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Medicines Co's New Drug Better than Standard Blood Thinner Plavix, Study

Update Date: Mar 10, 2013 08:08 PM EDT

Medicines Co. and the experimental anticlotting drug showed that it significantly outperformed the widely used drug Plavix in heart patients undergoing procedures to implant stents after three clinical trials, according to a new study released Sunday.

Medicines Co's experimental intravenous blood clot preventer cangrelor had previously failed in its first two clinical trials, but after the third one which looked at 1,000 patients undergoing an angioplasty and stenting procedure, the drug proved to work. The company had previously announced that the third study succeeded, but the details were released at the American College of Cardiology scientific meeting in San Francisco on Sunday, according to Reuters.

Doctors commonly give patients anti-clotting drugs during angioplasty procedures, in which balloons are used to unclog blood vessels, which are then propped up with wire mesh.

One of the most common anti-clotting drugs, clopidogrel, or Plavix, prevents blood cells called platelets from sticking together and creating a clot that can block blood vessels.

The study showed that the new drug cangrelor was slightly better at preventing death, heart attacks and re-clogging of the blood vessel. About 5.9% of those taking Plavix experience one of these problems, compared with 4.7% of those taking cangrelor.

"I think it's a significant advance in the care of patients undergoing stent procedures, which of course is one of the most common procedures in the U.S. and worldwide," Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a co-lead investigator of the study, according to the report. "I think the potential health impact of our findings are substantial and I hope that the result will help change clinical practice."

Medicines Co had been developing the drug for more than a decade and had spent more than $100 million to conduct the first two studies, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company said in a statement they intend to apply for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in the second quarter of the year. 

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