In the trial, which was funded by cangrelor's maker, New Jersey-based The Medicines Company, researchers compared short-term outcomes for 11,000 patients who underwent stent placement at one of 153 centers around the world.
Some of the patients got cangrelor, while others got Plavix. The study was also published online Sunday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The research team reported that cangrelor reduced by 22 percent the odds of a patient dying, having a heart attack or having a clot develop in the stented vessel within two days of the procedure, compared to patients who took Plavix. Safety profiles were similar: Severe bleeding at 48 hours after the stenting procedure occurred in 0.16 percent of those on cangrelor and 0.11 percent of those given Plavix.
Commenting at a press conference on Sunday, Dr. Cindy Grines, a cardiologist at Detroit Medical Center, said that if cangrelor receives U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval it could have a "huge impact" for heart patients.
The new study "shows that we do not necessarily have to pre-treat these patients, but once they get to the lab we can give them a very rapidly acting medication with rapid-onset action and rapid offset," she said.
There's one caveat, however: cost. Lead researcher Dr. Deepak Bhatta, chief of cardiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told reporters that cangrelor's price has not yet been set, but it likely will carry a much higher price tag than Plavix. But, he believes the cost of the drug would be offset by savings gained as patients avoid lengthy pre-surgery hospital stays, waiting for the effects of Plavix to wear off.
A second study focused on the drug eplerenone, marketed by Pfizer as Inspra. The drug is currently FDA-approved to help lower high blood pressure and to ward off heart failure after heart attack. In the new Pfizer-funded trial, slightly more than 1,000 patients who
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