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Newer Blood Thinner Beats Plavix for Bypass Patients
Date:3/16/2010

More people taking Plavix before surgery died soon after than those using Brilinta, study finds,,

TUESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- In a trial comparing two anti-clotting drugs, patients given Brilinta before cardiac bypass surgery were less likely to die than those given Plavix, researchers found.

Both drugs prevent platelets from clumping and forming clots, but Plavix, the more popular drug, has been linked to potentially dangerous side effects in cancer patients. In addition, some people don't metabolize it well, making it less effective.

"We did see about a 50 percent reduction in mortality in these patients [who took Brilinta], but without any increase in bleeding complications," Dr. Claes Held, an associate professor of cardiology at the Uppsala Clinical Research Center at Uppsala University in Sweden and the study's lead researcher, said during an afternoon press conference Tuesday.

"Ticagrelor (Brilinta) in this setting, with acute coronary syndrome patients with the potential need for bypass surgery, is more effective than clopidogrel (Plavix) in preventing cardiovascular and total mortality without increasing the risk of bleeding," he said.

A danger with any anti-platelet drug is the risk of uncontrolled bleeding, which is why these drugs are stopped before patients undergo surgery.

Held was scheduled to present the results Tuesday at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting in Atlanta.

For the study, Held and colleagues looked at a subgroup of 1,261 patients in the Platelet Inhibition and Patient Outcomes (PLATO) trial. The researchers found that 10.5 percent of the patients given Brilinta plus aspirin before surgery had a heart attack, stroke or died from heart disease within a week after surgery. Among patients given Plavix plus aspirin, 12.6 percent had the same adverse outcomes.

Patients taking Brilinta had a total death rate of 4.6 percent,
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