New Pill for Safer Blood Clot Prevention

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Description and Advantages

A new blood-thinning pill seems to work at least as well as the standard treatments for warding off blood clots, but kicks in more quickly and could be safer and easier to take, new research indicates. Scientists who were presented with the evidence at a medical conference this week in Paris said that the new drug, Exanta, could dramatically improve the quality of life of millions of people taking blood clot treatments. It would be the first anti-clotting pill of its type to emerge since warfarin, also known as Coumadin, was introduced more than 50 years ago.

The research, presented at a meeting of the International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis, showed the drug prevented blood clots in the legs of people undergoing hip or knee surgery just as successfully as warfarin or similar injectable drugs, known as low molecular weight heparins. People undergoing such surgery have the highest risk of getting a potentially fatal clot the main gripes with warfarin are that its performance is influenced by food containing vitamin K and by other drugs and that it is difficult to get the right dose. For that reason, doctors often also use the injectable heparin, which takes effect immediately.

Although low molecular weight heparins do not require blood thickness monitoring, they are injected into the belly, which can be inconvenient. They also increase the risk of osteoporosis. The new drug is not affected by food, and patients using it don't require injections or regular monitoring of blood thickness. Exanta, made by AstraZeneca, intervenes in the blood clotting process at a later stage than Coumadin or heparin. The latest research consisted of two studies. One compared Exanta to Coumadin in 680 knee replacement patients in Canada and the United States. The other pitted the drug against low molecular weight heparins in 2,788 Europeans getting new hips or knees. Experts say Exanta could become available within a year.

Area of Application

A new blood-thinning pill is used for warding off blood clots, for example in the legs of people undergoing hip or knee surgery.


Pharmabiz, August 2, 2001