Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Anti-Clotting Pill Works Well in Trials

From the Washington Post:
A new anti-clotting drug that could be one of the long-sought alternatives to commonly used blood thinners has performed well in hip and knee replacement patients, physicians report.

The drug, rivaroxaban, was more effective at reducing potentially fatal blood clots than heparin, with no increase in side effects, according to studies by three research teams reporting this week in theNew England Journal of MedicineandThe Lancet.

"It was superior to low molecular weight heparin, one of the two most common prophylaxis modalities in the United States," said Dr. William Geerts, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, and a member of a team that tested rivaroxaban after hip replacement surgery.

Prophylaxis in this case means prevention of blood clots. Heparin is commonly used in hospitals because it is easier to manage than Coumadin (warfarin), which requires frequent blood tests for close control. The new drug, rivaroxaban, is an easily swallowed pill that does not require constant monitoring.

In the international trial of 4,541 people who had hip surgery, 1.1 percent of those given rivaroxaban suffered problems such as deep-vein blockage or pulmonary embolism, compared to 3.7 percent of those given enoxaparin, a widely used form of heparin. The incidence of major bleeding was similar in both groups -- six of 2,209 for rivaroxaban, and two of 2,224 for enoxaparin. ...more

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