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Quick-Reversal Method May Be at Hand for New Blood Thinner
Date:6/20/2012

WEDNESDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- Newer blood-thinning drugs sometimes have one drawback: In cases where they trigger bleeding, their effects can be tough to reverse compared to the standard anticoagulant, warfarin.

Now, a new study finds there are three different approaches to reverse the action of one new blood thinner, apixaban (Eliquis) -- a drug that's currently under review by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration.

Researchers in Spain noted that it remains unclear which method for reversing this new drug might be best.

"If you have an accident or need emergency surgery, doctors have three ways to reverse [the older, standby blood-thinner] warfarin that work in a matter of minutes to hours. In contrast, there is little information on how best to reverse the effects of newer anticoagulants, which can take 10 to 18 hours," study author Dr. Gines Escolar, an associate professor of hematology at the University of Barcelona, explained in an American Heart Association news release.

Newer blood thinners, such as apixaban and rivaroxaban [Xarelto, already FDA-approved], typically require less frequent blood tests compared to warfarin, have fewer interactions with foods or other medications and have less variation in dosages.

Nevertheless, "despite these advantages, there is one common side effect of all blood thinners that can be severe -- excess bleeding," Escolar explained.

In conducting the study, the researchers added a high dose of apixaban to blood from healthy donors to test the effects of various methods of reversing blood thinners on the new drug. They found that two blood-clotting agents -- prothrombin complex concentrates and activated prothrombin complex concentrates -- were more efficient than recombinant factor VII in reversing apixaban. Recombinant factor VII, however, was the first to produce a blood clot and was also most effective in studies with blood circulating through a damaged
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