New Anti-Clotting Drug Beats Plavix
SUNDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A new anti-clotting drug, ticagrelor (Brilinta), was better than than clopidogrel (Plavix) in preventing new heart attacks and in reducing deaths among patients who have had a heart attack, a new study finds.
"Clopidogrel is widely used in the treatment of acute coronary syndrome," said lead researcher Dr. Robert A. Harrington, director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute at Duke University. "Ticagrelor looks to be a superior antiplatelet agent in patients with acute coronary syndrome."
Co-researcher Dr. Lars Wallentin, a professor of cardiology at the Uppsala Clinical Research Center at University Hospital, in Sweden, added that "now we have a new and better alternative to standard treatment to prevent patients with myocardial infarction from new myocardial infarction, and also to improve their chances of survival."
The report is published in the Aug. 30 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, to coincide with the planned presentation of the study Sunday at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona.
For this phase 3 study, called PLATO (Platelet Inhibition and Patient Outcomes), 18,624 patients were randomly assigned to ticagrelor or clopidogrel. Both drugs prevent blood clotting, which could lead to another heart attack. Over 12 months, patients taking ticagrelor had fewer heart attacks and strokes compared with patients taking clopidogrel (9.8 percent versus 11.7 percent), the researchers found. Moreover, fewer patients taking ticagrelor died (4.5 percent) compared with patients taking clopidogrel (5.9 percent).
The greatest risk associated with these drugs is life-threatening bleeding, but there was no significant difference between the drugs in the risk of bleeding, the researchers noted.
However, patients taking ticagrelor were more likely to have spontaneous intracranial and gastrointestinal bleeding than people taking clopidogrel (4.5 percent versus 3.8 percent).
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