London: A new drug combination of aspirin and a bloodthinning agent called Plavix, could save the lives of thousands of heart attack victims each year, say researchers.
The combination reduced the combined risk of death, a stroke or a repeat attack by nine per cent, compared with ‘dummy’ treatment, in a study of 46,000 people.It costs an extra £1 a day per patient and increases survival rates and helps patients live longer. The results are reported in the medical journal The Lancet.
They believe it should be routinely considered for suspected heart attacks. The drug is licensed in the UK to prevent blood clots, but not as a heart attack treatment.
It is the world’s second-largest study of emergency heart attack treatment and was carried out by researchers from the UK’s Oxford University and China.
Participants were treated for severe heart attacks – where the artery was completely blocked – with low-dose aspirin to disperse clots. Half were given Plavix, made by the drug company Sanofi Aventis. The others were given a placebo pill.
The drug reduced the total risk of deaths, repeat heart attacks and stroke by nine per cent when compared with placebo. It cut the risk of death alone by seven per cent.
Patients given Plavix had a 14 per cent drop in repeat heart attacks, without any increase in life-threatening bleeding.