Ticagrelor 'reduces CVD risk'

Ticagrelor, a new oral antiplatelet drug, can reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease among patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), without increasing the risk of bleeding, a study suggests.

The findings may mean the drug can be used as an alternative to clopidogrel, the current standard treatment.

For every 1,000 patients admitted to hospital because of an ACS event, the use of ticagrelor instead of clopidogrel for up to one year led to 14 fewer deaths.

Ticagrelor is a reversible inhibitor of the adenosine disphosphate receptor P2Y12. It has a more rapid onset and can produce greater platelet inhibition compared with clopidogrel.

Dr Robert Storey, the UK lead investigator for the PLATO trial and a consultant in cardiology at the University of Sheffield, said the data had the potential to save many lives in the UK.

He said antiplatelets were vital in treating thrombotic events and preventing future heart attacks. The potency of antiplatelets always needed to be balanced with the risk of potentially fatal bleeding, he added.

'The results of this trial are hugely exciting in that we see, for the first time, improved efficacy without an increased overall risk of life-threatening or fatal bleeding,' he added.

Findings were also published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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