New Blood Thinner Tops Plavix in Trials

But prasugrel also adds risk of bleeding to death
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2007 9:00 AM CST
Blood thinner medication Plavix is shown July 28, 2006 in a New York file photo. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – An experimental new blood-thinner looks like real competition for top-selling anti-clotting drug Plavix, after proving more effective at preventing heart attacks, strokes, and heart-related death in a recent trial, the AP reports. But “there is a price to pay” for increased effectiveness, wrote one doctor—the new drug caused an extra bleeding death for each heart-related one it prevented.

Despite that risk, many doctors want the FDA to approve prasugrel, because Plavix is expensive and doesn’t work for everyone. Doctors, they argue, won’t prescribe the drug for high-risk patients, like the elderly or previous stroke victims. But the drug’s makers canceled two tests on those groups, “because of a risk of a safety problem,” they said.