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Pill Equals Injection in Preventing Clots After Hip Replacement

Study found no difference between the two protective treatments

FRIDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In a head-to-head trial, Swedish researchers found that a pill called dabigatran etexilate (DE) is just as effective as an injected drug, enoxaparin, in reducing the risk of blood clots after total hip replacement surgery.

As reported in this week's issue of The Lancet, the study included almost 3,500 hip replacement patients who received either oral DE at 220 milligrams daily, DE at 150 milligrams daily, or an injection of enoxaparin at 40 milligrams once daily, for 28 to 35 days.

Blood clots or death from all causes occurred in 53 of 880 (6 percent) of patients on 220 milligrams DE, in 75 of 874 (8.6 percent) of patients on 150 milligrams DE, and in 60 of 897 (6.7 percent) of patients in the enoxaparin group.

The researchers found no significant differences in bleeding rates, frequency of coronary events, or increases in liver enzyme concentrations between the three groups of patients.

There were also no differences between the groups in terms of "reducing the risk of total venous thromboembolism, and all-cause mortality after total hip replacement," wrote the researchers from Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg.

The study was funded by Boehringer Ingelheim, the company that makes DE.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. John Norrie of the Centre for Healthcare Randomised Trials at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, also notes that the study did have methodological flaws, linked to missing data.

More information

The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about blood clots.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Sept. 13, 2007

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