development of severe and life-threatening bleeding. Use of these drugs, therefore, requires intense and continuous monitoring.

The search for a safer and easier to administer treatment option led Buller's team to analyze two sets of data: One that pitted rivaroxaban against the standard anti-clotting drug enoxaparin (a heparin-type medication), and the second which compared rivaroxaban with a placebo.

In the first instance, about 1,700 DVT patients were given rivaroxaban, while a similar number received enoxaparin, for a period of up to a year. In the second investigation, about 600 DVT patients who had completed at least six months of the first trial (on either medication) were randomly chosen to take rivaroxaban, while a similar number of patients were given a placebo.

The authors observed that fewer cases of clotting took place among the rivaroxaban group compared with those taking enoxaparin (2.1 percent vs. 3 percent, respectively). Major bleeding was also slightly less common among the former than the latter.

The new medication also significantly outperformed the placebo, with just over 1 percent of rivaroxaban patients experiencing clotting problems compared with more than 7 percent in the placebo group.

Although bleeding issues were more prevalent among rivaroxaban patients than among those taking a placebo, the research team determined that the new treatment option is both safe and effective for th
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