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Plavix, Heartburn Drug Safe to Take Together: Study
Date:9/21/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds it's safe to take the blood thinner Plavix with proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium, contrary to recent research that said the combination compromised Plavix's effectiveness.

"We looked into this highly debated area of clopidogrel [Plavix] and proton-pump inhibitors," said lead researcher Dr. Mette Charlot from the department of cardiology at Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte in Hellerup, Denmark. "We did not find any evidence of drug interaction."

Proton-pump inhibitors are heartburn drugs. Doctors often prescribe the two drugs in combination to prevent clotting and reduce the risk of stomach bleeding, which can be a serious complication for patients taking Plavix, the researchers said.

This study is larger than studies that found an interaction between the drugs, and this data included patients who were taking PPIs but not Plavix, Charlot noted.

"What we actually found was an increased risk related to the use of proton-pump inhibitors, but we found the risk was the same in patients treated with clopidogrel and patients not treated with clopidogrel," Charlot said.

For the study, published in the Sept. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the Danish Medical Research Council and the Danish Heart Foundation, Charlot's team collected outcome data on 56,406 patients across Denmark who had a first heart attack between 2000 and 2006. Follow-up was one year.

Sixteen percent were rehospitalized for a heart attack or stroke, or died. Of the 44 percent of patients who took Plavix, 27 percent also took a PPI, the researchers say.

Patients taking both medications had a 29 percent increased risk of rehospitalization for a heart attack or stroke, or death. However, among patients taking only a PPI, the risk of these adverse events was also 29 percent, the researchers foun
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