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Newer Anticlotting Drug Safe, Effective for Heart Surgeries
Date:12/4/2007

Bivalirudin lowers bleeding risk for patients undergoing bypass, study finds

TUESDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- A newer kind of anticlotting drug is safe over the long run when used during coronary emergencies such as heart attacks.

The drug, a "direct thrombin inhibitor" called bivalirudin, is used to keep blood flowing freely during cardiac procedures such as bypass surgery.

"We had a lot of success reducing complications with this class of drug," said study co-researcher Dr. A. Michael Lincoff, director of cardiovascular research at the Cleveland Clinic.

The team reported its findings in the Dec. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study was funded by The Medicines Company of Parsippany, N.J., and the Danish company Nycomed, which have each helped develop bivalirudin.

The news may be important for the two million or more Americans who undergo bypass operations and similar procedures each year, Lincoff said. Bivalirudin not only reduces the incidence of excess bleeding that can be associated with anticoagulant use, it also is less expensive than older anticoagulant drugs, he said.

Those drugs, called GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors, act on platelets, blood cells involved in clotting. The new agent used in the trial, bivalirudin (brand named Angiomax), acts directly on molecules such as thrombin that cause clotting.

"Previous studies with patients in elective situations have shown that bivalirudin was just as effective at reducing bleeding," Lincoff said. "The question was whether it held for patients with unstable heart disease over the long run."

The study looked at the use of anticoagulants in patients undergoing procedures for conditions collectively known as acute coronary syndromes.

First results of the trial, which included 13,819 people who underwent procedures at 450 institutions, showed no difference in outcomes within the fi
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